Let’s get real for a moment. Organizing a company offsite is difficult. It requires a significant budget, considerable planning, plenty of time, advance notice, the ability to coordinate groups of people, and more. Not exactly the kind of thing you can do over a casual coffee on a Friday afternoon.
And what’s more difficult than the logistical side of things is figuring out how to finish off your offsite or company retreat facilities. Certainly, it’s easy for people to feel their own feelings or motivations for what’s to come when they’re there. But how do you take it further? How can you ensure that all the efforts you put in actually translate into long-term benefits for your company and your business?
That’s what we’re here to find out. At TravelPerk, we believe in the value of bringing team members together in real life. Company offsite events like kick-offs or retreats are an incredible way to invigorate company culture, increase employee engagement, and align everyone on your strategic vision for the coming quarter or year. Here are our top 5 tips on how you can plan a successful team offsite meeting with a lasting impact.
1. Get your goals and objectives straight
Before starting any kind of logistics planning you need to lay the groundwork. Understanding what you want to achieve from a real-life meeting offsite will lay the foundation for what your event will actually need.
Do you need your leadership team to come together for an intensive, 2-day strategic planning session? Then you need to organize an offsite just for them, somewhere isolated and quiet but equipped with all the tools for brainstorming, collaborative work and creativity. Are you helping your entire sales team learn new skills, get motivated for the upcoming quarter, and build camaraderie? Then you need a bigger space with plenty of time for team-building activities and even a party at the end.
Your first step when planning your next team offsite should be setting goals. Ensuring participants and team members are aware in advance will make them more engaged and better prepared. This will strengthen the quality and value of your event.
2. Start working on logistics early
The sooner you can start managing things like accommodation, transportation and catering, the better. Especially if you’re working with a hybrid or remote team, getting people together in person can be expensive and time-consuming to organize. Jumping on all of these not only means more options are available, but it will also save you money by booking ahead of time.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the logistical steps you’ll need to take whether you’re dealing with a large or small group:
- residence – Are you getting a shared space like a hotel or a country house?
- sleeping arrangement – Will people share a room or sleep separately?
- hand come – Where will the bulk of your event be?
- transport – Where are people coming from? How do you get them to your offsite location?
- Opportunity – Advantage – What facilities and technology do you need for all your workshops, training sessions and brainstorming breakouts?
- Team Building Activities – Will there be some time dedicated to this? If so, what activities will you organize? Do you need to hire an outside guide for these activities?
- food – Are you going to a place where food is delivered or do you need to prepare your own food?
- Music – Will your offsite have celebratory elements? Who will manage the music?
3. Prepare a detailed agenda
Lucky for you, we’ve already got an offsite meeting agenda template ready! Check it out here.
When it comes to choosing your offsite agenda, granularity is key. Once your goals and objectives are set, it’s important to determine what activities and presentations will help you achieve those goals. Share the types of presentations your entire team should see and any optional workshops they can attend.
Make sure you provide the agenda to all attendees ahead of time and include all event details. Let them know what they can expect, where they’re going and when each key element of the event is happening. If participants can choose workshops, for example, make sure there are descriptions for each. It’s always inspiring and motivating to include a creative or problem-solving activity that takes employees outside of their day-to-day and helps them think outside the box.
4. Don’t forget, it’s for fun
Yes, an offsite is absolutely a tool to help you achieve larger company goals. But it should be an enjoyable and unforgettable experience for the employees! If you’re only moving people to a cool place to do the same things on site, you may be missing out on the opportunity for teams to bond and make memories together.
There are a number of ways you can do this. One example is involving your community participants in the planning process. Ask team members if they would like to lead an initiative or activity during the event – for example, a yoga class or a craft-making session. Having a fun icebreaker session at the start of your event can also greatly increase engagement and leave everyone feeling happy and relaxed from the start. Ending your event with a party or celebration is always a great option!
5. Stay in touch after the event
Getting feedback from your event attendees is the best way to understand what worked for them and what didn’t. Ultimately, every offsite event you conduct is for them. That’s why it’s important to get as detailed a response as possible in your follow-up communications. Here are some sample questions you can ask:
- What was the most useful part of the offsite for you?
- If you could change anything about offsite, what would it be?
- What was the highlight of the event for you?
- Did you meet any new colleagues?
- Do you feel more connected to your goals, mission and vision?
- How did you find accommodation/transportation/food?
For more qualitative feedback, you can also think about selecting a few participants and organizing one-on-one sessions. There, you can ask them for more specific and detailed information that will help outline your action items when planning the next big event.