When it comes to inspiring or re-energising a team, a corporate retreat is arguably the most efficient and cost-effective approach for any business. At the same time, these events are not merely to invigorate a demotivated team, for corporate retreats are also an opportunity to build on current success. Sicily, Puglia and the Amalfi Coast are particularly popular destinations in this respect since they offer corporate event management teams a wide range of excellent accommodation, rewarding activities and even sublime food.
Either way, corporate retreats are an opportunity to re-enforce the company principles, galvanise team members and to develop a strategic plan for the future in a location which is likely to inspire everyone involved. With this in mind, here are eight steps for planning a successful corporate retreat and creating an environment in which a team can thrive.
8 Steps for Planning a Successful Corporate Retreat
1. Identifying an Objective for a Corporate Retreat
When planning a corporate retreat, an event organiser is always quick to point out the importance of purpose. That is to say; management should know precisely what they want to achieve with a corporate retreat and communicate this to the team as early as possible. In this sense, while there is often an element of relaxation on a company retreat, there should be an outline which clearly points out the objectives of the retreat. Furthermore, distributing a work and activity itinerary prior to the trip can set expectations and ensure that team members are approaching the retreat in the right mind frame. On the other hand, this is also essential for the fact that management should know that there is a clear business-related purpose to a corporate retreat and one which will have a practical impact or benefit on the business in future. After all, you are not organising a vacation, and without a clear purpose, the cost of a company retreat is possibly better spent elsewhere in the business.
2. Finding the Right Location for the Event
Choosing the ideal location is always a priority for an event planner or destination management company organising a company retreat. In the case of our DMC Sicily, Puglia and Amalfi Coast, we have a selection of the most beautiful and inspirational venues for a once-in-a-lifetime corporate event. Although cost will often be a factor, deciding on a location will take in various aspects which will nurture the best results relating to the overall objective. For example, if regular meetings are part of the itinerary, adequate conference facilities are mandatory. Similarly, if the goal is to bring the team together, the location should feature fun activities in which the group can participate together. As you might expect, technology is now central to the running of every business, and the very same applies to a corporate retreat. As a rule, reliable internet is necessary while conference capabilities and food or drink facilities are further considerations which will impact the success of a corporate retreat.
While some destinations are better than others, the cost of a corporate retreat should be properly budgeted, planned and executed so that your company can hugely profit from it. As a rule, Sicily and Puglia are highly regarded destinations by many event management companies, mainly due to the excellent value for money they offer. Also for their unique venues such as the agriturismos, masserias, boutique wineries, and the broad range of activities available for a highly effective corporate retreat.
3. Invest in an Experienced Facilitator
Simply put, there is no substitute for a competent facilitator, and an event organiser is likely to make this a priority when planning a corporate retreat. Although management will usually lead and control every aspect of the itinerary, an independent facilitator can bring inspiration and unique perspective to the proceedings. When you consider the extent of experiences they are likely to have, facilitators can also assist with the running of a corporate retreat and provide some well-needed respite to the management team.
4. Strike the Right Balance between Work and Leisure
As already mentioned, the location for a company retreat is decided based on many factors, but there is always a frequent need for team building and leisure activities for the team. In other words, while this is not a vacation, free time needs to be allocated, and team members should be encouraged to take time away from the working aspect of the retreat. In most cases, this is also beneficial to the relationships between team members in a sense that they will often enjoy this downtime together and nurture meaningful relationships which will enhance the togetherness of the team.
5. Prepare in Advance with a Questionnaire
Did you know that Google reported a 37% increase in employee satisfaction as a result of surveying this sense of satisfaction? In other words, taking time to ask employees questions is always worthwhile and can be used to identifying topics or issues for discussion during a corporate retreat. In many ways, this is one of the best times to focus on problems in particular, for these are much easier to address in the stress-free environment of a corporate retreat. With this in mind, you should pass around a quick questionnaire prior to the event and here are some common questions in this regard:
Questions to Ask Your Employees
1. What do you like most about working at this company?
2. What could we improve at our company?
3. What do we do well at this company?
4. What future do you see for our company?
6. Organise a Follow-up after the Retreat
When the retreat is over, there should be a clear record of everything that was discussed, identified and achieved during the event. Keeping in mind that team members are likely to forget some of these details, follow up is essential for reminding the team of their objectives and ensuring that everyone is on the same page. For this reason, whether you hold a meeting or distribute an email, the most relevant points and outcome of the retreat should be reiterated to the team.
7. Include those Who Cannot Attend
In almost every instance, there are certain members who may not be able to attend the corporate retreat. However, these members are just as important to the team. Therefore, ways;the management should seek to involve them whenever possible. In a time when smart technology is both affordable and easy to access, the management can communicate with such individuals through teleconferencing or collaborative boards. In the case of the latter, collaborative work boards are a great way to illustrate work-in-progress and invite those not in attendance to feel involved and contribute to the proceedings.
8. Do a Test-Run or a Walkthrough
As you know, time is the most valuable commodity in business, and this is also true on a corporate retreat. After all, aside from free-time, corporate retreats are based on a rather strict itinerary which leaves little room for error. For this reason, taking a brief walkthrough of the facilities is always a smart idea before an event. In this sense, double checking the accommodation will be one less thing to think about while taking stock of the conference facilities can mean that you are not left without a presentation screen at the last minute. Whether the lighting is too dim or charging facilities are inadequate, you can request alterations to avoid complications and guarantee the best possible environment for the retreat. Either way, this is your opportunity to see the event from the perspective of participants and make necessary changes to ensure maximum success on this all-important corporate retreat.