How to Host a Successful Team-building Retreat

team building retreat

Company team-building retreats are crucial because they help employees to connect.  It allows them to solve challenges together and improve their coordination and leadership skills.  Planning a successful company retreat can be a huge challenge.

Still, many employers have introduced new team-building activities in the companies, thus making it memorable, productive, and, most importantly, fun.

This article discusses how you can host a successful team-building retreat and 10+ retreat ideas that can help your team grow, learn, and develop.

What is a Team Building Retreat?

As the name suggests, it’s an event that brings together the entire company or specific teams away from the work environment for a few days.  A retreat takes your team away from their usual work environment.  It brings them together and allows them to talk business, socialize and have fun.

The majority of these corporate retreats last a few days.  They also involve some bit of traveling away from the office.  The team may stay in a hotel or a rented house and engages in scheduled activities that include work, play, and dining.

A team-building retreat is a great idea because it helps team members get to know each other on a deeper level than they do when in the office.  It also strengthens their bonds.  A team-building retreat that brings together people from different departments helps these coworkers to connect in a way they don’t when in the offices.  For instance, a remote team may meet for the first time in a team-building retreat.

Other than relaxing, a team-building retreat gives coworkers the opportunity to discuss big plans.  The event can be a great opportunity to discuss and plan the design of a new product, discuss challenges that team members experience in the office, or brainstorm fresh ideas.

To the employer, these retreats can help you bring new enthusiasm to what the company does or find the breakthrough to lead the company in a new direction.  You can plan a successful corporate retreat in the following ways.

How to Plan a Team Building Retreat

Now that you know what team building is and its importance, the next step is to plan an effective retreat for your employees.

Here is how you can get started.

1.    Set a Goal

What do you want to achieve with this retreat?  The answer to this question determines the budget, agenda, location, and other finer details.  For instance, if the management wants to explore a new direction, you can use the retreat to brainstorm ideas.

Because of that, you can plan a hackathon, allocate the scheduled meetings plenty of time and provide an opportunity where teams from different departments can discuss challenges and ideas.

If you want to develop your company or cross-department teamwork during the team-building retreat, you can plan more fun activities.  Some of the activities you can include during the retreat are icebreaker games, escape rooms, indoor rock climbing group challenges, as well as opportunities for individuals to dine, talk or enjoy a new task together.

2.    Create a Budget

Definitely, a team-building retreat is a high cost to the company’s profits, and that is why you need to come up with a budget, understand it, and proceed to plan the corporate event.  After finalizing the budget, you can break it down into several areas such as the transport cost, accommodations, catering, speakers, activities, tour guides, and much more.

Indeed corporate retreats are costly, especially when your team works remotely or is located across the world.  Hosting a retreat for the entire company can also be expensive; however, you can split your workforce into teams or according to their departments.

If you are working is a smaller budget, you can host the retreat closer to your office or squeeze the activities into fewer days.  Also, your budget should be 5%-10% higher than the actual budget in order to take care of any emergency or something that might come up at the last minute.

Further, in case you don’t use the extra funds during the retreat, you can use it for professional development or something fun when you return to the office.

3.    Pick the Date and Location

Now the budget is ready, the next step is to pick the date and location when the retreat will happen.  The step involves considering different locations, venues, accommodations, etc. you can search for the highest-rated locations, check reviews, and ask for referrals from your network.  It’s advisable not to settle on a specific location before checking travel requirements or even potential challenges linked to this venue.

Most corporate retreat lasts 4-5 days.  So if it started on Monday, it ends most likely on Friday.  So the team is expected to leave the venue that Friday or Saturday.  In some organizations, the team is allowed to extend their trip with their vacation leave.  In others, employees are required to head home to spend the weekend with family after being away for an entire week.

The company may give remote and international teams an extra day to travel from the retreat location to their homes and vice versa.   This will avoid disrupting your team-building plan and resumption of work the following week.  Also, your team will not get discouraged because they gave up their weekend to travel.

4.    Send Invitation to the Team

You can now start spreading the word about the planned team-building retreat because, at this stage, you have the budget, date, and location.  Digital invitations are the best because they’re more eco-friendly and efficient.  Also, you can track it and manage RSVPs.

Further, the digital invitation option allows you to send a lot of useful information, such as a link to a Slack channel or shared drive where team members can discuss the retreat.

5.    Set the Agenda

A corporate retreat should have an agenda and team-building activities.  The agenda should have a schedule with a good mixture of fun and business activities.  A retreat should give your team a good time and help them build better bonds.  Still, some work activities should be included as well.  In some instances, the best ideas come from company retreat because it allows employees to brainstorm and share ideas.

Some of the activities you can include in your corporate retreat are:

  • Meetings and seminars
  • Shred dining experiences
  • Training sessions
  • Product challenges
  • Outdoor activities
  • Team challenges
  • Fun evening activities

Since each organization is different, the planners should try to build their agenda around the needs of their teams and goals.  Each attendee should have a structure that shows each day’s activities and meetings.  It should have time for refreshment and to unwind between seminars and meetings.

6.    Pre-retreat Arrangements

An effective team-building retreat is inclusive.  Thus it’s important to check with all the attendees whether they’re all prepared.  You can confirm their travel arrangements and enquire if any of them needs any assistance from their home to the point where all members meet to start the journey to the retreat location.  Whenever possible, you can accord your team some freedom, such as allowing them to pick their flight schedule as long as they arrive at the venue on time.

Once finer details have been confirmed, you can share the agenda with your team.  You can establish a dedicated conversation around the upcoming team-building retreat.  People can check for updates about this corporate event and ask questions or raise concerns about the event.

7.    During the Retreat

You have really worked hard to prepare for this retreat, but the day has finally come.  Now make this event unique, engaging, and memorable for everyone.  Coordinate all activities during the event and, if possible, hire a facilitator so that you can also have a great retreat experience.

Your team can have an unforgettable experience when all of its members are involved in planning and hosting the retreat.  They will enjoy the activities that they were involved in picking.  You can also use the initial part of the retreat to welcome newcomers and introduce other team members.

8.    After the Retreat

You can celebrate that your corporate retreat has successfully come to an end, but it’s important to gather some useful information about it using a survey.  The insight can help you plan another team-building retreat the following year.

When you send your team members a digital thank you note, you can request them to fill in a survey detailing their experience.  Ask them to suggest what they would like to have during the next retreat.

10+ Retreat Ideas for Your Team

·         Icebreaker Games 

The goal is to loosen up the atmosphere, introduce new hires to your team as well as set the stage for other complex activities.

·         Strategic Team Building Team Activities

Some people think of them as icebreakers, but they aim at fostering a shared team identity.  Indeed the activities look into how your workers view your business and what shapes their opinions.

·         Problem-solving Activities

The activities help people to work together productively.  However, like the real office, it’s no walk in the park.  Team members must get out of their comfort zones, work on a common goal, and make decisions.  Some problem-solving activities need little logistics and time, while others require more elaborate and extended states of focus.

·         Teamwork Activities

All healthy teams have traits such as balance, communication, and trust.  Indeed the team’s value is vital compared to the sum of all team members.

·         Creative Teamwork Activities

In each team, there lies a dormant and undisturbed creator.  Team builder activities try to awaken this spirit, for it depends on improvisation and solving issues as they come.

Barter Puzzle: The team building activities train your employees some skills like negotiation, problem-solving, and strategy, as well as test their leadership and communication skills.  The 10-2 participants spend 15 minutes to 1 hour playing jigsaw puzzles.  The team learns how to work together because they need complete agreement before deciding.  They also allow discussions, communication and accommodate diverse strategies.

Blind Drawing: The activity is perfect for small groups.  The main objective of this activity is to help the team develop interpretation, communication, and leadership skills.  Some of the tools include paper, pen, and pictures.  It also takes 10 to 15 minutes to play the game and needs 2 participants.

Blindfold Challenge: The game helps your team build trust, collaboration, and active communication among its members.  The 5-20 participants take 30-45 minutes to play the blindfold challenge.  They need tools like blindfolds, a basket, blunt objects such as shoes, index cards, water bottles, paper cups, etc.  In this game, your team members learn to be more creative, force themselves to work together and think on their feet.  The goal is to build clear and precise communication between themselves.

Frostbite: Your team can build trust among its members and test communication and leadership when engaging in this activity.  The 4-5 participants spend 45 minutes playing this outdoor activity.  They need materials like two-person tents or thick cardboard boxes, staplers, tape, and blindfolds.  The winning team has complete faith in their leader.  This Frostbite teaches employees to trust their leader and implement their recommendations.  It also helps managers direct with authority, especially when they earn their team’s confidence and trust.

Memory Wall: The team-building game makes every team member feel appreciated and recognized.  The 10-30 participants take 60-90 minutes to play.  They need sheets of paper, markers/pens, and tape.  Memory Wall brings back happy and positive memories that the team shared in the past while working in your company.  Therefore the visual memory wall reestablishes good relationships among employees.

Mystery Dinner: Your team can get out of their comfort zone as well as work as a team with new hires.  The objective of this team is to meet new people and work with people from other departments.  The ultimate goal is to help employees work with diverse people they hadn’t met before.  For that reason, the evening is filled with free food and laughter.  The game takes 8-10 participants and lasts for 1-2 hours.

Minefield: The game focuses on developing active listening and communication.  Among team members.  10-14 participants spend 20-30 minutes playing with different soft objects with rough edges, such as balloons, cups and soft toys, and a few blindfolds.  Members with blinds can’t talk, so they rely on others.  As a result, they put their confidence and trust in their partners.  Also, people not open to collaboration can benefit a lot from the game.  In the end, your team increases concentration and is helped on how to pay more attention.

Office Trivia: The game helps employees to know each other well.  It also improves engagement and helps them to bond.  The team can take 30-60 minutes to respond to the trivia questions.  In the end, the entire team will have enhanced communication and cohesion, as well as foster friendly company culture.

Perfect Square: The game test leadership skills and the ability to make decisions with a consensus.  The 5-8 participants take 15 minutes and need blindfolds and rope.  The winning team has skills like outstanding leadership, planning, and communication.

Shark Tank: The game mocks the famous entrepreneurial TV show by its name.  The goal is to test the unity and entrepreneur skills members of the team have.  Some members play the role of business founders, while others are investors.  The founders have to pitch to investors to get funding.  Nearly 24 people can engage in this game and complete it within 90 minutes.  A whiteboard and markers can assist them when pitching their business idea.  The game promotes leadership qualities, entrepreneurship, builds confidence, innovative thinking, improves collaboration, teamwork, etc.

Scavenger Hunt: The game helps your employees with team bonding.  It builds a sense of teamwork among employees, problem-solving, and strategizing.  8-2 participants spend more than 1 hour using mobile phones, paper, and pens.  With Scavenger hunts, people get to interact and collaborate as well as think outside the box.