Have you been tasked with planning a staff team building retreat and want some tips on what to do? We can help. Of course, there are many best practices to planning any retreat, but a team building retreat has its own peculiarities, elements that should be given special attention, and we would like to highlight them here so you can be a success and your work teams will leave stronger than they came. Which is, of course, the point.
The following 3 tips should be incorporated into the planning for your next team building retreat:
1) Build a planning team! – Yes, this seems obvious, but guess what? Many retreats fail to accomplish their purpose because of basic poor delegation by the planning coordinator. Management should always exemplify best practices, and how much more important is it that a team is used to plan a team building retreat?
Start early building your retreat planning team. Even include employees who will be attending. This shows that you value their help and also gives them some ownership of the process and retreat itself. Exemplify team building to employees and they will be much more likely to invest themselves in the retreat.
2) Set clear, relevant goals – Too many retreats lack focus and end up just being play time for participants. This carries a danger of building cynicism among your employees. Remember, “retreat” does not equal “recreation”. Yes, there will be activities; yes, there will be down time and social opportunities. But never forget, the purpose of your retreat is to make your work teams stronger and more effective in the work place. As such, you should set some goals to be achieved at the retreat, ones tailored to your people and your work environment.
For instance, your employees may have a tendency to isolate themselves from each other and avoid team work. So, an activity like one of our Ropes Courses would be a great way to encourage teamwork while in a recreational setting. That way, you are providing employees an opportunity to work as a team in a non-threatening, enjoyable environment. A clear, relevant goal matched with a team building activity. There are many resources out there to help you plan nearly every minute of your retreat, but always keep your goals in mind.
3) Follow up in the work place – Okay, so you’re back at work after a stellar team building retreat. See you next year and everything’s great, right? Not exactly.
It is all too easy, after the hubbub and exhaustion of planning and executing your retreat, to just collapse and hope your teams get stronger. But your job is not quite done. Remember those clear, relevant goals you set before the retreat? It’s time to bring them home and make them stick.
Because you set clear goals for your retreat that coincided with specific issues you have in your work place, now is the time to incorporate the progress you made at the retreat back into your everyday environment. For instance, if your problem was lack of team cohesiveness, and attendees participated in activities designed to build cohesiveness, make sure to task those folks with some team oriented work right after the retreat. This will further bond their ties and ensure the work they did at the retreat does not go stale. It also has the added benefit of showing employees that the retreat was not a waste of their time, that it was designed to bring value and benefit to their work. In short, the whole point of a work retreat.
Planning and executing a team building retreat is a valuable and worthwhile exercise, if done properly. We trust these 3 tips will set you up for success and, of course, if you need help in any way, please reach out and contact us. We’d love to help.