But, more often than not, the ideal company retreat is a misnomer. Just ask Wendy S. Goffe, an estate planning attorney from Seattle who opined about corporate retreat survival in a guest blog she wrote for Forbes.
In her post, Goffe calls spending a majority of a day listening to dull speakers drone on about your employer’s business “’hell in paradise.’” She cautions attendees not to overindulge, invariable to avoid vomiting on your boss or trying to kiss the otherwise office manager.
According to Tamar Alexia Fleishman, a Baltimore-based travel writer, there are several important matters an event planner should consider when planning a corporate retreat. They include:
- * Speakers, at least those who address the entire mass of attendees, should be able to address a wide range of audience members, as spouses and significant others of employees will likely be in attendance, as well
- * Offer nice (“useful”) giveaways. Phone chargers with the company logo are an excellent idea of meaningful swag
- * Ensuring meals will sate a wide variety of appetites, including vegetarian, gluten free and kosher
- * Checking that Wi-Fi, microphones and presentation technology such as PowerPoint works perfectly in all meeting rooms
- * Offering shuttle rides for events away from the main location of the retreat, especially if alcohol will be served at the venue
- * Informing spouses and other non-retreat attendees about alternate activities available in the area so their time is occupied during the program
In her blog post, Goffe labels breaks, meals and free-time as the “’most valuable activities’” because they allowed for attendees to network with one another. ‘”Done right, employees can return to their desks Monday morning, with renewed energy, motivation, and a new commitment and excitement for their jobs,’” she opines.
Determining the overall mission of the retreat, whether it is educating employees, encouraging colleague interaction or other goals is intrinsic to planning a successful program. Once that is determined, it is imperative that speakers, discussion panels and related events relate back to it to ensure the retreat’s mission is accomplished.