Everyone knows about the corporate holiday party,or the occasional corporate outing, but few companies take seriously the notion and importance of an annual company retreat. Such an event can be seen as an unnecessary expense and distraction instead of what it can be: a way to boost profits and reward employees. Today we want to talk about why a good corporate retreat can be just what the doctor ordered for your business, whether it’s sick or well.
Key players. We’re not suggesting that everyone needs to go on a retreat. Key staff, management team, founders, etc. are the thought leaders and performers. You want the people who were not only big players in your performance and profits this year, but will be next year and the year after that. They will feel valued that you think enough of them to include them in strategic planning and will also appreciate the time away from the office.
You should cover some definite period of time (it could be the last year or the last 5 years) and be prepared to take an honest look at things. Sometimes what you have to say won’t be pleasant, but if there isn’t an honest spirit of collaboration, this will be a waste of money. Come away from the retreat with measurable goals and defined ways to get there. Otherwise it will just be a “feel-good” session with no results.
Reflection matters. Often business owners and key staff are so busy putting one foot in front of the other in the day-to-day management of a business that there’s no time to see why they are putting so much work and effort forward. Going back to basics and reminding everyone of why they are doing what they are doing can lead to new lines of business or new and better ways of doing things. Be prepared to think big!
Someplace that is NOT the office. A new environment forces a new way of looking at things and takes you out of environments and settings where you are perhaps stuck in specific ways of thinking. It also signals to those involved that you are trying to get away so you can do better at the home base. Here at Simple Pleasures, for example, we have artifacts that take people away from the present day and into their childhood or history. Often it’s when we appreciate or revisit the past that we understand our present and can plan our future.
At the end of a quarter, a fiscal year, or during a slow time. We understand businesses run all the time and there may not EVER be a “good time” but you have to simply carve one out. And you have to make sure you insulate it from calls and emails and appointments. If you can’t truly step away you aren’t going to get the real benefits of the retreat.
Assign someone to plan it. Lay out the broad outlines and start backwards from a date. The biggest issue is location, location, location. Everything else can be handled fairly simply once that is laid down.
As we mentioned above, Simple Pleasures is different. We’re unique and proud. But we do offer worry-free corporate retreat planning. We can help you with all the details as part of an all-inclusive deal: good food, a great space, the nearby and spectacular Crystal Bridges Museum, and most importantly, time to think and plan.
Wherever you plan your corporate retreat, we hope these tips have been helpful to you. A corporate retreat is how a business understands itself, takes a break, and grows.