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How to Plan Your Next Corporate Retreat

Corporate Retreat

Sometimes the best way to get together is to go away. When you take your team out of the office and on a retreat, or even hold an event during the holiday season, it provides an opportunity to do more than just reset on your company goals. It’s a chance to reconnect and realign as a team.

The key to the success of a company retreat or holiday event is in the planning process. Here are 5 ways to set your team up for success.

1. Have (and Share) Clear Goals

A retreat should not be a single, day-long lecture but a structured series of interactive opportunities. You should enter into it with goals that are constructive and actionable. The same goes for hosting an event during the holidays – you want to have a reason to bring everyone together in one space that is fun, yet productive.

When you have your goals, work backwards in designing topics for discussion and interaction opportunities by considering:

  • What information does the team need to accomplish these goals?
  • What information is known and what information is to be discovered?
  • What skills does the team need to accomplish these goals? How do you acquire those skills?
  • What tools will be needed to successfully achieve those goals?
  • What changes in the organization may be needed?
  • What effect will goal achievement have on the rest of the company?

Takeaway 1: You’re not going to solve everything at your event, but you can start the process.

2. Choose a Perfect Partner

You can plan a perfect event on paper but you’ll need the right partner to keep that perfection alive. When choosing a location for your company retreat or deciding where your next holiday gathering will take place, you’ll want to consider:

  • Where is the location? Is it easy to access? Will you be able to plan accessible, off-site events?
  • What’s the space situation? Will your team have room to spread out and work? Are there an appropriate number of meeting and breakout rooms?
  • Who is responsible for feeding the team? Is there on-site catering or will you need to bring in your own food and drinks?
  • When you have logistical or technical needs, is there someone onsite to help?

Takeaway 2: According to the Harvard Business Review, in-person communication can be 3-4x MORE effective than virtual communication

3. Pre-Game

The importance of retreat or holiday planning can not be overstated. You can break your preparation need done into three categories

A. Physical

What are the material objects you will need for the event to run smoothly – pens, notepads, Internet access, projector, whiteboard, large paper notepads, food? Once you know WHAT you need, you have to figure out where it’s coming from. What’s your responsibility and what can your hosting partner provide? Your location may be able to supply what you need but you shouldn’t assume it can be produced at a moment’s notice.

B. Mental

Prepare your materials. Practice your delivery. Make sure you have a clear vision of the day by creating an agenda.

One common mistake planners make is in trying to have the day do too much. Your company event should not be held to a single-day but the start of a sort of “new phase” of the organization. To that end, when appropriate, there should be actionable take-aways that can be worked on, and goals that can be worked toward, in the days after the event.

C. Participant

Share the agenda with your team so that they can come prepared. This helps keep the day moving but, more importantly, helps everyone feel like they can participate and can prepare to do so.

Takeaway 3: Pre-planning and effective communication before the event can save you headaches the day of the retreat, especially if it’s during the holiday season

4. Be Flexible

Yes, we said having an agenda is important but it’s just as important to know when to readjust your plans.

You don’t want to cut off a strong, free flowing mission-critical discussion just because the agenda says it’s time for a team-building exercise. Or, if a morning segment brings up a discussion around a topic that’s planned for the afternoon, it might make sense to get into that topic in that moment.

Takeaway 4: Achieving the predefined goals for the event is more important than strictly following the agenda

5. Plan an Experience

A big part of a company retreat is getting time with a team outside of the office. Even if it happens to be an event taking place during the holidays, Hotel LeVeque in Columbus has a number of great opportunities for team interactions for all seasons of the year.

  • One of the hardest things about choosing an off-site activity is finding something that appeals to everyone. So why not do something that has a little bit of everything like booking a city-wide scavenger hunt! Teams can take off across the city, discover some Columbus secrets, and enjoy a friendly competition.
  • The Short North is full of great shopping and dining AND if you time it correctly you can participate in the monthly gallery hop.
  • The Columbus Museum of Art features a stunning collection of permanent and special exhibits and events throughout the year.
  • Franklin Park and Conservatory is filled with experiential opportunities for individuals and teams. You can walk amongst the flora, fauna, and glass exhibits; hear live music; visit local vendors; or take a class.
  • Take a trip down the Columbus Ale Trail. With over 30(!) participating local brewers, you’re sure to find your new favorite brew while enjoying tasty snacks and some local history too (and even some arcade games).

Takeaway 5: As the 14th largest city in the United States, Columbus has a spectrum of activities available for all active event participants

The Ideal Event Partner

Hotel LeVeque makes it easy to be successful in your event planning. Whether it’s right before or after a major holiday, or your annual summer retreat,  there are three event spaces plus breakout rooms, on-site dining options, and a centralized location that makes the LeVeque uniquely suited to host teams of varying sizes.

Discover how the LeVeque can help you create a wonderful event that can boost your organization.

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