When I think of corporate retreats, images of adults acting like kids at summer camp, cocktail hour gossip, and company softball games stream to mind. For many, this is the same conception of corporate retreats that have been crafted from movies and passed around by employee stories. The new wave of corporate retreats seems to differ, but the topic still remains controversial. Are these getaways truly worth the money and time? Who has the final say and whose opinion can you trust? The numbers and human nature.
According to Maritz Travel Company, there was a 30% increase in corporate incentive programs in 2016 alone. More and more businesses are realizing the benefits of these getaways and with hotels also vouching for this trend, companies are jumping on the corporate retreat train with zealous glee. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants report roughly half of their corporate business involves retreats, and Hilton Worldwide is seeing double-digit increases in corporate retreat funds. Since these retreats are leading to increased financial profits as well as improving work environments, it makes more sense to devote time to these getaways as opposed to pushing employees toward their breaking points without reward.
So take a break that actually benefits your business and plan a getaway. But don’t just do it because you have been told that everyone else is; do it because IT WORKS. As social beings, there’s a good chance many of your employees will jump at the opportunity to mold new relationships, especially if it could lead to a promotion down the road. Particularly with millennials, employees are increasingly feeling the need to be included and build relationships with coworkers and especially their C-Suite executives. And while networking is helpful for your employees, it is also beneficial for your company. These new links in your business network can help traffic new ideas and information that can increase efficiency and quality of work. A corporate retreat can create a more hospitable nature in the office that ultimately may prompt team members to feel more comfortable asking for help because, face it, when was the last time you asked a stranger a question? No more wasted days of work because an employee sat staring at a problem they didn’t know how to fix just because they were too proud or nervous to ask a question.
For instance, think about your favorite sports team: one all-star player can’t single handedly win every game just as Cristiano Ronaldo can’t beat an entire team on his own. Your company needs to share the field and accomplish a win together by passing the ball to every player to give them a chance at making a goal. It’s time for employees to put aside their titles and work as a team towards bettering the company. Like the age-old saying goes, there is no “I” in team.
Engaging your employees with a retreat may also happen to increase their loyalty to your business since they often become more integrated into the company atmosphere throughout their time spent away. Though not our most admirable quality as humans, people are much more likely to provide quality work for people they know over people they don’t know so it’s important to foster a communal environment in the office in order to get peers working towards success together. Soon enough your company will start working like a well-oiled machine and these company getaways will become an essential part of its functionality.
But not just any retreat can bring about these benefits. Like any good fashionista might tell you, every outfit has many components that have to be considered in order to create the perfect outfit as a whole. Companies must also think about all components as a whole to design the best trip for their specific needs. Location, activities, food, goals, fun? It all depends on what it is you want out of the retreat! Nature focused trips can improve performance and provide an isolated environment far from any cubicle. The tasks and experiences must also differentiate from a conference call while being inclusive since undoubtedly not everyone will want to fish or hike. The point of this new environment is to foster creativity and innovation to help your business, so make sure the trip is not just all fun and games but also includes discussions of work-related problems and ideas.
All in all, maybe a summer camp for adults isn’t such a bad thing in the end. If we had fun as kids, who’s to say we won’t have fun as adults? Yes we have more responsibilities, a family, friends, pets, and bills to pay; but if companies don’t offer their employees a break from the grind now then worse things could happen down the road. It’s time to pick up the books and make room in the budget for the betterment of your employees and your business with a company retreat. As Plato once wisely said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”. And as I have been told my whole life, the more you know, the better.