Have you ever attended a team building event and felt confused about its purpose? Executive team building retreats can have significant benefits for your business and operations.
However, they don’t always deliver the desired outcomes. While retreats can help establish a positive work culture, enhance team dynamics and address concerns, they may not always lead to developing strategies, concepts or policies.
There are several reasons why some retreats fail to produce these benefits. Let’s go over them and how you can ensure yours makes a lasting impact.
Why Do Most Team Building Retreats Not Lead to Change?
Transformation and change are often the main goals of working retreats. This is particularly true for companies trying to innovate, improve their operations and maximize success.
In cases where a business has found a great flow in how they work, retreats can be a means of maintenance. You investigate how you can sustain your progress for the future.
Change is what many participants struggle with at retreats. Instead of leaving room for open conversations and different ways of engaging, executives may behave as they do in the office. Retreats can also become burdened by the same politics and issues they’re meant to resolve.
Executives may struggle over power or become passive recipients of the information presented. There can also be a lack of teamwork and collaboration in confronting and finding solutions to company concerns.
The result of this is unactionable resolutions and disjointed to-do lists. You can also end up with uninspired, repeated opinions and plans from the same people.
Meaningful Change Comes From More Than Just “Trust Falls”
To make the most out of executive retreats, thinking outside the box and encouraging creativity is important. Look for ways to engage participants and encourage active participation in team building activities and discussions.
Retreats should be a way to gain insight into your team’s mindset and emotional state. Learn how you can improve their experience and help them become better leaders by listening to their feedback and suggestions. While trust falls and other exercises can foster camaraderie, the more challenging conversations can yield the greatest benefits for your team.
To ensure a successful retreat, it’s best to plan personalized and intentional activities that cater to the needs and goals of your team.
5 Ways to Ensure You Go Beyond Fluff
How can you approach and structure your executive team building retreats in a fresh and innovative way? When planning yours, keep these five important factors in mind.
Provide Support to Your Executives
You want to establish the atmosphere before everybody arrives at the retreat. Try to get the executives involved in the accommodation, travel and other arrangements and cater to their needs. It’s important that they feel cared for and that you cultivate a positive energy towards the experience from the beginning.
In addition to arrangements, giving them a loose sense of what they can expect can make them feel less apprehensive about attending. You don’t necessarily have to give them a detailed, hourly schedule in advance, but you can brief them on talking points, themes and ideas they should keep in mind for the retreat.
Engage Participants as Active Facilitators
The name of the game for retreats is engagement. That should form the basis of most, if not all, of your team building workshops.
Engagement is never a one-way street. It requires the active involvement of all parties.
When your executives come and participate actively, they can contribute their ideas and thoughts. Feeling heard will also make them feel like they have a voice in your company strategy.
This means that as you design your retreat, try to ensure that information doesn’t just flow in one direction. Bring executives on as facilitators, speakers, workshop leaders and more.
It’s important to share new information and engage with others by creating opportunities for open dialogue, brainstorming and discussing strategies. Encouraging the exchange of thoughts and ideas is key.
You could, for example, form groups at the retreat and host debates on relevant issues as a way to promote critical analysis. Or, create a pitch contest, including role-playing and proposals of company strategies. This is a fantastic way to cultivate innovation while engaging participants.
Center Candid and Transparent Interactions
Flexibility will be vital, too, if you approach your retreat in a more open-platform way. A less rigid agenda gives executives the power to shape the conversation, which may encourage them to speak more frankly. Take this in your stride, remain open to criticisms and changes in the plan and use this fluidity as a marker for handling changes positively.
Of course, you can establish the rules of engagement by highlighting that all contributions must remain respectful, honest and constructive. However, you don’t want to be prescriptive or limiting, so try not to define what people can and cannot speak about.
Wellness and mental health play a huge role in successful working environments, healthy company ethos and overall performance. Prioritizing workplace wellness can lead to increased engagement and productivity, lower turnover and positive employee morale and satisfaction.
An executive team building retreat is a wonderful opportunity for you to introduce wellness, mindfulness and mental health awareness to your executives. As company leaders, they can implement new ways of thinking and behaving when working with their teams to cultivate a healthier working environment.
Consider activities like conflict resolution tasks, meditation, journaling, role-playing, storytelling and yoga. With these in hand, your executives can contribute more easily and creatively to the retreat. After it ends, they can integrate these tools into their management.
Develop Intentional Post-Retreat Plans
What happens at the executive team building retreat should not stay there. Establishing ways to link resolutions and strategies from the time away to daily office practices is important.
Encourage executives to provide feedback to their teams about the major areas covered during the retreat. This should include positive and negative points and can be a concise memo or feedback discussion.
Employees should know the direction the company wishes to take after the retreat. Leaders should inform their teams where there are changes to be made so that sudden transformations don’t take them aback.
After all, the best way to implement lasting change is to get your employees on board. As ‘middlemen,’ execs are pivotal to bridging the management-worker gap that can arise without change management.
How Do You Measure the Success of a Company Retreat?
To measure post-retreat success, you need to have gone into the retreat with clear goals for the time spent there. Having goals in place will allow you to measure their progress and the retreat’s impact later on.
You can match each goal with corresponding key performance indicators (KPIs). These indicators will help you track the progress of each goal post-retreat.
Another method of monitoring the success of your retreats is to have ongoing feedback sessions. Not only should you follow up with the execs that attended the retreat, but you should also gather feedback from other employees. This feedback will show you if the resolutions made at the retreat have filtered down to other employees in your organization.
Increase the ROI From Your Offsite With RallyBright
RallyBright ensures that executive team building retreats are productive and valuable. We strongly believe in the importance of these retreats and are committed to making them successful.
Our executive retreat solutions offer a comprehensive approach to help you achieve your retreat goals and more. By evaluating your team dynamics, we can identify strengths and improvement areas. Our platform provides insights and recommendations to enhance team performance and dynamics.
It’s designed to be used before, during and after the executive team building retreat. With RallyBright, you can expect excellent team building, strategic planning and workplace culture improvement results.
Let RallyBright bring your team closer together and request a demo today.