How to Organize a Successful Business Retreat

Many companies hold occasional business retreats for their staff. However, unlike staff outings which are all about fun and relaxation, business retreats are meant for formal deliberations aimed at helping the company achieve its mission and vision. However, this does not mean that business retreats should not have some time set aside for unwinding.

Here are some tips which will help you organize a successful business retreat:

1. Objective

The first step to organizing a successful business retreat is having a clear objective. What is the purpose of the retreat? Is it to discuss the current rebranding process? Or is it to reevaluate the company’s hiring policy? Once the objective is clarified, it is then easier to proceed with the planning process

2. Committee

If you try to organize a business retreat by yourself, you are likely to get overwhelmed. It would therefore be advisable to involve a few other colleagues in the planning process. To make work easier, assign different roles to different committee members. For instance, one person could be in charge of communication, while another could handle transport arrangements. Give every committee member the freedom to be creative in their roles.

3. Budget

Business retreats usually involve expenses such as travel, accommodation and meals. Therefore, the assigned budget will have a major implication on the planning process. Be realistic and avoid spending more than you can afford. Start planning early so as to find options which will fit your budget and satisfy participants

4. Participants

From the onset, you need to have an idea of the number of people that will attend the retreat. The target audience should be informed well in advance so that they can prepare. Similarly, the people who might be left in the office should be informed early to avoid disgruntlement

5. Agenda

Once the objective is clear and participants have been identified, you should then come up with a proper agenda. This is an elaborate plan of what will be done at the retreat. The agenda should be prepared in consultation with the site manager of the venue. Find out if all the resources required for your activities are available. If not, you might have to look for a different location or alter your agenda altogether.  

6. Feedback

At the end of the retreat, it is very important to gather feedback from participants. You can use tools such as questionnaires for this purpose. This feedback will give you an idea of what went right and what can be improved for future retreats. In addition, following up is also very important. Take time to follow up on all the suggestions and ideas that were presented at the retreat. If possible, set a date for a follow up meeting before dispersing from the retreat

A well planned business retreat will enhance relationships among staff and help a company reach its goals. On the other hand, a poorly planned retreat is likely to disrupt relationships and even result in losses for the company. It is therefore very important to invest significant time and effort in planning for business retreats.

Image: Ted Eytan