The Value of Team Retreats

by Zach Montroy, SPHR

I’m asked frequently by leaders and owners of businesses what’s one of the best ways to invest in their team from a culture perspective? My answer – getting away from the daily grind for a team retreat, with this caveat; healthy cultures and team building is an ongoing process and has to be part of daily operations – it’s not a one and done kind of thing.

As a former operations leader who was ultimately responsible not only for people ops but also for the budget, I know that this can often translate to a big financial investment. My thought then and my thought now – it’s worth every single penny. If you lead a remote team or hybrid team (a combination of a brick and mortar site with remote team members) it’s even more critical to the overall success and cohesion of your team.

Deeper understanding

It’s critical when designing your team retreat that you leave space and dedicate time to activities that lead your team to understanding each other’s wiring at a deeper level. Whether its diving into personality styles, strengths, motivations or Emotional Intelligence; facilitating a robust and healthy discussion around one of these subject areas deepens the foundation of trust that your team members have for one another. When one team member understands how another gets stressed out, or their default mode of problem-solving, communicating or prioritizing action – you help build the skill of self-awareness and treating other people how they want to be treated (rather than the old M.O. of treating people how you want to be treated). Instant payoff – you equip your team to solve interpersonal problems and challenges and get to the ideal resolution on their own. Much research has been done surrounding the benefits of leveraging strengths and motivations rather than spending an inordinate time around improving weaknesses – investment in strengths & motivations pays dividends.

It’s transformational to a team to understand each other’s areas of strength and motivation, to understand at the core what intrinsically needs to be true of they work they’re a part of to be contributing their best. That understanding and subsequent filtering into the culture creates engaged workplaces. Retreats create the space for your team to get to know each other personally.

Cohesion is key

Spending time in collective learning and being together for an extended period of time builds cohesion, health and deeper understanding. This deeper understanding will help your team appreciate diversity, deal with and reduce conflict, improve communication skills, foster healthy debate, enhance teamwork, and ultimately increase sales skills by understanding how customers make buying decisions and reduce turnover.

Some people on your team need more human interaction and collaboration than others. Understanding and learning to appreciate the different styles of your team members will, in the long run, will make you a more effective team and a more profitable company. You will spend less time on the unnecessary spinning of your wheels when you’re able to gain the traction needed to move you forward, together.

Time to breathe

Peter Drucker said it best, we’re in the knowledge economy – most workplaces and most jobs require constant thought and action. We don’t “turn off” thinking about our jobs when we leave work, and for the remote worker their commute is 15 seconds from their kitchen to home office – resulting in zero time to decompress from work to home. Retreats give you a collective breath, it’s different from being on vacation, knowing you’re going to come back to a full inbox and Slack. Your entire team is away, collectively engaging in rest, engaging in relationship with one another.

The Return on Investment

This stuff isn’t fluff – be willing to make a real investment. A great team retreat has the potential to transform and renew both your company and employees. This investment has the potential to enhance trust, boost chemistry, appreciation between teammates, and more effective communication which leads to a workplace marked by increased productivity. Cohesive teams have less turnover and generate more profitability as a whole than their competitors.

Next Steps

At The Intention Collective, we help build healthier, more engaged, more human-focused workplaces. We love helping teams discover their unique styles and put them on a path towards greater understanding, engagement, and profitability. We can help you design a custom retreat experience to help your team grow into more effective, happier, healthier and engaged humans and give you the skills to carry that work out into your culture in the day to day. 

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