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Organising A Successful Corporate Retreat

At the end of every year, most organisations  put together retreat sessions for their management and staff to review the year and reposition for the coming year while in some other organisations it is nothing but an annual ritual without clear goals and objectives.

The purpose of organizing a retreat might differ from organisations based on their needs and reality, understanding the nitty-gritty of organizing a successful retreat is important so that it achieves its desired result.

With the right guidance, you can ease through your next retreat with the understanding of goal setting, delegation, participant selection and agenda setting.

Here are 7 quick steps needed to plan your next retreat:

  1. Set the goal of the retreat

First step to achieving a successful retreat is to view your retreat through the lens of a project, which is temporary, time-bound, and desired outcome/goal. Management should be clear on what type of retreat is been put together, is it a strategic planning retreat, team development retreat or both? The goal of the retreat should align with the current thinking of the organization. A clear goal provides motivation, focus attention, serve as a basis for managing performance, and evaluating change and impact of the retreat

2. Identify the required resource

A project is only as successful as the resources committed; in this case, we are talking about human resources. When selecting people who are responsible for the success of the retreat, organisations should accurately identify the team with the required skill sets and assign them tasks that are well suited to their abilities. Where necessary, the organisation may engage the service of a consulting firm with relevant record of accomplishment.

3. Determine the audience

When planning a retreat and deciding who should attend, it is imperative to determine the relevant people who will add value to the goal of the retreat. For example, a strategy development retreat doesn’t necessarily require the mandatory participation of an entry officer because he/she does not possess the required experience and skillset to deliver value to the conversation but he/she could be considered for a role in the implementation of the strategic plan.

4. Determine the location

The general rule of thumb while deciding where the retreat should take place is that offsite is better. The whole essence of a retreat is to pull back from the norm. Different factors to consider when planning a retreat are: how far it is from your workplace, are participants expected to travel? Are they sleeping overnight? Are they going to share rooms while sleeping overnight?

While the length of retreats are mainly dependent on the purpose of the retreat, it can range from 1 day to a week or even longer.

5. Determine the agenda

After deciding on who, where and length of the retreat, the agenda of the retreat should be ruminated upon. Organisations should try not to make the agenda too ambiguous and also not too scanty that it doesn’t meet the goals of the retreat. A day retreat that is meant to cover many grounds might become overwhelming for the participants which may make them feel tired at the end of the retreat. Also, your retreat shouldn’t look like a regular staff meeting that is just outside the office, it should deliver value to the participants and the organisation.

6. Prep the participants

The participants of the retreat should be prepped on the goals and expectations of the retreat so that there is mutual understanding. Participants who aren’t properly informed might want to digress from the agenda of the retreat.  Organisers can forestall this by sending out questionnaires to participants to get their expectations. Organisers can also send relevant information about the retreat like the agenda, facilitators, food and the location etc. to frame the mindset of the participants.

7. Set Post retreat activities

Retreats should be impactful on the overall performance of the participants. A retreat not properly managed afterwards might just become yet another retreat without any positive consequences on the participants and the organisation. All participants should leave the retreat with a resolution and mechanisms should be in place to hold them accountable to it. The facilitators slide should be distributed to all participants and they should be encouraged review it periodically. A report of the retreats should also be carried out to examine the highlight of the retreat, what should be worked.


For professional advice and enquiries please contact our team at iCentra Consulting

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