Team building is business building, plain and simple. Balancing company goals with aligning culture and values, all while boosting morale and employee performance are key areas you can expect to see improvement in during your next offsite, if done the right way. However large or small your business is if your goal is to bring your team together, create a fun environment, get everyone out of the office, improve team communication, or connect on a more personal level then keep reading. The best time to get to know your team is during a corporate retreat. In this post, we offer 17 ideas to boost team morale during your next offsite. At Got Fishing, we provide businesses & individuals with world-class fishing experiences, so some of these ideas will be based on our offerings, but you can apply these ideas to most other offsite experiences.
Why Is Boosting Team Morale Important?
Like any group event, corporate retreats take meticulous planning and money. You want to be remembered for the right reasons, so it’s imperative to drive focused thought into what you want to accomplish at this offsite, why it will improve your business, and how you will logistically get there. With more businesses operating in remote and hybrid work environments, social and employee isolation are known to “reduce productivity by up to 21%”, while “socializing between colleagues improves communication patterns by more than 50%” (Teambuilding.com). Even if your team is not remote, whether it’s busy and harsh work environments, large orgs with disconnect, or something else, boosting team morale should be at the forefront of every business that takes its culture and values seriously.
1. Book The Right Venue
Where you go and where you stay set the mood for the level of team building that will follow. Choose an environment that has delectable food options for everyone, great accommodations, beautiful scenery, and an agenda that is action-packed and exciting at any given moment, yet relaxing when you want it to be. Fishing lodges are excellent places to stay that facilitate team bonding and growth, for all of these reasons.
2. Have A Welcome Party
Provide an exciting and welcoming environment from the start by laying out the why. Why are you all here? What can they expect? What’s the general itinerary? Establish a level of transparency. This provides clarity and allows everyone to feel welcomed and comfortable.
3. Have Some Ice Breakers Ready
Getting to the retreat is half the battle and you have this great itinerary planned, but what do you have set up for when your team arrives? Having some icebreakers prepared to kick off the event will help to set the tone for the rest of the trip. Some teams may be fully remote, while others may work in the office or in the field together 5 days a week.
Tailor the icebreakers to the situation: if it’s employees’ first time meeting or they rarely see each other, try icebreakers that help to get to know each other and open up easier (there’s a lot of q&a games online). If others are together all the time, try tactics that help to break away from the work talk and create an environment where everyone can turn off the jargon for a bit.
4. Create Balance With A Relaxed, Yet Engaging Agenda
It’s important to plan activities and have company agendas you address (like brainstorming problems and solutions or doing projects that are difficult to do in remote environments), but it’s also important to schedule time for rest. Another goal of your retreat could be to address tension in the office and allow everyone to destress in whatever way that means to them, on their own time, with whoever they want to do that with (or not with). Getting away from the hierarchy and bonding together as people is important, but don’t overwhelm everyone with an exact and approximate itinerary; Too much structure can be daunting and unmotivating, even if it’s supposed to be fun.
5. Make The Retreat Fun
Think about what people would actually want to do and keep things light-hearted when it’s not about business. Too many companies do cheesy and childish activities that make your team uncomfortable and like they’re forced into filling every second with these trustfall-esque exercises. Keep things simple at times and try having a campfire or bonding in a casual way; Sometimes, you don’t need to overthink it.
6. Address Problems As A Group
Where was the company a year ago, what’s changed, where are the issues, etc… Allow your team to collaborate and speak their mind on what’s working and what’s not. Create a sphere of trust in these trips and allow this to be a space where people can let their voices be heard, and an opportunity for group improvement. This could be a great brainstorming event or a time when you all sit as a group and write down goals, problems, and possible solutions together, with action items you can take home with you.
7. Have Some Friendly Competition
On our trips, this could be whoever catches the biggest fish. But, being in any environment that has that level of healthy competition, like fishing, will provide an immediate fun factor and bonding experience.
8. Take A Sunrise Or Sunset Group Hike
Being outside helps to boost energy levels and makes time for informal socialization. This will give everyone some memorable experiences, inspire “awe”, and get the creative juices flowing. It’s a great activity for the whole group, no matter how physically fit you are or not, since hiking can be tailored to all experience levels.
9. Schedule Lessons
Provide an environment where your team can bond through education, learning, and discovery. Got Fishing can schedule events such as casting lessons, entomology, and cooking classes, and most offsite locations offer some sort of learning experience.
10. Eat Together
Eating together in large groups, including the workplace, has many benefits to physical and mental health and is directly related to boosting team morale (Business News Daily). Enjoy this social gathering at your offsite event and provide an easy opportunity for colleagues to relax, socialize, network, provide inclusiveness, and boost everyone’s mental health at the same time.
11. Partner Up
Many offsite events provide opportunities for teaming up. Encourage employees to pick partners during some events in your itinerary. For example, fishing can be a collaborative activity, especially if you’re on the same boat, two people hook a fish at the same time, or when you need some help netting your catch; It’s a bonding experience, and is sure to make coworkers feel more connected afterward. Most, if not all, of these corporate retreats, will provide lifelong memories and moments to share.
12. Do A Trivia Night
Planning a fun trivia night after a day of fishing and a world-class dinner is a great way to end the day (bonus for booking with us: most of our lodges offer free beverages). Make it about your business and offer company swag or prizes to winning groups. Ask questions like, when was your company founded, how many branches are there, what are our core values, and other company facts.
13. Include Everyone
We urge our clients to have their employees fill out initial surveys upon booking so we can learn more about dietary restrictions, fitness levels, disabilities, etc. Basically, we want to think about everyone and make sure inclusion is a topic that’s top of mind during the planning process. Not every person wants to fish or wants to do certain activities that you have planned. Provide a space where there’s options for everyone.
14. Schedule In A Free Day
At the end of the day, yes you work together, but you’re all human and you all share this culture and set of beliefs that brought you to the company in the first place. Use that as part of your planning process and don’t feel obligated to schedule every single day and moment out. Provide opportunities for colleagues to do fun, casual things (have a fire, bust out the karaoke machine, have drinks available, etc.) and allow people to enjoy the moment. This will naturally allow for spontaneous and team-building moments.
15. Have A Closing Ceremony
A closing ceremony is a nice time to thank everybody for attending, celebrate workplace accomplishments, and talk about work milestones. You could have an awards ceremony, make a big announcement at this time, show presentations/slideshows, etc. If there’s any employee packages or gifts, this is a good time to pass them out.
16. Include A Post-Retreat Survey
Once everyone is back at the main workplace, send out a post-retreat survey to get feedback for future events. This can be anonymous on a Google form, an email, etc. These are helpful for future offsite events as well as for gauging the overall experience.
17. Hire An Expert
With all the details that come with event planning and maintaining the day-to-day of your full-time job, sometimes it’s best to leave it to the experts. Corporate retreats are a growing offering and many businesses offer their services in this arena. Consider hiring a professional corporate event planning company to take care of the majority of your offsite event.
Team building is business building. Choosing to focus on boosting team morale at your next offsite event will provide you with an immediate return on investment. Establish bonds and build your team up on a personal and more connected level by trying some of the ideas we listed above at your next corporate retreat.
Got Fishing is a boutique fishing agency, offering world-class fishing adventures to businesses, groups, and individuals; All of our services are FREE and we take care of everything. Every adventure offers an immersive outdoor experience for you and your company.
Want to see how Got Fishing can take the pain out of offsite planning? Chat with our team today!