What to Know for a Successful Corporate Retreat or Team Building

Happy business man listening to a discussion in an office boardroom. Business professional sitting in a meeting with his colleagues.

Team building. It sometimes gets a bad wrap, but corporate retreats and other team building retreats can benefit the company in a variety of ways. It helps get team members out of the office and the daily grind, which can be a boost professionally and personally. It can promote creativity, morale, a positive work culture, and so much more. 

In this article, we will look at the benefits of corporate retreats and team building, an organized retreat vs. a do-it-yourself approach, and tips for a successful retreat. Let’s get to it!

Why Corporate Retreats or Team Building?

So, why should your company put on a corporate retreat or team building event? It may seem like a big price to pay out of pocket for a feel-good event, but there’s much more to it than that. 

In the long run, to avoid employee turnover, you need to invest in ways to promote culture and job satisfaction. The average cost of losing an employee is thousands of dollars with the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training. Not only that, but employee retention supports productivity and morale. Ever been at a company where the team members drop like flies? Nothing hurts morale more than seeing all your coworkers jump ship. (1)

Let’s look at all the ways corporate retreats or team building promotes job satisfaction:

  • Burnout and stress relief: One of the leading problems in the corporate world is burnout, or a state of emotional, mental, and/or physical exhaustion from excessive stress over time. One survey found 9 out of 10 employees were concerned about burnout. It has a host of side effects, all of which can impact job performance and satisfaction. Retreats can give employees a much needed rest, as well as teach ways to handle burnout and stress in the workplace. (2)
  • Creativity: It can be hard to think out of the box when you’re at the same desk or in the same room day after day. When your team needs to do a big brainstorm, a corporate retreat or off-site team building may be just what the doctor ordered. Changing up environments has been found to stimulate fresh ideas and new perspectives. (3)
  • Education and training: Many retreats provide educational seminars or trainings as part of the trip. Some of the topics covered may include conflict resolution, mental health awareness, relationship building, stress management, and work-life balance. Teaching valuable skills to employees can help them better manage stressful situations and deal with negative experiences with more resilience.  
  • Morale: Defined as the satisfaction, attitude, and overall outlook of employees during their association with your company, employee morale naturally fluctuates within a company. However, team buildings and corporate retreats can help support morale while also promoting key related areas, such as work culture. 
  • Rewards for hitting goals: Healthy competition and incentivization helps boost productivity and sales for a company. Having a goal to work towards can motivate your employees to put in extra hours, effort, and brain power, while also bonding together as a team. A corporate retreat or fun off-site team building can be great rewards for teams or individuals hitting goals. 
  • Work culture: Work culture does more for employee retention than most realize. Studies have discovered that a toxic working environment is 10 times more meaningful than compensation when a team member chooses to leave a company. If you want to keep employees, it’s important to promote a positive, respectful, and yes, fun, working environment. Team building can help foster good working relationships and culture. (4)

DIY Retreats vs. Organized Retreats 

Now that your company has decided to plan a retreat, you may be a bit lost at what to do next. Do you take it on yourself as a do-it-yourself (DIY) project? Do you find an organized retreat through a provider? 

Lots goes into planning and executing retreats. Coordinating schedules, flights, food and caterers, lodging, planned activities, transportation, and venue are just a few of the big ticket items to consider. 

Unless you plan on a short team building activity, planning a corporate retreat takes at least 2 to 4 months. To get certain venues and coordinate schedules with all your employees, it can often take longer than that. For example, international retreats require about double as much time planning ahead. 

The advantage of going through a retreat service is simply you no longer have to worry about it. A retreat provider has access to locations, lodging, caterers, activities, and more, and they plan and execute it all on your behalf. Some retreat providers also can customize a corporate retreat so it’s the right fit for you and your company. 

Also, keep in mind some retreat providers have trained professionals on site to educate on topics such as burnout, conflict resolution, and healthy work-life balance. These types of educational retreats are more difficult to set up yourself, versus through an organized group. 

The best rule of thumb when deciding this comes down to how large of a scale the retreat will be and if you currently have the time and resources to head it up on your own. 

8 Tips for a Successful Retreat

  1. Set the goal for the retreat. The very first step you should take once you decide to plan a retreat is to determine goals. Why are you having a retreat in the first place? To boost team member morale? To educate and train your team? To have a new environment to brainstorm quarterly objectives and strategies? You may even have a few reasons behind the planned team building or corporate retreat. But what’s important is setting that expectation in the beginning and communicating that across the decision makers in the company. This ensures you are all on the same page and you plan a retreat that best fits those needs. 
  1. Set a budget in advance. This is the next big thing to do before you can really move forward with planning. You must set a budget and get approval up the chain of command. Once you have this, you can determine the scale of the retreat and all that the company will pay for. If you bring a budget along with main goals to a retreat provider, they can take that information and hit the ground running. 
  1. Location. Sometimes you may just want to do a local team building, whereas other times you may want to travel across the globe to a tropical or exciting location. This again depends on goals and budget. If you have a specific location in mind, this helps narrow down retreat providers, or at least gives a provider specifics on what you’re looking to set up. Keep in mind location is a huge factor for pricing and travel time. 
  1. Work/play balance. Some corporate retreats may be mainly work trips, where during working hours you plan and work together on various projects. Other times, you may be putting the retreat on entirely for the personal enjoyment of your team members. Most companies want a balance between these two options. But it’s really up to the individual company to decide how much work and how much play fits their goals. 
  1. Team building activities. Right along with #4 is planning activities to build culture, morale, and teamwork. For example, you may plan a team rope course or interactive seminar. If you do plan on providing specific activities for the team, be sure to take into account interests of the group and any physical/mental limitations. 
  1. Consider different needs and restrictions. People have different allergies, dietary restrictions, preferences, and physical needs. Be sure to send out a survey to obtain this information beforehand. The last thing you want is a planned team building that not everyone can participate in, or a medical emergency or situation that could have been prevented. 
  1. Communication. Communicate, communicate, communicate! It’s beyond important to overcommunicate with all your team members so they can appropriately plan for the trip or excursion. Advanced notice on the dates is the top priority so they can put it in their calendars and avoid schedule conflicts. Some questions team members may have include dates/location, the purpose of the trip, the agenda, travel information, if anything needs to be prepared beforehand, and whether they will be expected to work during the retreat.
  1. Feedback. Once the retreat is over, the work isn’t quite done. If you plan on holding another retreat or team building, it’s smart to get feedback from the participants. You can ask about the location, length of the retreat, accommodations, activities, and so on to gauge if the trip was successful. At this point, you may also want to determine if you met your set goals and expectations planned in the very beginning. All of this helps you know what to do better (or repeat) for next time. 

Final Thoughts

Corporate retreats and team buildings can be a great relief and resource for team members, teams, and companies as a whole. 

As you plan the retreat, you may have a hard time ignoring the numbers and cost associated with the trip. However, remember all the benefits of retreats and team building activities. In the long run, investing in these types of events saves you money by keeping your team members happy and healthy. Not to mention the other benefits of promoting positive work culture, providing education on personal and professional life skills, and stimulating brainstorming and creativity. 

Planning a corporate retreat or team building excursion can seem intimidating and overwhelming. But it doesn’t need to be! If you plan far in advance, and set expectations and budget early on, the process will be much smoother for you. 

Fortunately, if you want some outside assistance, many retreat providers are out there to simplify the process. That way you can focus on your team members and their experience rather than caterers or itineraries. And, of course, so you can enjoy the trip as well!   

To learn more about how Nuvivy can help you organize your next amazing team building, corporate retreat, or educational seminar, reach out to us here. We can’t wait to get started!


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