Corporate retreats can be an extremely valuable tool for business development, offering an opportunity for executives, managers, team leaders and other employees to address key objectives in a creative environment away from the workplace. There are many hugely successful training methods which allow you to attain your intended targets, but the first, and most important step in the process is identifying why you want to arrange a corporate retreat, and what benefit this will have on your business.
With the right set of goals in place you can tailor your retreat accordingly, helping you to propel your business to success.
1. Tap Into Creativity
Without a doubt one of the most positive outcomes from any corporate retreat is the amount of creativity that is unlocked when people are able to leave the confines of the office and set about overcoming problems, thinking of new ideas and viewpoints, and creating solutions for any challenges that your business may be facing.
Taking individuals and teams away from their ordinary workplace environment where they are able to detach from the stress and strain of everyday work frees up a lot of mental space. When conducting a meeting in the office, people often interrupt, phones go off, and the general mindset of those attending can be very distracted. Take your employees away on a retreat, where they're encouraged to concentrate solely on the task at hand, and you’ll begin to see levels of creativity you never knew were possible.
The benefits of generating enhanced levels of creativity from being outside of the office will be apparent in everything you do, whether you’re trying to overcome organizational obstacles, improve workplace relationships, or introduce new models of work to your staff.
When Steve Jobs took Apple employees on a “Top 100” retreat, the final day was always dedicated to idea generation. He would host an open session asking for creative input into product ideas, writing it all down on a whiteboard and then narrowing it down to just 3 ideas which would then be further investigated. This is a process which works perfectly in the free flowing creative setting of a corporate retreat.
2. Overcoming Organizational Obstacles
When faced with challenging organizational problems in the workplace, it is essential to take a step back from the situation so that you can get a deeper understanding of the root causes. More often than not in large organizations, the main issue blocking growth and success are inter-department challenges. This can be due to a difference in focus or priorities, an incorrect distribution of funding, resources and staff, or miscommunication between departments.
Whatever the obstacles to success are, there’s no better strategy for dealing with them than by getting all of the key personnel together to resolve with the situation while away from the workplace, without any distractions. Communication between department managers and company executives can be free flowing in this environment, and this can be invaluable when trying to overcome complex problems which involve a wide range of people.
3. Create a Collective Vision for Company Success
Corporate retreats are the perfect way to get all the key players in your company together so that you can layout a vision for the future and get them as enthusiastic about it as you are. A collective drive to succeed is one of the most powerful tools in business, and on a retreat you can develop specific team building activities that will foster this drive and help your employees realize how important collaboration is for a business' growth.
Day-to-day work life doesn’t allow much time or energy for thinking about the bigger picture. Take managers and executives away from their daily workplace stresses and you’re more likely to be able to sell them a vision of what’s possible if everyone in the company pulls together in the same direction. This will increase motivation and productivity when they return to the office and begin disseminating this vision to their employees.
There has been a big trend in companies using business retreats to give their employees time to evaluate the workplace model and to think creatively about what could be improved as well as creating new concepts for new product ideas. DataXu’s ‘innovation day’ has seen great results for their company as employees are encouraged to actively participate in the development of ideas, with the invention of an exciting new data visualization tool coming out of their last event.
4. Tackle Tough Decisions
When it comes to making tough, potentially life changing business decisions, it’s never a good idea to rush into things. By taking the key personnel needed to make these tough decisions on a corporate retreat, you’ll have the time and space required to hash things out and make the right choices. Even the greatest leaders need the help and guidance of those around them, and a corporate retreat could be the perfect opportunity for you to gather those personnel involved in the critical decision making process in one place for allowing you to make real progress on the key issues.
Whether you’re facing awkward decisions on staff redundancy, department relocation, product development, or structural re-organization, you need to ensure that you’re able to evaluate effectively. Take these tough decisions on the road and come back to the office ready to implement the best plan of action, as well as one that will move your business in the right direction.
5. Introduce Change and its Accompanying Needs
Introducing change in the workplace is never an easy task, and more often than not, employees get stuck in a comfort zone which prevents them from adopting new ideas and taking them on in a positive way. Getting managers and team leaders on board is the best way of ensuring that things run smoothly and that the changes are seen as a positive thing for the business and its employees.
Taking time away from the ordinary work schedule to run through the proposed changes, the reasoning behind it, and the best way to move forward will give people a chance to give their input and ideas, and work through any issues that arise. The odds of creating a successful change in your workplace are much higher if you approach it in this way and get managers on-board with the new company ethos before it’s introduced in real time. A team of highly enthusiastic managers enforcing change in their respective departments are sure to boost the performance of any company.
6. Improve Workplace Relationships
Whether you’ve just had a merger and there are lots of new faces in the office, or certain members of your team are not working effectively together, a corporate retreat is the ideal way to break the ice and improve workplace relationships. There is a direct correlation between the quality of workplace relationships and productivity, and this has been seen time and again where communication breakdown within companies leads to serious problems with performance.
Just about every business in the world would benefit from improving their workplace relationships, and while it is possible to implement in-house initiatives to help, nothing beats taking everyone away from their everyday work environment to a neutral location and getting them interacting and engaging in different ways. This can also be extremely effective for businesses who operate from several different locations. Why not arrange a corporate retreat and get those employees who are always interacting on the phone and via email to meet in person?
7. Evaluate Your Goals and Targets
Evaluating past successes and failures, and resetting the bearings is an essential process for every business. Corporate retreats offer the chance for your managers and executives to run through this process together, reinforcing the positive aspects of the business and highlighting areas that need to be improved upon.
The evaluation process should be interactive and engaging, allowing for plenty of feedback from those attending the event. When all parties are involved in the evaluation process, they will add value to the decisions which are made at the end of it and will feel invested in the future of the business, which improves the likelihood of success in achieving your new targets.
Whether you’ve got one specific goal which you want to achieve from a corporate retreat or there are a host of desired outcomes, there’s no doubting the powerful positive effect that it can have on your business. The most successful retreats are designed around these goals, ensuring that while the delegates may have a relaxing and enjoyable time, they also come away from their retreat with an increased level of purpose and motivation, ready to push your business forward to the next level.
Are you planning a corporate retreat? What are you hoping to achieve and how are you planning to put the above points into action to ensure success?