10 Steps for a Successful Corporate Retreat

When planning your corporate retreat, you must find the perfect combination of fun, team building, and work epiphanies. Improving morale, strategizing and creating a working environment that can give your team a boost is limitless. 

We are here to help you plan a successful and memorable corporate retreat for you and your team. 

Here are 10 steps to consider when planning your corporate retreat:

Clarify Objectives from the Get-Go

As you have probably figured out by now, corporate retreats take a lot of planning and get costly, very quickly. Most companies do not do them just to do them, there is typically a goal in mind. 

Maybe your company needs to blow off steam or celebrate hitting a milestone, or maybe they need to brainstorm for a specific project or upcoming challenge. 

Perhaps you and your team need to foster team bonding and increase interdepartmental communication. 

Corporate retreats are also a wonderful opportunity to reinforce company values and culture. This could be the perfect opportunity to combine all of these things and tackle an array of tasks as a team, 

Whatever your goal is, the earlier you figure it out, the better. Clear objectives will help guide all your decision making as you plan and execute the corporate retreat. 

While it might seem obvious, the solution is communication. As soon as a company retreat is discussed, as the important questions. 

  1. Is the goal for everyone to simply have a good time? 
  2. What are we looking to get out of this? 
  3. Is this about team bonding or casual social bonding? 

If there are multiple objectives that is okay but make sure you are on the same page with the rest of your team. This way, if you have to make a tough call about budget or time, you can make the right choice.  

Zero in on a Budget

Read the fine print… 

Let’s get real for a second. When it comes to corporate retreats, you might not have the budget you were hoping for. Budgeting will be one of the biggest challenges you will face when throwing your retreat. Prioritizing will help!

Another important part of working with a tight budget is managing the expectations of others. Some of your teammates may have high expectations, however, it is not realistic to provide each team member with a Ferrari cake and a diamond tiara. Be realistic with yourself and the rest of your team. 

Explain to your team that you have to keep things within the set budget and it will prevent major disappointment. 

Book a Venue ASAP

Before you do anything else, book a venue. Where you hold your event has the potential to make or break the corporate retreat. For this reason, it is important to book as early as possible to avoid getting stuck with a setting that does not work for the rest of the team. Also, the earlier you book the venue, the better the deal you will get. 

You might be asking yourself, how do you know if you have found the right venue? The size of your gathering will determine a lot, but it also comes down to the goals. 

Choose a venue that supports the activities you want to encourage. If it is all about team bonding, you will need a space with activities and places to eat as well as socialize. 

Alternatively, if focused work such as brainstorming is your goal, make sure your venue has some quiet space that is relatively distraction-free. 

Take advantage of the unique things that your city or region has to offer. If you live near the mountains, consider an off-season getaway at a local ski resort. For example, the Interlaken Inn has access to a lake, which offers endless opportunities for outdoor activities. Find the things that make your area different compared to other venues, and highlight them. 

Last but not least, find a venue that has experience hosting corporate events. 

Visit the Site Beforehand

If at all possible, do a walkthrough of the venue to get the lay of the land. It will help you avoid pitfalls that you had not previously considered. 

Connect Your Retreat to Your Company’s Purpose

It can be difficult to get your team excited about an offsite corporate retreat. Even though these events are meant to be fun and relaxing, there are likely to be a few people on your team who see it as a distraction from the work they should be doing. Additionally, there are likely to be a few individuals who would rather just have the day off.

You have to sell the idea to your teammates by making your retreat purpose-driven. 

Appoint a Safety Officer

There is a little more risk when it comes to an off-site corporate retreat. Although it is unlikely that you will be putting your team in danger, you will be in a new environment with the potential for injury or other calamities. 

We recommend planning for the worst and hoping for the best. You can benefit from a safety officer. Your safety officer is in charge of: 

  1. Staying sober throughout the corporate retreat so he or she can drive in case of an emergency. 
  2. Knowing the location of the closest hospital 
  3. Bringing a first aid kit
  4. Knowing CPR

The safety officer should not be you, the person in charge of the event. This way, if your safety officer does need to drive someone to the hospital, you are still there to help run the retreat. 

Please the “Influencers”

It is not possible to please everyone, so be strategic. If you have a teammate who is not happy, it is likely that no one will be happy. Figure out who your influencers are beforehand, and do the little things to keep them entertained. This is essential for the morale of the event. 

Arrange Transportation

Depending on the size of your team, getting all your team members to the same location is not an easy task. Usually, having everyone take their own cars is not an option. It is often too chaotic and you likely will not have enough parking on site. Additionally, everyone will arrive at separate times and throw the entire scheduled offtrack. 

Something to consider is the Swoop app. It allows you to get people to one location and back safely, on time and in one piece. 

Plan the Day to a T, but Build in Buffer Times

Hand out an itinerary to each team member on the day of the corporate retreat. This will help the event run smoothly. It is important to build buffer times, such as water breaks, cocktail hours and socializing. There will always be unforeseen delays, which is why baking in that flexibility will keep your event on the rails. 

Enjoy Yourself 

Last but not least, enjoy yourself. Corporate retreats are for the benefit of the entire team, and you are a part of the team. We recognize that as the person running the event, you will inevitably feel a great sense of responsibility. However, you should still make it a point to participate in activities, sample some of the food, and connect with your teammates. 

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