Spread out over the course of several days rather than just a couple of hours, a team building retreat can immerse your team in company culture, help them overcome challenges, and encourage them to bond with their coworkers — all without the distractions of the outside world – or their typical workday regimen.
Discover some of the benefits of team building retreats, how they differ from regular team building events, and some tips on how to plan one.
What is a Team Building Retreat?
Team-building retreats are similar to team-building events, with the exception that you are getting together to bond and overcome creative challenges for a weekend or several days instead of just one day.
These retreats are to team building events what “Immersives” are to one-day classes. You get to knock out a weeks-worth (or possibly several months-worth) of bonding and exploration in just a few days.
The best part is that these events are often held off-site or even out of town, which may help your employees get even more focused on the task at hand. There are fewer distractions at retreats than there are at one-day team building events.
Team-Building Retreat Benefits
Just some of the benefits of team building retreats include improving company culture, introducing remote team members, and overcoming major hurdles.
Immerse Your Team in Company Culture
In the era of remote and hybrid work models, with your team spread across the country or working out of the office, company culture can be difficult to maintain.
Calling your team together for an immersive weekend (or several weekdays) can help communicate company culture and instill your team with company values.
If your team has been together for a long time, team building retreats can excite your workers and help them “buy-in” to values and ideas.
Introduce Remote Team Members
Now that many of us are working from home or participating in hybrid work models, we get less face-time with our coworkers.
Some coworkers might not even meet each other at all in person — unless you schedule a time for them to do so.
And while it’s not always necessary for a team to meet in person, it always helps morale to introduce employees to each other (if only for a few days). This is especially true in creative industries where trust and communication are major indicators of employee and company success.
Overcome Major Hurdles
Most — or rather all — companies want to know what the ROI is on team building events.
While it’s not easy to calculate a team building event’s exact ROI, there is always value in getting together with your coworkers. Many companies schedule these events to help their teams overcome creative challenges and training hurdles.
And while it’s easy to organize a team building event within a few weeks or a month, it’s harder to organize a team-building retreat on the fly.
These events are often scheduled prior to a major project or launch. They’re a great way to preemptively help teams learn before a time-consuming or make-or-break project.
Tips for Organizing a Team Building Retreat
Consider Your Organizational Needs
Before organizing any team building retreat, you’ll want to consider your organizational needs.
Why are you planning this retreat? What types of skills do you want your team to walk away with? Why do you need several days for this bonding session instead of just one?
Some reasons you might want to schedule a team building retreat:
– Immerse team in company culture
– Teach technical skills in a short amount of time
– Get your team out of their element (and their heads)
Once you know why you want to schedule this event, you can consider the details, including the location and activities.
Location, Location, Location
What type of event do you want to organize? Do you want your team to relax or get pumped up (or even a bit of both)? Do you want them isolated or in a similar setting? Do you simply want to get remote team members together?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you can consider the location of your team building retreat.
It’s always a good idea to schedule interactive activities combined with wellness options and some down time as well! Your employees will appreciate it and be invigorated for the next session.
You may not have the ability or budget to go too far out of town (or out of town at all), or maybe you do have the budget and you want to isolate your team from the ordinary world.
Luckily, there are plenty of spots to host such an event that can fit most budgets and needs.
Keep the Fun Going
The only possible downside to team building retreats is that you’ll need to make an effort to keep the fun going — even after the event is over.
Since these retreats take place off-site or even out of town, your team might slip back into its old habits once they get back to the “real world”.
We recommend finding ways to keep that special spark alive after your event.
Make a list of “aha-moments” from your retreat, and keep this list visible in the office. Recreate a few of the exercises in the office from time to time. Ask employees how they plan on implementing what they’ve learned at the retreat once they get back into the office. You can even follow up to make sure they’re sticking to their growth goals.
Hire a Pro
Organizing a days-long event is a massive undertaking.
There are so many moving parts that it may be slightly impossible to organize such an event in-house. Plus, your admin may not have the background or skills to do so.
Hiring someone who’s experienced in planning both team building retreats and team building activities can save you time, money — and your sanity.