How to Plan a Retreat | 6 Tips for Success
Planning the perfect company trip isn’t easy. It takes clear planning and an understanding of the corporate culture. At Moniker we have been helping diverse companies across many verticals to plan trips that meet or exceed their program needs for many years. Here we will share Moniker Partner’s top 6 tips for planning a great trip. This should help you start narrowing down what you will need for success.
Have Clear Goals
It is important for the trip manager to have a clear understanding of the goals of the trip before planning begins. This will help focus the plan and always produces better results. A corporate retreat will more than likely have several goals driving it. The retreat may be a reward for a great quarter, a team building exercise, off-site strategy sessions, simply a way to energize employees or all of the above. Games, events and training may all be key elements of your trip but there is more for the planner to focus on other than the day to day activities.
Understand Your Technology Requirements
Will everyone need a laptop? Are smart phones an absolute necessity or should participants be required to leave them at home (gasp)?! You may need reliable internet, or you might want to block it entirely, but either way this needs to be built into the plan. This is more important if conference calls are built into the plan or if some work will need to be done but planning a tech free retreat has pitfalls of its own.
Understand Your Participants
When planning your retreat think through and visualize the trip to the best of your ability. Be sure you are including key team members where they will have a positive influence and help your employees play into their strengths. Let the leaders lead and the innovators innovate! Get them involved with the planning where appropriate.
If members of the team have difficulty socializing be sure to make them feel welcome and create opportunities for them to join the group. You might not bring the introverts out of their shell, but you can create an environment where they can enjoy the group and grow.
Be sure you are including key team members where they will have a positive influence and help your employees play into their strengths
Plan for Downtime
The trip should be as efficient and effective as possible, but this isn’t all about work! If downtime is scheduled, then attendees can pace themselves and have some fun. Having the team bond during this time can bring them together as effectively as any trust building exercise and they won’t get burned out on the corporate activities keeping them sharp for longer periods of time.
Create and Maintain an Agenda
Agendas are an essential part of any successful corporate retreat. Clearly communicating the agenda to attendees before the trip is imperative as this will help the group pack properly and will help individuals manage their time when not directly involved with the group. While corporate retreats tend to be loosely structured in order to let the program adapt to the group over time it is important that attendees know the schedule and it is maintained to a degree over the course of the trip.
Preparation is Key
Know what is going to happen well before the trip. Know the local areas you want everyone to visit and the games you are going to play to liven things up. Brush up on ways to break the ice for new employees and plan to get departments together that may not know each other. It isn’t enough to throw everyone into the same area and improvise hoping for the best. It's OK to go off the plan as long as you have a way back and you have a clear vision of how to achieve the goals of the trip.