How To Plan Corporate Retreats in 7 Steps (With Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 25, 2021

Corporate retreats have various functions within organizations. They provide several benefits, from increased workplace happiness to more cohesive team functioning. Understanding the value of corporate retreats and the best ways to plan your own retreat could make you a more effective manager. In this article, we discuss what corporate retreats are, the benefits they offer to a company and how to plan your own, along with ideas you can use on your next retreat.

What are corporate retreats?

Corporate retreats are company events located away from the office that usually focus on specific goals, such as planning, skill acquisition or team building. Often, retreats are weekend trips, however, they also may be single day events. A corporate retreat provides a break from work routines and a scheduled time to focus on certain objectives. An effective corporate retreat can lead to a boost in production in the future.

Benefits of planning a corporate retreat

Planning a corporate retreat for your staff can provide your company with many benefits, including:

Team bonding

Corporate retreats often serve as a team-building opportunity. Your team-building efforts on a corporate retreat can be direct, providing staff with games and other opportunities designed to foster team building. Your staff can also benefit from the unplanned team building that may occur over the nonworking hours, shared experiences and fun times at the retreat. These experiences can strengthen personal relationships between members of the staff and potentially make them more effective professional teammates.

Related: What Is the Purpose of Team Building?

Increased morale

Corporate retreats are opportunities for staff members to pause their normal work routines and have fun together. This can help improve morale within your company. Raising morale is often a goal within companies, as employees typically can produce stronger results when they're feeling happy and satisfied at work. By scheduling corporate retreats throughout the year to keep morale high, you have the potential to raise production throughout the year as well.

Related: 7 Ways To Improve Team Morale

Improved work culture

Creating fun opportunities makes your company a more appealing place to work. This can increase your retention rates, as employees are less likely to consider other offers for employment when they have job satisfaction. Developing an enjoyable work culture can also help your recruiting, because a positive work culture, observable through your reputation or employee reviews, can be an important job benefit. E mployees are also more likely to recommend your company to friends, spreading knowledge of job openings and aiding your recruiting of valuable staff to their team.

Related: Q&A: Why Is Retaining Talent Important?

Talent identification

A corporate retreat can provide an opportunity to identify your team members' skills. Team-building activities or vision meetings may involve different skills than your staff's normal obligations require. Their methods of meeting these weekend goals may allow them to use and highlight hidden abilities. Teams can discover new ways to work together, and management can recognize abilities needed for internal advancement.

Related: Identifying Leadership Potential and Building Leadership Skills

Stress relief

A corporate retreat is an excellent choice when employees need downtime. By providing a break from work and fun team activities, a work retreat can help to lower tension for your employees. With decreased stress levels, employees can return to work, possibly capable of producing at higher levels and increasing their profitability for the company.

How to plan a corporate retreat

Follow these steps to design an effective and beneficial retreat:

1. Determine your goals

When planning a retreat, it's important to set clear goals. Goals on a corporate retreat may range from creating a fun work culture to building team bonds or identifying staff for future development. You may get expanded benefits from your retreat. However, by understanding your primary goal, you can plan activities and events to ensure you meet the weekend's purpose.

2. Set a budget

When planning your corporate retreat, it's important to remain financially responsible. Your budget should guide your plans and possibly determine what type of event you should plan. By setting your budget prior to planning, you can prioritize your spending to get the maximum benefit from your available finances.

3. Choose a format

Once you've decided on your goals and the size of your budget, you can identify the format for your retreat. This could range from minimal costs on a one-day group outdoor activity to a large budget for a remote retreat requiring plane tickets, hotel rooms, group room rentals and food budgets. The format for your retreat includes its length, its venue, accommodations or travel options and the activities taking place over the course of the retreat. Matching your chosen format to your primary goals provides you with the best opportunity for retreat success.

4. Schedule the event

Plan your event with plenty of advanced notice. This helps your planning by increasing the number of available venues and your budget by accessing early pricing. It also allows you extra time to thoroughly research your options.

5. Negotiate prices

If your corporate retreat plans involve travel or lodging accommodations, you may be able to negotiate discounted rates with providers. Because corporate bookings often include large numbers of participants, providers may offer you special rates in order to secure your business. These special rates can mean significant savings if you're booking a large group of staff members.

6. Give advanced warning

Once you've booked the retreat, it's important to send advanced communications to the staff concerning its basics. This allows staff to make accommodations to their personal schedule and to their work, as needed, to account for the retreat. If the retreat has morale-boosting value, such as a fun weekend away, it can also increase positivity by giving staff something to look forward to.

7. Provide staff with a guide

Help staff enjoy all the amenities and opportunities available on your corporate retreat by making resources available, such as an itinerary for required weekend events and a guide to any optional activities or entertainment. This increases the maximum benefit of the retreat. By allowing employees to get the full experience of your retreat, the company benefits as well.

10 corporate retreat ideas

When planning your next corporate retreat, these ideas can help you make it a special event:

1. Make it luxurious

Provide staff with a special experience, such as a remote retreat to a premium destination. If you're operating with a large available budget, this can be an excellent way to maximize the benefit of your corporate retreat. Your staff can de-stress and enjoy not only a luxurious downtime but also the reward of being valued by their company.

2. Take a hike

Outdoor activities in nature are a great way to fill an afternoon or evening. If your corporate retreat takes place at a campground, open space or national park, organizing a company hike allows you to explore the beautiful sights around you with your staff, providing them with an unforgettable experience. A smaller budget may propose such a corporate retreat, but hiking as an event at any retreat can be a great opportunity for casual conversations and team building.

3. Plan a picnic

Enjoying a meal together is an excellent way to bond. Hosting a single-event company picnic or one picnic meal on a corporate retreat can be an enjoyable and casual time for employee friendship building. You can cater the picnic or encourage staff to bring favorite meals and run it potluck style.

4. Retreat by the water

There are many resorts and convention venues near bodies of water, such as oceans, lakes and rivers. Because many people associate these places with vacationing, planning a corporate retreat near one can allow many fun and beautiful opportunities for events and meetings. This type of venue can also provide many activities for nonscheduled time.

5. Play games

Organizing games at your corporate retreat provides team-building opportunities and helps staff build fun memories. You can plan games as single opportunities, such as horseshoes on the lawn after lunch, or make it a running theme throughout the retreat, with teams earning points through different games and holding a tally at the end of the event. Games could be team building, board games, strategy games or sports games.

6. Organize a scavenger hunt

A scavenger hunt is a fun activity that gets members of your staff working together. When hosting a retreat at a remote location, a scavenger hunt is also an excellent way to let your staff get to know the area, by sending them out in search of items located around the premises. You could plan this as an introduction activity to the itinerary and weekend or a team-building activity.

7. Try an escape room

Escape rooms provide an excellent option for an activity on your corporate retreat that's both enjoyable and functional. There may be an escape room close to your retreat or you can build and host your own. In order to solve an escape room, staff members need to work together and use creative thinking. This works to build important workplace skills and can reveal many team members' hidden skills.

8. Schedule free time

When preparing a schedule for your corporate retreat, offer staff opportunities to enjoy time on their own. This allows employees to find the options available at the retreat that appeal most to them. Especially if one of your goals is employee downtime, ensure individual options for staff to maximize their enjoyment and benefit from the retreat.

9. Arrange leadership opportunities

When choosing events and activities for your corporate retreat, include events that provide the chance for employees to show off their leadership capabilities. This allows you to identify staff who may have advancement potential because of their natural leadership skills. You can provide this in unstructured meetings and team-building sessions that allow employees to take different roles than their work positions.

10. Give them something to take home

At the end of your corporate retreat, provide staff members with something to take home to help solidify the effects of the retreat. A physical object can provide value on its own and also is a reminder of the enjoyable experience of the retreat. This can expand the increased morale of the retreat.

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