I have always been a fan of retreats ever since college when I experienced my first organized weekend away to reflect, share, and be open to a new perspective. So when our team started to grow, I knew I wanted my team to experience the benefit of leaving everything behind for a few days to help rejuvenate, get inspired, and build deeper connections with one another.
The retreat looks a little something like this. We take a trip, typically outside the city of our main office. Last year we all traveled to Sonoma. During our slow season of course! We put our “Out of Office” on. Rent a large house for a few days. Grab a bunch of groceries. And create an agenda that is the perfect balance of team building, personal growth, business development, and most importantly fun at the same time.
I think it is the combination of these experiences that maintains loyal and happy employees, and I am here to tell you why! *If you don’t have employees but your key relationships are with a small group of vendors this same philosophy could apply!
1. Serves as Your Thank You.
As a team of wedding planners we are people pleasers by nature. Often thinking of ourselves last so I knew I needed to create a time and place where everyone on our team felt special and recognized. During each retreat we make it a point to recognize each employee in a group setting so they feel valued and a part of a bigger picture! We also plan a nice dinner that is catered so we are guest for once!
2. Gets You and Your Team Out of the Office Mindset.
When you take yourself out of your comfort zone or your day to day routine you can’t help but start to see things in a new way. For example: I brought in a chef at our last retreat and she coached us on health and wellness and mainly cooked us Paleo style meals and everyone then left with a recipe book. Regardless if they implement this or not it leaves them with something to consider and hopefully gave them a new perspective on health.
3. Guards Come Down.
I think connection is key in any business family. Once people understand what you may be going through as to why you act a certain way when empathy and patience for the other grows. This part should organically happen as it can’t be forced. A little tip is to purposely leave free time for everyone to socialize and maybe have a little vino on hand!
4. Team Building.
It is important to incorporate team building experiences. The great news is they don’t have to be expensive. For example, we broke into teams and were responsible for one meal. This way you get people who normally don’t work together talking and getting to know one another.
5. Cohesive Communication on Company’s Vision.
You have everyone’s undivided attention. This is a great place to reiterate your company’s vision and value system and get your team’s feedback. Then taking those ideas into account when the new year comes. For example: We were discussing our holiday gifts at our last retreat. Someone made a suggestion that maybe we should make a donation to a charity instead. This sparked us having each employee submit a cause close to their heart and write about why. We picked our top three and those were the charity that year in lieu of tangible gifts! It is because of this that one of our company’s values is giving back.
So if you are thinking at the end of the year you are to tired and can’t afford to put on something like this. I would think again because the investment is not only worth the return but it is also the most fulfilling weekend all year.