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How to Plan a Successful Corporate Retreat

Corporate retreats are a great way to boost company morale and empower your employees. Check out this guide on how to plan a successful corporate retreat.

While some companies will easily spend over $400,000 just to hold a company retreat, not every company has that kind of budget.

A corporate treat could be a week on a cruise ship or it could a day in a hotel conference room. The most important element of your corporate retreat is that it speaks to your company’s personality.

Since most conflicts are due to tone or voice or misread facial expression, having a way for people to get to know one another on a human level will improve relations. The more of a rapport your employees can build with one another, the better they’ll treat one another. Have your employees work together to solve puzzles or play games and you’ll be surprised at which friendships blossom.

If you’re looking for ways for your work retreat to improve morale, check out these 6 tips for a successful retreat.

1. Have a Goal in Mind

Before you schedule your corporate retreat, you need to have a list of goals that you want to achieve. Sit down with your core planning team and decide what problems you have with team members and any morale issues you could address.

Make these the guiding concepts for your goals. However, be careful not to hit the nail on the head too directly. If “Jerome and Angela need to get along” is what you come up with, don’t just lock them in a room together.

See what kinds of issues they share that could affect the rest of the team. Find a few loose team building exercises that could help.

Perhaps some new knowledge or skill-building could help them. Maybe working together to build a skill your team needs to learn together–say, learning a new organization app–team up Jerome and Angela. Just make sure you don’t leave the rest of the team out.

2. Remember Not Everyone Is Outgoing

Speaking of keeping the rest of the team involved, this should be the goal of any retreat.

Inevitably, there will always be people who have a louder voice in the room. Try to keep them at bay by having the quieter people give presentations about what they’re working on.

It can even be part of a sort of show and tell that includes personal interests or a game.

A silent game or one that requires writing rather than speaking will allow the introverts to participate without feeling overwhelmed. One of the biggest dynamic issues in most offices is that not all voices get a chance to be heard. Make solving this problem a work retreat goal.

3. Make Sure They Have the Technology

Not every place you rent out for your retreat will have all of the technology you need for your activities. Talk to your team and see what you’ll need for your retreat. Be liberal with your list, as it’s always better to have more than you need.

Then you should call ahead and see what technology the retreat has available for you. Make sure you’re talking to someone who really knows what they’re talking about. If you feel unsure, bring the items you might need.

One of the most common technical issues is that the location of the retreat has no WiFi or cell service. This will be a big hurdle for several of your presenters. So unless you can bring the tech you need, you might have to reschedule for another location.

4. Schedule Some Breaks

It’s important that your employees feel engaged and excited throughout each event or for every day of your retreat. However, sitting through three lectures in a row can be exhausting to your employees. Give them the option to pick just two out of the three and then schedule a break in between sections of the day.

There are probably some fun shopping experiences or hip bars that your employees might want to enjoy during the off hours.

Make sure that you schedule that downtime and offer to pay for some of it. That way, people will be a little more apt to show up and socialize. When coworkers socialize, it helps them to humanize one another and empathize when things go wrong.

If you only know your coworker from their typo-ridden emails, you won’t know that you have a lot in common or that maybe they have dyslexia.

5. Build Your Agenda

Once you have a schedule conceived, it’s time to build out your agenda. This will be the guiding light for all of your employees during the course of the retreat.

Give it to them in advance so that they can begin scheduling their travel plans and to start preparing mentally. Have an event agenda and allow things to be a little bit free flowing but have a few keynote or major speakers who you ask for everyone to see.

Give people an overview of what will happen at each event so that they can prioritize in case they have to hire a sitter or travel from further than others.

6. Do Some Prep Work

Make sure that you do some research on the area before you go.

With some extra research, you can help your guests figure out how to get to the venue or use public transportation. If you’re still deciding on venues, there are some good options you can view here.

You can also make a list of places to stay or restaurants to try. If you know there are some music or art lovers in your crowd, make a few cultural recommendations that can help your employees get a little more out of the trip.

If you’re planning on running any games or doing a talk yourself, make sure you practice far in advance. Make sure the point of your presentation is clear to whoever is listening.

Also, make sure you update your answering machine message before you leave as well.

A Corporate Retreat Needs to Be Relaxing for Everyone

Hire people to handle every aspect of your corporate retreat. Having some employees working to check people in creates a hierarchy that’s unfair to those employees. The key is to break down walls and start to build bridges.

You’ll need to make sure your schedule allows for everyone to take this time off so check out our guide to optimizing your employee schedules.