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Rejuvenating Staff Retreats Continued

By Karen

Here are more tips on how to create a staff retreat that will rejuvenate your team.

Timing is Everything.  Try to give your staff as much notice as possible about this retreat so that schedules can be cleared.  You will find a staff retreat with only part of the staff in attendance is not very effective.   DO NOT PLAN YOUR STAFF RETREAT ON A WEEKEND.  Asking staff to attend a work-related retreat on a weekend is not going to win you the buy-in you're hoping for.  Work-life balance is key to any successful organization, so keep work during the work week, and leave the weekends for your staff's "life".  Obviously you'll want to keep in mind how the weather will affect the activities available at your host location.  If you're planning to do an outdoor low ropes course as a team-builder, scheduling your retreat in December probably isn't the best idea.  To avoid weather pitfalls any time of year, look for venues that offer great activity facilities both indoors and outdoors, so you're never "rained out".

What's the Plan, Stan?  Now that you've decided on dates, found your venue and budgeted for your retreat, all that's left is to plan your agenda.  The first thing you're going to need to decide is what you want to outcome of your retreat to be.  Deciding on your destination first will ultimately make creating the roadmap to get there a lot easier and more effective.  The agenda for your retreat should be well-balanced to include plenty of time for reflection, brainstorming, team-building as well as entertainment, fun and rest.   Don't feel like you have to do all of this alone either.  If you're getting super stressed out about planning a rejuvenating retreat, you're totally missing the point.  Asking your staff for their input on what they'd like to cover on the retreat.  If you're staff feels a part of the planning process, they're more likely to be invested in the success of the retreat itself.  Whatever your agenda, 1 day or 2 day retreat, be flexible.  Rigidity in a staff retreat goes against everything the retreat is about.  Allow plenty of time for meals, fun and opportunities to get up, move around and truly work on the bond that is going to help your staff feel like part of family.  Be careful not to turn your retreat into just another staff meeting.  Discussing business, especially coming up with creative ideas to improve your organization or the way you operate, is not off the table, but this is not the time nor the place to discuss anything too "heavy".  Remember, you started reading this because you were interested in planning a "Rejuvenating Staff Retreat", not an article on conflict management.

It's All Over...Now What?  When all is said and done, don't forget to poll your staff on how they thought the retreat went and ask for suggestions for future retreats.  Again, truly allowing your staff to be an integral part of the entire process is essential, but I'd also suggest doing this on an individual and group basis to get the best, most honest feedback.

When it all comes down to it, everyone needs a break sometimes.  Vacations, personal days and "sick days" help, but you'll find that truly investing in the morale of your staff during work hours shows them that you appreciate them, and are committed to the long-term success of your team.

What benefits has your team received from a staff retreat?

Christian Retreats Network /

Based at Lake Williamson / PO Box 620 / Carlinville, IL 62626