How to Organize an Employee Motivating Corporate Retreat

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jul 18, 2018

Jul 18, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Do you have the assignment to plan a corporate retreat? Do you need to make it productive, inspirational, and fun all at the same time?

If you're feeling a little overwhelmed, that's normal. In fact, event planning has been found to be the fifth most stressful job out there.

But don't worry! There are things you can do to make it a huge success. We've put together a list of the essential parts of a great company retreat.

Follow these and you'll be sure to have a great event.

Know The Goal

Before you start to plan anything, take a step back and think about the goal of the retreat. What is the motivation for having the event?

If no one has a clear answer to this question, you should spend time as a team identifying the purpose of your retreat. It will make it much more worthwhile for everyone involved and provide a greater return on investment.

Think about these questions to help. Does your team need to be more on the same page? Could people use a boost in morale? Do you want to train your team on a specific process or skill?

All of these are great purposes for a retreat.

Plan Ahead for Your Corporate Retreat

The truth is that your retreat will go much smoother if it's well planned. Keep in mind that your retreat will be remembered for the rest of the year. And you want it to be remembered as a success, not a huge failure.

Now that you've established the goal of the retreat, you should get more specific input from your team. Send them a survey asking questions like:

  • What does our team do well?
  • What do we need to do better on?
  • What skills do you feel like our team could use?
  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • What would you change about working here?

Asking these types of questions will help you know where to go with your retreat plans.

Next, move on to your schedule. By the time your retreat arrives, you'll want to have a detailed daily schedule and know the location of every event. You'll also want to have the meals clearly planned out and know who is in charge of making them or if you'll have a caterer.

You'll also need to detail out room assignments if you're going offsite.

Basically, make sure you've thought through all the main parts of the event logistics before the big day. It will make it much better.

Have Fun

Remember that a key part of your retreat is having fun. This is the one time of the year that your employees will all be together somewhere outside of the office.

If you have employees coming in from out of town, this is a crucial time for them to bond with the rest of the company as well.

So as you're planning your retreat, remember that a key part of this bonding comes through having fun. Come with planned games that will help everyone get to know each other better. Read more here for specific game ideas.

You can also use these as icebreakers if the energy is dying down in the room.

Think of big activities that you can do with the whole company. These could include going to a sporting event, having a movie night, or hosting a kickball or ping pong tournament. Throughout the years, these can become a company tradition that people look forward to.

This is a great time to also hand out rewards or certificates of excellence to your employees. Consider hosting a raffle or giving away other prizes. These things can also greatly enhance the morale of your employees.

Play Hard and Work Hard

We've talked about having fun. That's an essential part of your retreat. But it's also important to work hard.

Otherwise you're just hosting a big company vacation. Your retreat will have a much bigger impact if you take advantage of the time together to get some work done.

This will help your employees return home feeling like they accomplished something. They'll also feel re-energized and ready to get back to work.

Consider splitting up into smaller groups and trying to solve problems the company is facing. Put people with coworkers that they don't usually work with. You'll be surprised by the results that come from new group brainstorming sessions.

Creating these groups will also help all your employees have a greater understanding of other departments in the company. This will help them work better together when they're back in the office.

This is also a great time to work on a big item that affects everyone in the company like a new product or an expansion effort. Use this time to get people excited and to also get their input.

Forget about Titles

Make it a priority to leave titles at the door. It can be very intimidating to go on a drive or flight with your boss. This is even more true if you're sharing a room.

Instead, create the expectation that titles shouldn't be a focus at your retreat. This way everyone can relax and truly enjoy their time together.

Check out our blog for more corporate productivity ideas.

Don't Forget about Downtime

While you want to have your schedule prepared beforehand, don't schedule every last minute with activities. Also include downtime in the form of unstructured free time.

This way, people can do things they want which will make it a memorable experience for them. They can go see some sights or enjoy the nightlife in the area.

This time will allow your employees to unwind. Think of it as if you were still in the office. People really benefit from having a lunch break and then going home at night.

The same is true on a retreat. Giving them some downtime will make your structured time even more productive in the end!

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it. The essentials you need to plan a motivating corporate retreat. It's now time to use these in planning your company's next event!

Check out our post with tips on coming up with winning business ideas?