A Look Inside Our Corporate Retreat Checklist
Most recently, we developed a corporate retreat checklist to help meeting and event specialists better organize their corporate outings. As most of you already know, corporate retreats can be one of the best ways to encourage employee interaction, reward employees, better align goals and objectives, hire and recruit professionals, and build skills. Unfortunately, they can be overwhelming and tiresome for those involved in the planning. If you don’t do it right, then it can result in a huge morale kill. We’re here to help prevent that from happening.
Cedar Creek’s corporate retreat checklist is designed to provide clarity and organization in your planning efforts, from determining success criteria to identifying speakers to arranging outdoor activities. Not only will this corporate retreat checklist help you plan, but it will keep you focused as it’s happening.
Now, let’s take a look inside!
Your corporate retreat is nothing without the people, right? The “who” includes your attendees, speakers, facilitators, caterers, and equipment providers and operators. In the checklist, you’ll see that we explore each of these categories in depth. For example, is your equipment provider going to be your in-house IT staff, a meeting planner, a contractor, or the retreat facility itself?
Two of the biggest things to keep in mind include: involve people in the discussion instead of talking at them and make your speakers earn their money.
Talking at people for hours on end never works. And if you make it to Q&A without half of the room sleeping, then we’re sure that the engagement won’t be too high. Try taking all of your information that’s up for discussion and turning it into videos or presentations that people can watch on the plane. You can use all of the time you save to talk about that content. Remember, corporate retreats should be a working session, not an opportunity for executives to prove what a great year it’s been.
Guest speakers can also be tricky to handle. A lot in the industry have plenty of opinions on how much you should pay for a speaker. However, this is an instance when you get what you pay for. An expensive headliner is proof that the company is on the cutting edge of authoritative information, and it’s also part of the retreat that’s guaranteed to get positive results.
The second most important part of the retreat revolves around the “what”? This is the content of the retreat – the goals, success criteria, icebreakers, indoor and outdoor activities and activity outcomes. Is the goal of your corporate retreat to motivate staff or evaluate goals for the New Year?
Out of any of these content-driven layers, icebreakers can set the tone for what to expect, whether it’s thought-provoking arguments or outdoor activities. At Cedar Creek, we guarantee that you won’t fall short of fun, engaging icebreakers. We have plenty of outdoor activities like golf, nature trails, a confidence course, and more.
One of our favorite icebreakers is the human knot. It’s the get-out-of-your-seat-work-together type of icebreaker. Start by breaking your group out into subgroups of ten. Then, tell these subgroups to form a circle, reach both hands in the middle, and join hands with someone else. From this point, the group must work together to untie the knot without letting go of any hands. The result is often a laughter-induced mess, as members of the group crawl under each other or step over arms. The combination of teamwork, problem solving, and laughter is all a result of a memorable and effective icebreaker.
The “when” is pretty straightforward and typically depends on the benefits and drawbacks of each season. Though, this section is less important if you’re traveling to a place where all four seasons are non-existent.
Cool weather seasons open the door to explore of business issues relating to recovery, resourcefulness, heading in a new direction, and getting back on track, namely due to the survival nature that cooler seasons bring. For example, there is no shortage of activities that can flesh out a winter themed retreat. Bring your team to Steamboat Springs, Colorado to enjoy skiing, hot springs, and horseback riding.
Warm weather retreats are our personal favorite, especially if you can plan on a time of year when the air outside is perfect. A summer retreat doesn’t have to be a multi-bedroom lake house. If you’re on a budget, you can find several places – Cedar Creek – that offer tiny, pre-fabricated cabins that won’t bust your budget.
You’ve made it this far, but have you decided on where your corporate retreat will be held? When it comes to indoor spaces, you might choose between conference rooms, ballrooms, party or event facilities, a team-building center, or overnight facility. For instance, you might be traveling and decide to have the business activities take place where you’ll be staying, like a hotel or conference center. Cedar Creek offers plenty of lodging options with meeting and conference rooms to pair.
Looking for spaces in the outdoors? How about an amusement park, spa, garden, or golf course? There are many outdoor spaces that offer comfortable facilities, picturesque grounds, and transformational experiences for all groups.
How many times a year should your company have a retreat and how long should they be? Most corporations might have a retreat up to twice a year, but they might include people in different positions across the company? We suggest defining the goals you want to achieve and your budget before planning too far ahead. This step could influence what isn’t and is necessary. The length of the retreat completely depends on how much you want to accomplish. Is it going to take a weekend or longer? Again, look at your goals and make a judgment call.