Corporate retreat planning can be an exciting yet daunting task. It's an opportunity to bring…
A corporate retreat is a great way to increase employee engagement and team collaboration and get everyone reenergized and refocused. A retreat can also provide an opportunity for your team members to bond and share experiences outside of the office. Above all, a corporate retreat should not feel like a typical office meeting that just happens to be in a new location.
It can be a challenge to pick an idea for a retreat that makes everyone happy, but just sitting in a hotel listening to lectures won’t have your staff jumping for joy. To that end, we wrote this blog post to help you plan an awesome corporate retreat for your staff.
However, planning a corporate retreat that is productive and (most importantly) fun is no easy undertaking. You need to hire a professional corporate event planner if you want everything to go off without a hitch!
What’s Involved in Planning a Corporate Retreat?
Organizing a successful corporate retreat is undoubtedly a challenging task. There are many steps involved, and you are going to have to communicate with your professional planner to determine your goals and objectives. The following are important considerations when planning a corporate retreat.
1. Your Company’s Goals
It’s important to ask yourself what you want the retreat to accomplish and what you want your staff to get out of it. For example, you might want to enable connections between remote team members spread across multiple locations.
In such a case, allowing plenty of time for introductions and getting to know each other is crucial, and you’ll want the retreat to last for several days. Conversely, if your workers are basically all in one location and you just want to give them some fun time away from the office for more casual team building, then a day or two should do the trick.
2. The Time of Year
When to plan the retreat is crucial and will involve some additional research if you plan to go outside your immediate and familiar area. You want to avoid organizing a ski trip when there’s the possibility the snowpack will be diminishing or a trip to Florida right in the middle of the hurricane season.
You also want to avoid expecting people to travel when they may be involved in childcare (e.g., in summer when school is out) or around a major holiday when your staff members are likely to have firm plans and commitments.
3. Providing Plenty of Heads Up
Understand that a corporate retreat doesn’t only require planning by you. Anything happening outside of each employee’s usual routine requires planning by them. They may need to find childcare, hire pet sitters, etc. Give everyone plenty of advance notice, especially if unusual hours or travel are involved.
Once you’ve grasped the above three points, here are the main steps involved in planning a great corporate retreat.
Choosing and Reserving the Retreat Venue
When considering a venue, consider what is within your budget, what meshes with the retreat’s goal, and what your employees would be interested in. For instance, would your staff prefer to breathe in some bracing mountain air or go somewhere tropical with a beach to soak up some sun?
If you have any employees with physical restrictions, keep that in mind when picking a venue. If you need clarification, send around a survey asking people to anonymously inform you of any special needs they may have. Your professional corporate event planner will handle all of this for you!
If your retreat is local, lodging may not be needed. If your event is far from home, your chosen venue may have available accommodations. However, if you need to book lodgings separately, you’ll need to find somewhere suitably close to your venue so that your staff can easily get back and forth.
How will your attendees get to, from, and around the retreat venue? If your event is local, this probably won’t be a significant concern, but all other retreat planning should absolutely factor in transportation.
- Chartering a bus (or buses) can work well for a one-day retreat where you’re simply traveling to and from a location that’s relatively close by. However, if air travel is involved, you’ll need to book flights and transportation from the airport to the venue and back again.
Hiring a Catering Service
If your venue does not include catering, you’ll need to hire a caterer to cover meals, and your venue will probably be able to recommend local caterers. Also, consider how many meals per day you’ll need to provide. Some venues offer only breakfast and lunch with dinner on your own, while others offer all three.
You also need to account for nutritional needs and food allergies, so survey your team members about dietary restrictions before hiring a caterer. Catering to the individual dietary restrictions of a company with dozens or even hundreds of employees is incredibly difficult, which is yet another reason why hiring an experienced corporate event planner is absolutely necessary!
Planning Team-Building Activities and Recreation
After taking care of most of the logistics, you can turn to considering what will actually happen during the retreat. Decide on what team activities you want and book them well in advance and remember it’s a retreat, not just a vacation. Examples of activities include the following.
- Hiring an industry expert or a motivational speaker to deliver a talk
- Setting up hackathons where people from different departments are brought together to brainstorm new product or business ideas
- Encouraging team members to volunteer to give chats about their specific areas of expertise
Fun stuff might include the following.
- Paintball, dodgeball, or kickball where teams from different areas are pitted against each other
- A game or quiz night
- A wine-tasting or gourmet cooking class
- A guided tour around an interesting locality
Remember that group sessions and workshops are great and necessary to move toward your goals. However, if the schedule includes too many organized sessions, at the end of the day, some of your attendees may just want to lie down alone in a darkened room! Aim for a balanced itinerary and ensure that your attendees have enough time, flexibility, and energy to grab coffee with a colleague, go for a walk, play golf, or have a swim.
Planning and running a great company retreat is no small task. There will likely be things that go well and a few things that can be improved for next time. After the retreat is over, your professional planner will survey your attendees. The surveys should be anonymous to ensure you get people’s honest thoughts!
Get Some Help with Your Corporate Retreat
A well-run corporate retreat can improve motivation and morale, making it a worthwhile business investment. However, planning a successful event is not a piece of cake! Fortunately, MTI Events can take the entire burden off your shoulders.
We will handle the entire process and make sure your retreat goes off without a hitch. Our goal is to make your corporate retreat so successful that your attendees won’t be able to stop talking about it! Contact us to learn more about our corporate meeting and retreat planning services.