Marketing team retreats should be looked forward to, but teams often cringe at the thought. Here’s how to plan a great retreat.
Annual team retreats are a common practice in the business world, but many employees dread them. They are often created without taking the actual needs and desires of the team into consideration. Before you invest thousands into your next marketing team retreat, follow these key steps to ensure that your time and money are well spent.
Identify your goal: Why are you having a retreat? If you can’t answer that question, you’re not ready to plan the event. Some companies plan a retreat to focus on solving a specific business problem. Others have broader goals, such as creating closer relationships among team members or developing skills. Whatever your goals, make sure they are clearly defined before you start planning, and when it’s time, communicate them clearly to everyone who will be attending.
Choose the time and place wisely: Locking everyone in your biggest conference room and ordering pizza while the phones ring all afternoon is not a retreat. On the other hand, you don’t necessarily need a fancy destination in order to hold an effective marketing team retreat. Choose a day or week when work is slower, and plan the retreat well in advance so your employees can manage their workload accordingly. When it comes to the location, consider the needs of your team, such as whether you have employees who already commute a long way to get to work.
Invite the whole team: Often, remote workers and administrative staff are left out of team retreats. This creates tension among your team members, as well as overlooks the valuable insights they might contribute and inhibits their ability to connect and collaborate with the rest of the team. The solution is to create a retreat that can include your entire team if at all possible. If you have remote staff, work with them well in advance to coordinate dates and travel arrangements so they don’t feel like an afterthought. Administrative staff are often essential in the planning of a retreat, so don’t leave them out either. You might be surprised to see the potential they reveal once the retreat is under way.
Have some fun! Don’t underestimate the power of fun. During your retreat, create opportunities for team members to enjoy the time in a variety of ways. Use silly exercises to break up long periods of serious work, and allow for “recess” time. Some marketing leaders even take the whole team to an arcade or adventure park for an afternoon and set them free. Loosening up and having fun alongside your team can help strengthen relationships that make collaboration easier, and a little play time can take the edge off the more intense portions of your retreat agenda.
Following these four steps will help you create a marketing team retreat that your team will love and get you the results you’re looking for.