If you are pondering the reason why some companies are more successful than others, then a good place to start would be the employees. MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory found that teams that communicate directly with each other as well as the management are much more creative and productive, says an article on Harvard Business Review.
The good news is that such healthy communication can easily be developed. One of the best ways to improve communication within organizations is through a company retreat. Not only do the retreats improve communication, but company retreats have proven effective for galvanizing people towards a common goal, improving morale, and promoting big picture thinking.
When there are so many benefits of a company retreat, one would imagine that they would be a pretty common occurrence. Who doesn’t want more efficient employees? Despite the benefits, company retreats are surprisingly rare. In fact, 4 in 5 organizations do not organize annual retreats, according to a Robert Half Management Resources survey. If you belong to this majority of companies, it is time to rethink your employee engagement strategies.
Here are some tips that can help you organize a successful company retreat.
Define Your Goals
The most important thing to do before going on a retreat is to define the purpose of the event. A company retreat can be a great tool for strategy development, action planning, or conflict resolution, but you should be clear about what areas you need to address during the retreat. It is important that you know the nature of the retreat, whether it is about relationship building or for some creative work so that you can plan accordingly.
It is also important that you keep your employees in the loop. Get an idea about the preferences of your employees. If you have a large organization, it is a good idea to get a small representative group. If you have a smaller company, you can ask for everyone’s feedback once you have drafted the agenda of the retreat.
Choose the Right Location
It is important to choose a location that is away from the hustle and bustle of the city and gives the participants a chance to unwind, according to experts at River House. At the same time, the location should be well connected to airports, railways stations, and roads. Also, make sure that the place has a conducive environment to promote a work ethic within your employees, even though you are on a retreat. Here are some essentials for a good retreat location.
- Plenty of windows to allow natural light in.
- Food is of great importance in a retreat. When you have good food, it is easier to be creative and productive. Also, make sure to take care of any special dietary needs.
- There should also be options for team building exercises available.
Don’t Forget a Facilitator
Getting a good facilitator can make the difference between the success or failure of a company retreat. A facilitator should be objective, patient, and a good listener and mediator. They need to allow your employees to think in a creative manner, and they should also have experience in promoting intelligent discussions and debates.
When you choose a facilitator, make sure that they are briefed thoroughly about the team, company, and what you wish to achieve from the retreat.
Attending a long lecture or discussion can often lead to the participants losing focus. This is particularly true for millennials. Millennials make up the largest segment of the workforce today, according to an article by the Pew Research Center. They have grown up amidst technology and multitasking, and get bored easily, so it is important to plan breaks intermittently, during which the participants can have a nice meal, visit local shops or play games.
Apart from these tips, once the retreat is over, it is also a good idea to seek feedback, so that you can improve results the next time around and reap greater benefits from the next retreat.