Staff retreats can be an important and integral part of the success of your company. However, if not planned carefully, they can be a poor use of company time and money and produce negative results. Ensuring that your staff has full buy-in to the event is key to the retreat’s success. Here are just a few tips to planning a successful and productive staff retreat from our own Danielle Strong, managing director of our Meetings division based in Winston-Salem, NC.
1. Get Comfy ~ ensuring that your team feels comfortable will allow them to relax and feel confident in their surroundings.
• Choose a neutral location away from the office
• Allow staff to dress comfortably ~ business casual is usually best but don’t shy away from jeans and t-shirts if activities call for that dress
• Survey your team for their food and beverage likes and dislikes and accommodate them as much as your budget will allow
• Allow proper social time, personal time and “breaks”. .think of it as recess for adults
2. Get Creative ~ tapping the creative side of each of your staff will engage them in the success of your retreat and your business
• Stock up and bring all the creative tools you can ~ paper, crayons, pens, scissors, glue, tape, staplers, shapes, stencils, you name it.
• Tap (1) or (2) of your key senior staff to develop an interactive project for the staff to engage in and allow those key staff to lead.
• Don’t lecture. If you engage your team and allow them to share ideas with each other, you gain more traction. Adults learn better when they are having a good time and feel that their ideas are welcomed and accepted.
• Be visual. Have tools available to allow ideas to be seen by everyone . . .flipcharts, large screen displays, etc.
3. Get Moving ~ engaging your team in physical activity will keep the juices flowing.
• Don’t be afraid to use multiple locations for your retreat. Sitting in one room all day will stifle the creative and engaging side of the event. Consider an outdoor venue for part of your day as well as hold breakfast and lunch separate from your meeting space.
• Involve a physical activity. This can be combined with team building but be sure you do something to get everyone moving. You can even start the day with a brisk walk or simple yoga and then as a post lunch event, workout the group on an obstacle course.
• HAVE FUN! This is most important. Research clearly shows that we are no different than our school days…lessons are great but RECESS is better.
These are just a few ideas to kick start the creative planning of a successful and productive staff retreat. Sterling Events Group has been planning staff retreats for our clients for 25 years. Visit www.sterlingeventsgroup.com or reach out to one of our expert planners today.
Danielle Strong, CMP is a veteran corporate event planner and managing director of Sterling Events Group’s Meetings division, based near Winston-Salem, NC. She can be reached at 336.397.2004 or email@example.com