You have a lot of expectations for your corporate retreat and why shouldn't you?
If it's done properly, your corporate retreat has the ability to draw your staff together and serve as a catalyst for the next stage in the life of your business.
But the consequences of an unsuccessful retreat aren't nearly so rosy. A poorly executed retreat experience has the potential to create divisions and hard feelings within your organization. In a worst-case scenario, you can drop thousands of dollars on a retreat that leaves your company grasping for air.
A successful corporate retreat experience is within your grasp. But to get there you're going to need to be intentional about the way you plan and execute your retreat activities. Whether you plan to use a professional retreat firm or do the retreat yourself, you need these guidelines for a successful corporate retreat.
- Establish clear objectives. Successful corporate retreats begin with a set of clear retreat objectives. If you don't know what you want to accomplish during your retreat, it's fairly certain you won't be satisfied with the results. At the same time, be realistic. Your retreat isn't going to solve all of your company's problems–but it might get you headed in the right direction.
- Keep participants in the loop. Some executives seem to be convinced that employees love to be surprised about what's going to happen at a corporate retreat. In fact, employees hate being surprised and much prefer receiving a retreat agenda several days in advance so they can be prepared to participate in a meaningful way.
- Find someone else to facilitate. As the company's leader, you're probably the worst person to facilitate a corporate retreat. Participants need to feel free to speak their mind and empowered to think outside of the box. Those things are much less likely to happen if the person who signs their paycheck is the one who is running the show rather than participating in the retreat alongside them.
- Embrace conflict. You shouldn't go looking for conflict in a retreat – but you shouldn't avoid it either. Offsite retreats are perfect places for employees to address business-related differences of opinion. More often than not, issues get resolved or at least get left at the retreat site instead of filtering back into the office.
- Perform follow-up. A retreat is only as good as its ability to produce a lasting impact in your business. Tons of great ideas are floated at retreats, but never receive proper follow-up when the staff falls back into their normal routines. Schedule a follow-up meeting and ask your employees to put on their calendars before they leave the retreat location.