For the longest time, companies had given up on the idea of corporate retreats.
As soon as the American economy became unstable, it seemed like most business leaders all thought the same thing: "Well... we gotta cut expenses somewhere, right?" And since the word retreat seemed to be synonymous with financial extravagance, these events quickly resembled the economy: almost non-existent.
However, a new study has found that corporate training as a whole is making a comeback. It grew 12% last year, the highest it's been in the last 8 years.
And what can a corporate retreat consist of? Yep -- training.
So if your company is one of those ready to re-invest in a retreat for your employees, it's best you learn how to do them right so that your money is well-spent and the time well-invested and productive. Here are 3 ways to do this:
1. Ask Your Employees About Company Improvement
One of the biggest mistakes CEOs and managers can make is not talking to their employees to see what their perception of the company is.
Often, these leaders can have a skewed vision of what's working and what's not. Sometimes, it's your Average Joe who loves the company and wants to see it succeed so much that he's thought about ways it could improve.
As such, it's important for leadership personnel to ask employees what they think the company's greatest needs and goals should be for advancing its growth.
Performing a poll like this can help you better decide how to spend your money on training and team-building during the corporate retreat. If you can align your analysis of the company's needs with those of your employees', you're far more likely to invest in the right training materials and will reduce your chances of feeling like you "wasted" time and resources on the trip.
Basically, proper planning for what will be going on during the retreat is just as important to smart corporate spending as are other aspects like paying attention to where you'll be going. Speaking of which...
2. Find a Location Surrounded by Natural Beauty
No, we're not suggesting you frivolously waste your money and bring about the wrath of the public (you don't want to be the next AIG). What we are suggesting is that you choose your corporate retreat location wisely.
Retreats at hotels aren't as cool as they used to be. In fact, going to a regular old hotel, even one full of luxury, could be seen by many of your workers (and even some of the leadership team) as more of a vacation than a work-related retreat.
Instead, look to corporate event venues that are surrounded by natural beauty. The reason why you want to pick one of these locations is simple: there are scientific studies tying the great outdoors to improved work performance.
The human mind isn't meant to stay cooped up inside and also produce quality levels of work on a consistent basis. And when your employees aren't productive, whether it's in the office or out of it (like on a retreat), you lose money.
So if you want to ensure your employees are their most productive during the retreat, make sure that they'll have access to the great outdoors the entire trip. It's a smart move overall for your long-term financial success.
3. Pick an Estate for Absolute Effectiveness
The great thing about a corporate retreat is that the right location can go a very long way in making your employees feel like you care about them, but are also cognizant of company spending.
This is where estates come in handy. Where some companies want to go all-out and fly their employees to the exotic beaches of Fuji or Bali, you can have an equally amazing retreat in a U.S.-based estate that keeps both your wallet and your employees happy.
Many estates are ideal for small-to-medium-sized company events and retreats, and like the previous paragraph mentioned, quite a few are located in beautiful parts of the country where nature can help inspire and refresh everyone who attends.
Additionally, when you rent an estate, you get the entire location to yourself.
This exclusivity means you won't be running into anyone else, like other companies who might happen to be staying at the same resort. Your entire company can focus specifically on the matters at hand -- making your company a better place.
Now that corporate retreats are making a comeback, it's time to start thinking about how to make yours the best it can be.
The "best" doesn't mean you have to spend huge sums of money, either. In fact, making sure that you properly prepare for the retreat training, picking a natural location for the event, and hosting it at an estate are just a few steps you can take to efficiently use your company spending, that also get you the results you want.
Is your company considering a corporate retreat this year? Why or why not?