Companies grow with their people. Without people, the company doesn’t exist. Every effort spent building the organisation up features people. The bigger your company is, the harder it is to bring people together.
An excellent way to ensure that people from different teams and different levels come together, is to organise an offsite retreat where they don’t have to worry about the formalities of a traditional work day, and break the walls between management and the employees.
Let’s discuss some of the best practices that can help in ensuring the offsite retreat has a successful and lasting outcome.
- Make sure your objectives and expectations are clearly statedUnderstand where the company is in its development process and determine the outcome you want from the offsite retreat. Create an agenda that reflects and reinforces the goals for this session; perhaps by engaging in reflections about the performance during the past year to consider what the team has done well and what could have been done better. You can also discuss and debate current opportunities and challenges and create strategic plans for the upcoming year. Give the teams the opportunity to set their individual goals so that they are aware of the path they need to take for the upcoming year.
- Take into consideration personal developmentTraditional work days don’t usually offer the chance for personal development. Let the people know that this retreat is a time to learn and grow, and to advance individually and as a company. This helps to build morale and create awareness that the company cares for the future of the staff. Take the time to speak to your managers and their teams thereafter, to find out what they’re interested in and what skills they would like to develop. Then, create a plan and share it with them after, on how the company wants to help them fulfil those aspirations.
- Get everyone involvedEver noticed how the ones who enjoy speaking up get the most attention during a company event? How do you make sure that even the quieter ones are heard? Think of creative ways to get the attention of even the quietest employee on your team. Instead of talking out loud, how about writing it down? Convince every team to get involved with the planning and execution of your retreat; get them to brainstorm on what they’d like to achieve and how they intend to get that done. This way, everyone has a stake in the success of this session.
- Remember to schedule follow-upsChecking in with your team, 3 or 6 months after the retreat will help to ensure that everyone stays focused on making the progress talked about during the session and sustain positive change over time. You’ve spent precious time over the retreat laying out progress plans and getting people pumped up about the goals the company would like to meet over the coming year, so make sure you follow up and ensure that these efforts are not temporary.
- Have fun!It may seem obvious, but at times we really do forget to have fun at these off-site retreats. We’re all so caught up in goal setting, reflections and schedule making that we don’t remember to let loose and just enjoy being out of the office with our fellow colleagues. Breaking down the walls between management and staff allows everyone see a different, lighter side of others. People are more inclined to open up and speak up when they’re comfortable. So remember, have fun because it’s beneficial for everyone.
An effective offsite retreat can create and sustain new and improved ways of communication and collaboration among teams and people, and in turn, changing the office dynamics for the better. Preparation and follow-ups are paramount to the success of this retreat and its enduring and long-term positive effects.