More companies, especially distributed ones, are implementing company retreats into their budgets. It’s a smart move as it allows employees to bond in a more relaxed, open environment and for leadership to receive candidate real-time feedback. It’s also a great way to kick off the year and set goals.
As with any event, all the elements are a big puzzle—that you, the planner—need to fit together. Andrea Cannistraci, CMM, President & Founder of andgreat, a marketing, branding, and events agency, shares seven tips to ensure a successful and memorable company retreat.
1. Send a pre-planning survey
Survey your attendees before the company retreat. Find out what destinations interest them, what topics they would like to discuss, what goals they hope to achieve from attending and what activities interest them. Getting attendees onboard at the planning stage will ensure better participation, excitement and a much more focused and successful event.
2. Develop a strong team of suppliers
Reach out to the local CVB of your chosen destination. They are the experts on the area and will be essential to helping you navigate the area and source the best caterers, AV, entertainment, restaurants, transportation, off-site venues and team building activities.
3. Conduct a site inspection
It’s imperative that you know the area and your way around. Meet personally with all the suppliers, experience the activities, restaurants, venues and entertainment. Start to build the relationships. Take copious notes. Know where the closest hospital, pharmacy, Kinkos and grocery store are located.
4. Schedule free time
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not building free-time into your agenda. Give attendees a break later in the afternoon before dinner to check-in with family, refresh, relax or hit the gym. Often you’ll see the attendees will want to continue the day’s conversions at the bar or around the pool. Those unstructured moments where employees bond on their own can create the most insight and best memories.