How to Make Your Next Company Retreat One to Remember
Company retreats are a great way to demonstrate your investment in your employees. They provide opportunities for employers and employees to connect, which fosters team growth. Create an excellent retreat and your employees will remember it for years to come.
These retreats can be expensive, so it’s important to set a budget from the outset. Consider how much money and time you’re willing and able to spend. Once you’ve established your budget, it’s time to brainstorm. This article will help you spark some ideas.
Offering merchandise, or merch, at your event will help your employees hold onto their memories of your retreat. Now, merch can be any physical object, but clothing is a very popular option because people can wear it. This means it’s less likely to get put on a shelf or left in a folder to collect dust.
Another great aspect of company merch is its customizability. Take custom t-shirts for example. The design can be a surprise for your employees, perhaps revealed during the retreat’s finale. A big reveal is a good memory itself, and the tee will serve as a physical reminder.
Alternatively, you could have your employees design a shirt together. Rally your creatives to design a shirt that embodies your company’s philosophy. Put the best designs to a company-wide vote, and unveil the winning design at the retreat. Your employees will get engaged and excited before the retreat has even begun.
This approach toward your retreat’s merch works for any respective medium. Whether it’s shirts, hats, rings, posters — you name it. Custom merch is an excellent way to create a memento of a time fondly remembered by your employees. But how are you actually going to create those memories?
Location, Location, Location
So your retreat has been announced and the merch is on its way. Your employees are starting to get hyped up, and you hear excited chatter echoing from offices and down hallways. Now comes one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make. One that can really influence what kind of retreat you have — the venue.
Earlier you considered how much time you were able to budget. Go back to that decision. Is this retreat for a week or a weekend? Is it just one day?
With your budget in mind, now consider the size of your company. Generally, the bigger your company, the bigger the venue you will need. And the bigger your company, the more diverse interests people will have. This will play into what activities you’ll organize later on.
You could spring for a venue that’s completely indoors, like a hotel or convention center. An oceanside venue might help your employees relax into the experience a bit more. A place near the mountains will really reinforce the “retreat” in company retreat. Whatever venue you choose, be sure to balance the goals of your retreat with the needs of your employees.
Now that you’ve chosen the location of your venue, what are you actually going to do there? Myriad activities are available, spanning a wide range. Consider the goal of your retreat and weigh them against the personalities of your employees.
If your company has the right kind of mindset for it, sports can be an excellent way to encourage bonding. They can also be a good opportunity to mix people into new teams that might not normally work together. You can even mix entirely different company branches together. See how well management can kick off against accounting.
Alternatively, your employees may be more cerebral and interested in bonding through deeper conversation. These days, many card games exist that foster these meaningful conversations. You can order some ahead of time if you think your team might be averse to more rigorous activities.
Consider your location again. If you’re in a city, it may be harder to access sports facilities, while board rooms are easier to come by. However, if you’re by the sea, you can include activities like kayaking and swimming. If you’re by the mountains, hiking or biking can help your teams grow by traveling together. Whatever you do, make sure to keep your goals and your employee’s needs in mind.
Food and Drink
As great as all these activities are, people are going to get tired and hungry eventually. Thankfully, sharing a meal is one of the most deep-rooted bonding experiences humans can have. Eating together can be a vulnerable activity, and can provide people the opportunity for a deeper connections. So planning what people are going to do for food ahead of time can pay off in spades.
An easy first decision to make is whether your retreat will be catered or not. If it’s in the budget, catering will not only allow your employees to have delicious premade food. It will also encourage the whole company to eat together. However, there can also be benefits to having small teams break off and explore together. This is especially true in a city where there may be many restaurant options to try.
Alternatively, why not host a potluck? This gives your more culinarily inclined employees an opportunity to show their stuff. It’s also a great way to include those who may have dietary restrictions. Potlucks have a great way of bringing people together since each individual contributed to the whole affair.
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into planning a company retreat. In fact, it may be a good idea to appoint a planning committee depending on the complexity of the logistics. However, company retreats can have a tangible effect on team rapport. If you’re willing to invest the time and money it takes to pull off a great retreat, your team will talk about it fondly until the next one.