The majority of companies are aware that an off-site company retreat can be a great confidence booster and aid workers focus on team-building and goal setting. However, in today’s ever shaky economy, businesses also desire to ensure that company retreats are both productive and fiscally responsible.
Rather than whisking employees to pricy resorts or expensive weekend-long gatherings, more firms are keeping their company retreats close to home, opting for local venues that do not require much travel or overnight stays.
According to Jean Hoesing, general manager of the Ramada Sioux Falls, more area firms are booking local conference facilities for company retreats, typically for a day or two. The Sioux Falls hotel’s proximity to the Interstate, state-of-the-art conference facilities and catering services have gone on to make the Ramada a hot venue for company retreats. However, once a venue has been chosen, there are still a lot of other decisions to make, including:
- Goals:Decide on clear goals for the company retreat, and communicate them to attendees ahead of time. If workers understand the point of the session, they can arrive better prepared and ready to tackle the problems.
- Agenda:While the majority of pros advise aiming for 80% work and 20% play at company retreats, an agenda offers attendees a better of idea of what must be accomplished. Plan the majority of work-heavy activities mid-morning, when brains are sharpest, and mix in breaks between activities. Ensure that attendees know that the schedule is only tentative, to keep from stifling productive conversation or idea flow.
- Facilitator:It may seem natural to assign the facilitator role to the company president, however this might make attendees uncomfortable expressing their ideas openly. Rather than doing that, select a respected but relatable figure within the company to lead discussion.
- Team-Building Exercises:When performed only for the sake of executing them, team-building exercises can be a big waste of time. If you have to incorporate them, ensure that the activity has a purpose, and a take-away that relates to workers’ day-to-day work.
- Guest Speakers:Take into consideration inviting a person in the industry to give a guest presentation or sit in on a brainstorming session. An outsider might be capable of lending a new perspective to the discussion, sparking new ideas and aiding to generate enthusiasm.
And finally, when the company retreat is done, make sure to send a full recap and action plan to all attendees – and other workers who stayed behind to hold down the fort. To be a truly successful event, workers have to leave feeling that progress has been made and there is a clear set of action plans to move forward. Summarizing these plans is going to aid all workers in seeing the value in your off-site company retreat.