Company Retreats: Rebooted
If you would like to hold quarterly, semiannual, or annual conferences or company retreats, you may be looking for ways to make your time together educational and fun. Anyone can book plane tickets, hotel rooms, conference rooms, and select guest speakers for a company retreat, but if you want to make a lasting impression on your team, consider the tips below.
One of the most common complaints about company retreats is that you travel to an exciting location, yet never have a chance to leave the hotel or resort. One way to rectify this common concern is to schedule your retreat during a city event. For example, if you select Chicago as your destination, you could book the trip during the Taste of Chicago or the Blues Festival. Then you simply book a hotel that is within walking distance of the festivals and schedule blocks of time each day to get out and explore. You can even turn the time at the festival into a scavenger hunt or team-building exercise.
Piggyback On Annual Industry Conferences
Though booking your retreat during a citywide festival can offer fun extracurricular activities, it can be difficult to find events and festivals that your entire staff will enjoy. A simple solution to this is to book your company retreat during an annual industry conference. Whether the industry conference is a weekend or a full week, you can plan your activities around conference highlights or arrive or depart from the destination city a few days before or after the conference—which will provide more one-on-one with your team. For example, if you work in the film industry, you could take your company to Sundance annually, or if you are in the electronics industry you could travel annually to E3.
Many companies invest the bulk of their retreat time on training, development, and brand building, and a minimum amount of time on team-building and extracurricular activities. However, consider redefining your priorities and spending the majority of your time team-building and participating in group extracurricular activities, with a smaller portion of time spent on training, development, and brand building.
You could do this by booking an adventure retreat that has daily physical activities such as hiking, water sports, or snow sports. You could even have events in which you spend time giving back to the community you are visiting. For example, if you are in the restaurant industry, you could spend a day preparing a gourmet meal for a local soup kitchen. This will allow your team to build personal relationships and interact on a whole new level.
Visiting Vendors, Suppliers, or Global Partners
Another unexpected idea for a retreat is to visit a vendor, supplier, or global partner that is connected to your business one way or another. This may give you the opportunity to travel out of the country or to visit small cities that may not be the traditional destination for company travel. The time spent while visiting your vendors, suppliers, or global partners can be spent learning the process that connects you to one another, strengthening your relationship, and finding ways to work more efficiently and effectively together. For example, if you work in the music industry, you could visit a company that provides your synthesizers or other recording equipment.
The size of your retreat group can help determine the ideal location for your retreat. You may opt for a different destination for each retreat, or you may find a location that is a good fit and continue to return there on a regular basis.