When The Office’s Michael Scott wanted his Dunder Mifflin team to bond, he took them to the lake and away from the office, a place where corporate retreats transform employees into team members.
If your company is experiencing a lackluster atmosphere and culture, it’s time to take your people away. But you need to figure out how to get them there.
Corporate Retreats: Go Somewhere
Corporate retreats take time and effort. Most likely, executives see the work that goes into a corporate retreat and then dismisses the idea altogether. After all, recent studies found that four in five companies do not hold annual business retreats.
Do not just settle on splurging on donuts and coffee at the weekly staff meeting. You may think you’re doing your staff a favor, but if you really want to see your business go, plan a corporate retreat.
The daily doldrums of work will wear employees down, eroding morale. Myopia begins to take over, and your staff begins to look at their jobs as a series of tasks rather than an overall mission for your customers.
You need to refocus.
But often, you cannot gain the type of focus you need with the phones still ringing in the background. So a corporate retreat off-site will allow your staff to refocus on the true mission of the business.
Employees who enjoy each other can work together with a common purpose. But if their only interaction takes place at the copy machine or in the break room, they will not truly bond. They need a common experience.
An off-site retreat with team-building exercises will give your team common problems to solve and allow them to bond. The more time they spend together, the better they can bond.
You may think the cost-of-living raise you give employees shows them you value them. But to truly show them how you care, take them on a trip. Give them a retreat in a fabulous, relaxing location where they can spend time bonding and enjoying a beautiful venue.
When your team experiences success, they rarely have the chance to celebrate because they’re focusing on the next win. A retreat away from the hum of the office will give them a chance to reflect and celebrate, motivating them to continue to work together.
All four of these things, refocusing, encouraging bonding, valuing employees, and reflecting, takes place when you escape the office. Even an afternoon inservice does not do the job.
But if you have a limited budget or a couple of hundred employees, how do you get your team to the necessary exotic location? You have options.
1. Charter Bus
If you plan on staying domestic and stateside, then consider hiring a charter bus to get you to your location.
On the positive side, your entire team will be in one location, and you’ll be paying for the bus service and not for individual seats. You will also arrive sooner than if you had individual cars because of the in-house bathroom facilities.
Plus, you’ll have a driver, so no single person should arrive feeling depleted from driving to the location. Your entire team will arrive refreshed and relaxed, and already bonded from the bus ride experience.
Charter buses are not the school busses you experienced in your childhood. they have luxury options and amenities. Those of your team members that grew up riding the bus will have their own ways of entertaining themselves in close quarters, and they’ll teach others their tricks as well. The bus ride alone can stir up nostalgic thoughts from bus trips of the past.
You may even find a transportation company that offers a variety of charter options like luxury busses or even stretch SUV limos.
On the downside, a bus will take longer than a plane ride, and anyone subject to motion sickness may find themselves in need of some motion-sickness meds.
2. Individual Cars
If you have a company fleet of cars and cannot afford a bus, then use the fleet. You can still pile your team members in the cars, and you’ll save money by using your own cars.
Your team will also have the opportunity to bond one small group at a time by riding with the people they enjoy and get some space from the guy across the cube that drives them crazy.
Cars have the flexibility to get to more remote locations. For the most part, a car or small SUV can drive anywhere in the continental United States, places where a big bus cannot go. Sharp corners and windy roads are no match for a basic car.
So if you’re looking for a more remote location, individual cars may work well for you.
If you’d like to save some money and stress, consider looking for package deals. Some retreat centers will offer package deals that include transfers, excursions, catering, and facilities. You will not have to plan the specifics or making nit-picky details like if you should have chicken or pork.
On the downside, packages limit your options. If you had a specific idea in mind for team building on the way up or for meals, you are at the mercy of the company offering the package.
4. Use a Travel Company
If you have a large team of two-hundred people, you will have to deal with the headache of booking transportation plans in bulk. In particular, if you plan on flying, you should consider using a travel company. They can book multiple tickets at once for you and also give you more options for remote locations.
Exotic locations are becoming the trend among corporations once again. Companies are looking for vacations or locations that individuals could not normally visit.
In particular, if you plan on hiring millennials, you need to dangle this carrot, the positive side of business travel. So you need to treat travel as a perk and find ways to use it both as a benefit for your employees and your company.
Fuel Up and Find Success
If you want to truly show your employees you care about them, and if you want to see your business grow, take your employees on killer corporate retreats. Make their travel arrangements, and see the bonding begin.
For more great articles that will make your business better, check out the rest of our blog.