This month we had a wonderful company retreat. We spent time training, eating, playing, and connecting. Everyone enjoyed themselves and relished the time we spent together. I learned a lot from planning, preparing, and putting on this retreat so I’m here to write some tips and tricks for anyone putting one on, but also so I can remember when I’m planning next year’s retreat.
Here’s what I learned:
1. Food – have plenty of it around, snacks, drinks, etc, and keep it simple. I found we WAY overprepared for this one, but I’m of the school of thought it’s better to have leftovers than not enough. We used paper plates and plastic cutlery. This saved time with dishes. We also had a couple of meals catered – that way we spent more time focusing on all the other things going on and didn’t have to worry about preparation. *Note to self: let someone else shop for it next time.
2. Training – we totaled about 3 hours of training on the first day. That was plenty. We talked about company goals and how to receive feedback, pumped them up about how great they’re doing, and introduced some new benefits (an EAP program that everyone was thrilled about). We kept it positive and had lots of participation from the group.
3. Activities – this one turned out fantastic. We didn’t have a ton that was scheduled, but provided games, activities, and opportunities to spend time together. I found the majority of the time our employees just wanted to relax, talk with each other, go for quick hikes, and just hang out. When we first planned the event I was concerned we weren’t scheduled enough, but it turns out that the more organic activities were the most fun. Spontaneous games, chats, and walks were the places where people really connected. Friendships grew and people got to know each other.
4. Bingo – The one activity that was valuable was a get-to-know-you Bingo game we set up. People found out random facts about each other. This got our employees to meet new people outside of their own teams. Having a company that works from home means that many of our employees were meeting each other for the first time.
5. Relax and Enjoy it – The biggest thing I learned is there’s no reason to stress. We’re all adults and everyone was willing to pitch in. We had a great time and had plenty of food. Even the little quirks or things that didn’t go as planned were just fine. It was wonderful to sit back for a
moment and enjoy all the people that were there and the common goals we all have to do our best and help our clients.