10 Ways a Team Building Retreat Will Help Your Company
Let’s say there’s this young tech startup, we’ll call it Company X. From afar, they appear to be doing great.
They’ve grown quickly since their founding in 2010 and have expanded from five to seventy employees. The company has made a few necessary, but successful, pivots and their sales continue to grow. Unfortunately for Company X this isn’t the full picture.
The main part of any company is its people. Zoom in a little closer, past the numbers, and you’ll see that Company X is struggling with poor employee engagement, an underperforming team, and lack of cohesion throughout the organization.
Aaron, their CEO, is at odds about what to do. He knows the already financially successful company could do so much more with an engaged team.
On one hand he recognizes that his employees need a break. They’re overworked and not getting the support they need. On the other hand, he doesn’t want to distract his workforce from the progress they’ve made and the objectives they need to meet.
So, Aaron does some research. After many late-night Google searches he comes to realize that the symptoms his startup team is suffering from point to one of the greatest plagues of tech startups today, poor team culture.
Unsure about how to solve this problem, Aaron does a bit more digging. One of the solutions he finds is hosting an offsite team retreat.
At first glance the idea of a team retreat seems counter intuitive. If you pull your employees away from work are you actually going to solve any problems? Would employees be able to cope with the lost hours and juggle their workload while taking part in something new?
The answer is YES.
Why should I do a corporate retreat with my team? One word: results.
Team retreats, whether bi-annual, annual, or seasonal, create positive changes throughout the entire organization. They help develop an environment of employee and team engagement, enhance company culture, encourage team collaboration, and increase employee motivation and performance.
And when you see stats like “. . . highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability per year. . .” and “disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion a year. . .” it’s easy to see how team building retreats are the perfect solution to incoherent, stressed, and overworked workforce (Forbes).
For further proof about the power of an offsite corporate retreat, continue to read about the 10 points of value that team retreats bring to startups and why your startup needs one ASAP. 👇
Table of Contents:
What’s the purpose of a team building retreat?
High performing teams are critical to a startup’s success and as a result, are one of the most important and beneficial investments a startup CEO will make.
The biggest motivator to host a team building offsite retreat is if you see the need for strengthening the bonds of your team.
Team building retreats are a great way to enhance company culture, improve overall team performance, and increase employee productivity and engagement.
The interactive and community-based approach of team building retreats helps improve the capacity of leadership for employees and managers alike.
This makes team building retreats the most effective way to create a long-lasting impact on team dynamics and leadership skills which are at the foundation of any high-performing team.
By developing stronger team dynamics and leadership skills across the entire team, you aid in developing meaningful relationships among team members that makes them excited to come to work again.
You also increase team collaboration which helps in the development of solutions to problems that executives can’t solve alone, and employees become motivated to take action in the role they play at your startup which reignites their passion for work and will create long-lasting results on their maximum productivity output.
For a full analysis of how team building retreats can help your startup in 10 different ways, take a look at the points below. 👀
10 Ways a Team Building Retreat Will Help Your Company
1. Enhance company culture
Team building retreats help bring focus to how your startup’s values guide employee interaction.
In fact, team building retreats can be considered a piece of company culture itself as they act as a “check up” on company values.
As mentioned by Hoppier’s CEO, Cassy Aite, “ . . . startup culture should be rooted in values of your company . . .” and retreats are a great way to clarify your company’s goals and missions and give you a chance to clearly communicate them to employees.
👉 To see my full interview with Cassy checkout my blog How to Grow Your Startup Company Culture Online
In this way, team building retreats act as a way to build, reconstruct, and communicate company values from the bottom-up.
Team retreats bring people closer and help make employees feel like they’re part of a big happy work family. Being around one another without the pressures of the office helps develop meaningful relationships that improves the overall company culture by getting teams excited about their work.
Creating an environment where employees can connect on a different level is the biggest key to unlocking employee connection on a personal, human, level in a retreat setting.
Retreats show employees where company values come from and how they’re created. This then helps employees to uphold company values in their everyday actions at work which ensures that company values are supported by all staff.
As your employees develop a deeper understanding of company culture, they also develop a deeper connection amongst each other as they realize how they work in collaboration to reach a common goal.
When employees realize the collaborative role they play in helping each other reach target objectives, they feel excited to come to work again.
2. Improve team performance
One of the biggest benefits you will see from a team building retreat is increased collaboration among team members. Your company’s success is closely linked to each employee’s ability to collaborate and work with others.
In my interview with Hoppier CEO, Cassy Aite, Cassy told me that he finds that team building retreats are very helpful in team discovery.
Team members gain a better understanding of themselves and each other through activities such as leadership coaching and DISC personality tests.
The DISC personality assessment is a great tool to use to better understand how team members work together and their communication styles.
As team members gain better knowledge of each other’s personalities and communication styles they begin to understand what they can do to better support one another in the workplace.
When team members understand how to get the best out of one another, communication suddenly becomes 10x easier which then increases team engagement and collaboration.
In regards to improving team performance, retreats also help get people out of their usual comfort zones and create the freedom for them to connect in a more sincere way than they may connect in the workplace.
A change of scenery away from the pressures of the workplace works wonders in helping employees bond and build community. Shared experiences bring people together and team retreats are the biggest shared experience you can create for employees.
Your retreat will develop a foundation for employees they can use to connect far after the retreat’s over. By initiating this group-minded philosophy at the team retreat, your team will be more apt to support one another in the workplace and beyond.
3. Increase employee productivity
Did you know that 80% of workers feel their job is stressful? And 61% of employees feel burned out at their jobs (Forbes).
With statistics like these it’s no wonder that workplace stress is a primary concern of HR departments across the world.
Burned out employees are unfocused, unproductive, and submit poor quality work.
This makes it clear that providing proper support for employee well-being to avoid burnout is a necessary course of action for every business.
One of the best parts of hosting a team retreat is that bringing employees together and disrupting the everyday workplace monotony boosts morale.
Money isn’t your employees’ only motivator. Fostering a strong and positive corporate culture inspires employees to invest in themselves and their tasks by proxy.
Low morale is costly. It contributes to a negative work environment. Corporate retreats are one of the most common and easy solutions to reverse morale, keeping employees happier.
Retreats are ideal because they allow the company to give a physical experience to their employees to signify their gratitude for the hardwok employees put in. When employees feel valued and as though their managers genuinely care about and are grateful for them and not just the bottom line, it helps create a very positive work environment.
89% of workers at companies that support well-being initiatives are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work (Forbes), which means greater talent attraction and retention for startups. That makes support for employee well-being a top priority.
89% of workers at companies that support well-being initiatives are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work.
One of the best ways to support employee well-being is team building retreats.
When you host a team building offsite retreat you give your employees the chance to take time away from the stresses of work and give them a place to unwind and decompress while simultaneously being able to improve their professional development skills.
This release of stress allows employees to go back to work feeling refocused and reenergized which reignites their passion for work.
Hosting a corporate retreat also rewards employees and allows them to experience the gratitude you have for them and their work. This boosts overall energy in employees and drive.
People tend to pay more attention in a retreat setting, so this is also the perfect opportunity to remind and reinforce the company values within employees. This itself is a unifying exercise as it’s reminding everyone of the overall purpose and goals of the company while showing others how we can work together to meet those goals and values. This adds to increased motivations, communication and faster problem solving through cohesion.
Modern businesses know how invaluable retreats are as a tool to use in their mission of striving for success and offering a positive work environment for their teams.
With the newfound motivation gained from the retreat, employees feel ready to take on new challenges and tackle big projects.
4. Reignite employee passion
A major concern in corporations is their employees becoming overworked and feeling physically and emotionally burnt out. Without a proper work-life balance, employees can easily feel overwhelmed. Retreats can help to combat this at work by providing employees with an event that promotes rest and relaxation.
Team retreats are a great chance for you to remind employees of their why. By taking the time out of the workplace to energize your employees, you’re inspiring them to take action, maximize productivity, and create long-lasting results.
When employees are reminded of the greater organizational mission and how their work contributes to it within their team, incredible things can happen. The results of this are long-lasting.
Keeping employees inspired by giving them a break to work together in ways outside what they usually accomplish in the workplace is also a key to actively reducing burnout in your organization. One of the biggest things every company should be more concerned with is employees feeling overworked, adding to physical and emotional burnout.
Without a good work-life balance, it’s easy for employees to get overwhelmed. Retreats combat this by providing them with an opportunity to associate rest and relaxation with their coworkers so they can interact from a place of calm instead of stress and deadlines.
It’s important when picking a venue to ensure there’s ample space for both the training and relaxation time. The ideal corporate retreat is a blend of productivity and rest. If your team has a retreat on a regular basis (hopefully it does) it additionally gives employees something to look forward to and work toward.
5. Create opportunities for training
It's common to partake in multiple trainings, courses and workshops at a team retreat. The themes can range anywhere from leadership training, communication exercises, learning about an element of the business in-depth or even training staff on specific tasks they need to know if they're getting a promotion. The chosen activities will depend on the retreat's overall goal or theme. To simplify, the courses planned will help employees improve themselves and their work performance.
One option is to set up your retreat so that different courses are offered simultaneously, and employees choose the ones that will best benefit them or give each employee a list of the mandatory courses. This is a great way to encourage career and personal development.
6. Re-assess company priorities
Retreats are an excellent opportunity to look at the company's current priorities and determine if they're still relevant. Because all employees in the company (or from one team) are together, management can quickly get the employees' honest opinions and use these opinions to assess the priorities.
It's easy to present the revised priorities to the company after reevaluating them, as everyone played a part in the solidified company direction. Additionally, it keeps everyone on the same page, so all employees are aware of the company's direction and expectations.
7. Turn feedback into a gift
Corporate retreats allow teams to confront conflict head-on. Let all employees on the retreat know they're in a safe space and can use feedback as a tool for development rather than criticism. Team retreats help relieve the pressure and tension of the workplace.
This is largely due to the change of scenery and spending time outdoors in an atmosphere of less tension between team members than in the workplace. You need to take advantage of this low-stakes environment by practicing the more challenging aspects of feedback and leadership.
8. Identify strengths and weaknesses
A retreat is an excellent way for employees to discover new strengths and weaknesses and see the strengths and weaknesses of your team as a whole.
Many people have hidden talents and don't feel comfortable sharing them in the usual work environment. Getting out of the professional context allows them to flourish in a different way. Diverse activities create the perfect opportunity to let natural leadership capabilities shine.
On the flip side, managers can watch for where improvement is needed. This is more difficult in the workplace as you see people in the same environment daily, so things get missed due to repetition and familiarity. In a retreat setting, weaknesses can be inspected in a new light, pointing you towards solutions to address the issues.
Overall, putting employees in a new environment is especially beneficial to see your employees' true selves. You'll quickly identify the employees who are poised to be your company's leaders and isolate areas of improvement for others.
9. Bring out creativity
By taking employees into a new space and showing them (possibly) new experiences, their creativity is refreshed. The new experiences they face will inspire them to think more critically and even be better at collaboratively brainstorming as a group. Practicing creativity in a group is one way to improve team dynamics and reach new solutions that can't be discovered solo.
Your team will thrive on the opportunity to think outside the box and learn about new tools and frameworks to innovate the company's journey forwards.
A retreat setting puts everyone on a level playing field in a casual environment where the workplace barriers between managers and employees are removed.
This new dynamic can foster a more comfortable environment for open sharing of ideas and feedback. You can even schedule specific workshops or brainstorming sessions for your retreat to uncover the best ideas regarding the company and how those ideas can be implemented.
10. Communicate more effectively
If communicating with your team has recently been feeling like a game of telephone, a corporate retreat may be the solution. A new expectation of communication is formed on a retreat, allowing employees to improve this skill. You may find that after the retreat, employees communicate more frequently and clearly as they have a better understanding of the nuances of how each team member perceives information.
Your time spent in a corporate retreat effectively boils down to learning and understanding one another. If you focus on your team learning the different communication styles that work best for each personality type, your team will see its importance and be able to implement this new skill faster. Each employee will learn how to align themselves with each of the diverse individuals in the team and progressively communicate with each other more effectively based on each individual's preferred style.
How will I see the impact and ROI?
Although it seems counter-intuitive at first, team building retreats are a great investment to boost the performance of your startup team.
Engaging in activities together establishes trust and understanding between individuals that translates into rapport and frictionless collaboration. The easiest way to enhance corporate culture is by investing in relationships with the people that work within that culture. This way of fostering a sense of belonging in the workplace is critical for a productive and connected team.
To be well meshed, teams need to regularly take part in activities that allow them to actively collaborate with one another. This increases effectiveness and creates an overall positive work environment.
The logic is that if an employee feels like they're all on the same team and working towards the same goals, everyone will be more productive in the workplace and increase the likelihood of job satisfaction which adds to the sentiment of happiness in the workplace.
Corporate retreats are the best chance you can give your team to bond and create a sense of community at work.
In the end you’ll see your return on investment through enhanced company culture, better team performance, and increased employee productivity all of which will boost both your startup’s employee retention rate and overall triple bottom line.
Essentially, every benefit listed for hosting a team retreat for your employees will be noticeable to some extent. You may not realize it for awhile after the retreat but simple observations such as noticing an employee is more forthcoming with information and communicative, or the office’s atmosphere is more welcoming are telltale signs of an effective retreat.
When working with people to any extent, these small simple occurrences are signs of a much deeper positive change.
Here at Unicorn Labs we can help you and your team plan the best team retreat. With our years of experience we’ll find the best venue, activities and food to help your team reach the goals you set out for them. Take a look at our Retreats Page to learn more about what we offer.
If you want more insight into planning a team retreat, check out these resources: