Planning A Corporate Retreat [Ideas & Tips]


Corporate jobs can add a lot of stress to any employee whether company staff works remotely, on-site, or in a hybrid format. However, businesses can reinvest or provide some off time for team development and personal development through a corporate retreat. 

Planning and setting up a corporate retreat will take time, and a fine focus on what the objectives of the retreat should meet. A retreat can have multiple benefits to the employees, including motivation and productivity, and creativity. A corporate retreat will allow company staff to meet outside of the office, away from typical responsibilities. This provides downtime and socializing among different team members.

There are a few benefits to a corporate retreat. A retreat encourages team building and brainstorming. Moving the employees outside of the office can provide them with a fresh perspective on current problems. These retreats can equip employees to ask one another for advice on certain headaches at work. Which can lead to new and creative input from teammates to solve those problems. This grows company culture and allows the remote team to meet the leadership team and other team members.

A company retreat can provide the employees with free additional training to ensure that they are equipped to deal with customers, problems, and other teammates. Companies can use a retreat to ensure company priorities and values throughout the year.

What are the Elements of a Corporate Retreat?

Every retreat consists of certain elements. These elements can lead to the success or demise of a retreat. Not all of these elements must be present in all the company retreats. However, the more these fundamental elements are present, the higher the company’s chances of gaining the most out of these sessions. Ensure to discuss these elements in the retreat planning process.

Budget and Finances

The budget and the financial aspect of a retreat is the starting point of planning a retreat for the staff. A company can not decide on the location or itinerary before the retreat’s budget is not set. This will allow the planning team to allocate funding for specific activities, accommodation, transport, and meals. 

Before deciding on the fun activities that will motivate teamwork, the management team will need to decide the number of employees attending the retreat. This will lay the foundation for the rest of the activities. 

Once the capacity of employees is decided, the budget can be set for traveling to and from the location. This can be as simple as a bus ride, or as complex as a trip to a foreign country. Transport of all sorts must be added. The budget for meals will be set for two or three meals per day, per employee unless communicated otherwise. 

The company must allocate finances to the location, activities planned, and speakers that will be speaking at the retreat. All costs must be accounted for, to ensure that the business has the money to provide the retreat.

Location and Venue

Deciding on a location and venue for the company retreat can play a key part in planning the event. The venue goes hand-in-hand with the number of employees attending the meeting. The venue must be able to comfortably host every employee and speaker of the day. The location can have multiple venues to ensure that all the sessions can be hosted in separate venues.

Choosing a venue based on activities can be something to focus on. Some activities can perhaps be outside and ensuring that the venue has the space and area for staff to partake in running or fun activities that are outdoors.

Some retreats offer overnight stays at certain locations. Companies need to focus on the accommodation and the travel to the destination for all their employees. A venue will have to accommodate sleeping arrangements for the whole team. If this is not accessible, the company will need to look for a different venue. 

Schedule and Agenda

Managers and business owners can decide, after setting the objective, what will appear on the itinerary and schedule. The schedule and agenda must be aligned with the company goals and objectives of the corporate retreat. 

The first key focus point is to schedule breaks and meal times. Most companies focus solely on the primary objectives and speakers. These breaks must be calculated and added strategically. Breaks will ensure that staff is well rested and ready to receive or work on the problem at hand. 

Plan out the primary key meetings. These are compulsory for all retreat members. This is where the main focus of the retreat will be communicated and worked on. Employees will know what to expect, and what speakers and topics will be dealt with. 

The third important item is to schedule the activities. This will inform the members of what lies ahead and what to expect. The activities are where all the fun happens. Teammates learn how to work with each other and can have a laugh while they at it. 

Lastly, companies can focus on the arrival and departure of the attendees. This will provide the employees with the specific time allocated to arrive and what time they are expected to be occupied by the retreat. 

Activities and Team Building Exercises

Activities at a retreat must be fun. Fun activities draw all members to partake. Once the team is in a positive and playful state, corporate businesses can focus on boosting team morale. The activities must be based on the objectives and goals of the retreat. 

Some objectives of an activity can be to build morale, develop core values or resolve conflict that appears regularly. The activities will create a calm and peaceful environment where they have no tasks or managers pulling them down. 

Fun activities can be board games, singing karaoke, and hosting a welcome party. Some activities such as hosting a guest speaker or watching motivational videos can create momentum the team can take into their workplace. 

Accommodations and Meals

Employees differ from one another. This is specifically true when observing eating habits. A company retreat must provide members with nurturing meals. These meals must meet their basic needs, and fill their stomachs. This is crucial to allow employees to be energized and ready to provide the needed input.

Using a template for employees to fill in beforehand will allow the planning committee to ensure that every person has access to what they enjoy. Providing vegan, vegetarian, and meat options must not be optional. 

A retreat must not irritate any of the employees. Companies can ensure that this does not happen, by providing meals that are suited to all their needs and wants. 

Transportation and Logistics

Providing the employees with logistics such as the locations, itinerary to take, and time to be present at the event. Employees have time to prepare for the event and to ensure that all they need, they have.

If the retreat is based in a different country that requires documents, the company must ensure that all these documents are filled in for the entire team. If the documentation requires personal information, the company can distribute the documents in time to ensure that the employees can fill in and provide the necessary information. 

Transportation is the last bit of administration to ensure the members arrive safely at the set locations, and back home. Providing the employees with transportation can contribute to the trip’s enjoyment. Employees do not have the headache of organizing and arranging transport to and from the venue. 

Guest Speakers and Trainers

Guest speakers are a great way to motivate the team. These speakers can provide insight into what it takes to succeed in a particular field. Guest speakers can advise and answer burning questions the team has. 

A guest speaker creates the feeling of an external individual, which will lead the team to feel open to communicating with an outsider. Organizing multiple guest speakers that are qualified in various fields will allow all members to gain knowledge and insight from the sessions.

Technology and Equipment

Setting up the correct equipment for the retreat is crucial. The team will need to state what they need, and why they need it and decide on the placement before all the attendees arrive. Equipment can be seen as products such as a screen to display videos on, a mic and system for the guest speakers, and lights and cameras if needed. 

Companies can hire technology and equipment gurus that obtain experience through arranging and running multiple retreats. This will allow them to have a technician on-site if the technology starts yielding problems.

Taking advantage of the visual aspect of a retreat will allow all attendees to partake in the information provided. Some enjoy visuals, while others prefer verbal communication. Ensure that both are covered throughout the retreat. Screens, music, and speakers will add to the atmosphere of the meeting and can motivate the members to participate. 

Top Destinations for Corporate Retreats

Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe is a great location for the outdoor retreat plan. With the beautiful lake, snowy mountains, and ski trial options, the whole team will have a leisure activity for them. It also provides hiking trails, golf courses, and some nightlife that the whole team can enjoy together. 

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas provides companies with a great weekend retreat. Austin is well known for its vibrant music and restaurants as well as the museums and outdoor activities. This is a good choice if the company wants to balance outdoor activities with fun restaurants and iconic museums.

Park City, Utah

Park City has a wide variety of activities and shops the team can visit. There will be something for everyone. Some will enjoy snowboarding and skiing, while others enjoy the calmer cooking classes and wine-tasting experiences. 

Miami, Florida

Miami is well known for its golden beaches and lively atmosphere. This location provides amazing restaurants and hotels on the beachfront. Employees will have the opportunity to have a retreat with the ocean underneath their feet. 

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina can be used to extract the team away from the screens and into nature. Companies can use private resorts to ensure that the team has no interference. An entire resort for team building, meetings, and mountain leisure activities. 

Banff, Alberta, Canada

Banff, Alberta provides companies with mesmerizing mountains, lakes, and waterfall options. Banff is a location the whole team will enjoy. The amazing food and Canadian culture combined with the beautiful landscape and nature will leave the whole team excited. 

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas is where the desert meets the ocean. With the option of desert hikes, or reef diving in the ocean, the team will experience something of Mexican culture. A great retreat location to showcase different cultures and experiences. 

Bali, Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia, is not only a tourist destination. Bali resorts provide great teams, mindfulness, and other leisure activities. The team will enjoy the trip to Bali, and they will not be able to stop chatting on their way back. This is a great location for smaller teams. 

Successful Corporate Retreat Ideas

Creating a successful company retreat takes time, planning, and execution. This can be achieved by merely observing what made other retreats work in the past. Here are retreat activities and ideas that can lead to the success of the corporate retreat

Collaborative Brainstorming Sessions

Crowdstorming is a great way to hear what the team thinks of certain problems. These sessions will allow managers to tap into the creativity and knowledge of their teams to solve difficult or recurring problems. 

Most managers assume that they can solve problems and create clear goals and guidelines for the whole team without the team’s input. However, strong teams and corporations use all strengths and creativity the team provides to solve customer problems

These brainstorming sessions will allow the team to provide their input. This will provide the company with insights into what the team regards as problem areas and how they think they can be fixed within the company. 

Outdoor Adventure and Team Building Activities

Outdoor adventures and team-building activities will allow the company to create a strong bond among staff members. Outdoor activities must however suit all employees and should not create a division among them. 

Not all the employees will enjoy an activity in the form of a 5-kilometer run, or mountain climbing, thus deciding on an activity that will suit the entire team is crucial. Companies can focus on group activities. A group activity will push members to cooperate. 

Outdoor activities are better for team building, especially if these activities can take place within nature. Nature will allow the team to let their guard down, and fully invest and enjoy their time and activities as a whole. 

Check Out Designing an Effective Team Building Retreat :

Professional Development Workshops

A retreat is a perfect time to reinvest in all the attendees. They have taken the time out of their schedule to attend the meeting, thus using this time to build their repertoire will leave the retreat as a success story. 

Professional Workshops, however, must invest new skills and knowledge into the employees. The development must be valuable to the employees and not solely to the management and owner of the company. A good way to obtain insight on which skills to focus on would be to ask the employees where they want to improve. Then focus on adding those skills for the attendees. 

Wellness and Mindfulness Exercises

A retreat is a place where employees can re-energize. Mindfulness exercises such as meditation and yoga can increase employee wellness. This exercise will not only increase employee wellness for the corporate retreat but can have an everlasting improvement if done correctly.

Providing employees with a tool they can use at work or home to ensure they are mindful and at peace will have a great impact on the business. The company can arrange a specialist to teach members how to be at ease at work and home. Teaching them key exercises that can be done within minutes anywhere in the world. 

Social Events and Networking Opportunities

Retreats create the perfect networking and social opportunity. Individuals can meet other parts of a team whom they never knew of. These events bring all employees together, most of them working behind screens and only communicating through multiple different apps. 

Social events are of great use at a start or end of a retreat and can be set as both. Providing the team with time to let their hair down and enjoy time with the team members will lead them to have more energy and motivation later in the retreat. 

Social events provide a networking opportunity. By allowing different parts of the company to communicate, certain problems and issues can be resolved. The different teams can start to create creative approaches to each other’s worlds, which can lead to problems being solved without management’s involvement. 

Pitfalls to Avoid when Planning a Corporate Retreat

Not all retreats are sunshine and rainbows. Companies have obtained this knowledge through running unsuccessful retreats. By following successful ideas and avoiding the following pitfalls, the corporate retreat can only lead to a memorable experience. 

Not Defining Clear Goals and Objectives

Planning a retreat without setting any goals or objectives is only a misuse of company finances. This aimless event will lead to frustration and the disuse of time. Employees and managers will leave these events feeling irritated, with no knowledge or team building gained. 

By simply setting a goal, the planning committee can find speakers, activities, and venues that will provide the company with the necessary outcome. Which will leave the company, the employees, and the managers all on the right track for what lies ahead. 

Choosing the Wrong Location or Venue

A venue for a retreat can carry a lot of weight to the effectiveness of the event. Companies will need to identify how many members will attend the meeting, which will allow them to decide on the perfect venue for the corporate retreat. 

The venue size is what matters most. Small groups will not feel comfortable speaking their minds in a gigantic hall. However, struggling to fit a bigger group of employees in a small venue will lead to frustration. 

Pick a venue based on the size of the group. That provides enough space for every individual to move around. Companies can arrange a flexible venue if the amount of employees attending is not known. This will allow them to change to a different venue if the amount of employees exceeds the room space. 

Overloading the Schedule and Agenda

Corporate retreats are used for team building, refocusing on company goals, and re-energizing the team. This means that leaving time to reflex and relax must be part of the schedule.

Overloading the retreat agenda will leave the employees tired and overstimulated. The team will leave the event with only a handful of information that the company deemed important. Rather have fewer sessions, which will allow the team to focus and spend time on the information. 

Failing to Communicate Effectively with Attendees

Communication is key to running a successful retreat. The information shared, and the knowledge spread at these corporate events is important. However, the format in which it is shared plays a bigger role. 

Speakers and managers must communicate effectively to ensure that the employees understand exactly what is important and how to move forward. Failing to do this will leave the attendees confused and frustrated.

Not Providing Enough Downtime and Relaxation

Downtime can be the company’s best friend. Not only does this create a fun and positive environment, but it will allow the individuals to clear their minds and mentally prepare for the next sessions. 

These downtimes will provide the employees with a space to network and meet other parts of the company, as well as process all the training information or knowledge shared in the previous sessions. Use downtime strategically to instill the most into the attendees.

How Do You Structure a Corporate Retreat?

Creating a structure for the corporate event will go hand-in-hand with the objective of the event. However, every event will need a welcome party and a last meeting with a departure party. This will allow the attendees to know what to expect for the retreat and to have some guidelines on the retreat itself. 

Secondly, the planning committee can focus on adding meal times and big meetings, which will be in the guidelines booklet handed to every individual that attends the retreat. And lastly, scheduling all the downtime, small groups, and leisure activities. This way, the schedule is planned and ready to follow. Here is a template to follow.

Planning A Corporate Retreat: FAQs

How to Prepare for a Work Retreat?

Preparation starts by setting achievable goals and objectives for the retreat. Employees can then be provided with an itinerary that will showcase what they need, where, and why the retreat is organized. 

What are Examples of One-day Company Retreat Ideas?

Great examples of one-day retreats will be taking the team to a beautiful hiking location where they can talk to one another and enjoy the outdoors. Cooking classes or developing new skills such as tastings of wine or coffee. Escape rooms or movie nights can be used as retreat ideas.

Final Thoughts

Planning and hosting a retreat will be of great benefit not only to the company but to the employees. These corporate retreats will provide a space for team members to connect which will strengthen teamwork. It will provide the company to invest new information and knowledge into the team and provide them with training that will ensure a strong return back to the office. 

Companies must remember to set the goal and objectives of a retreat before planning anything else. This will lay the foundation that the rest of the retreat will follow. Plan and schedule with the employees in mind and use breaks and downtime. 

Sabine Ghali

Kelly Murphy


Certified Meeting planner with 20+ years of event management experience, founder of ConferenceSource, expert in meeting facility sourcing & contracting in North America, Europe, South America and Asia. Kelly will manage your budget as if they were her own, negotiating the best possible rate and hotel contract to benefit and protect every client and exceed all expectations for all planning aspects for sales meetings, educational meetings, product launches, incentive trips down to a small board of directors meeting. We make meetings easy understanding your meeting objectives and delivering meeting matched components.
Need Help Planning Your Next Corporate Event or Meeting?

Team building can be a task that some individuals resent. The idea of meeting up with coworkers outside of work sounds tedious and annoying, however, there are great benefits to this activity. This task can build a team into an unstoppable force that will grow a business.

Corporate retreat planning can take some time, but if the energy and finances are spent correctly, the retreat will push individuals to grow into a team. These retreats are a great way to show the employees their value to the company, ensure that every member knows the company goals, and allow for a space where members can raise their concerns or provide input on ways to solve certain company problems. 

The retreat should focus on all individuals that will be on the retreat. Inclusivity will be the aim and will ultimately lead to the event being a success or failure. Management and retreat planners must ensure to share the necessary detail and activities as well as gather food preferences so that all employees and managers can enjoy the retreat. 

Benefits of Corporate Retreats

There are various benefits of running a corporate retreat. The benefits all depend on the activities and exercises that run throughout the retreat. The corporate company will find the most success and benefits when they set clear goals for the retreat. These goals will guide the retreat planners to focus on creating programs that will meet the objectives. 

Team Building

A strong team can overcome many obstacles, and most companies attempt to hire a strong team without investing time and energy into each individual. A team can become one unit when they have to work through problems and build something bigger than them. 

Team building activities such as working through an escape room, some fun cooking or baking classes, or group experiences that are new to everyone such as surfing or hiking. These activities will assist the team to think as one, solving problems outside the office. 

Company retreat planners should not pick events or activities where individuals on the team will not cooperate due to fear. Individuals with a fear of heights might not enjoy climbing up the side of the mountain. Focus purely on the team and find creative ways to bring them together. 

Improved Communication and Collaboration

Clear and precise communication will take a team to new heights. Most often than not, a lack of precise communication will be the downfall of a team. Some individuals do not know how to communicate with others. This is more so when faced with conflict towards each other. 

Increased Employee Engagement

A team can perform at its peak once a group of individuals can raise their voices with critically thought-out answers or questions. It is the team manager that is responsible for creating the atmosphere for team members to feel empowered to engage. 

A event planner can use the time away from the office to allow individuals to engage. Not only will this add value to the team and the business, but moreover the individuals will feel that they are valuable and have great insight to provide.

Certain activities build employee engagement. The planner must focus on the individuals where each individual will have an equal opportunity to showcase their strengths and ideas. This will ensure that the team’s engagement is open and that every individual’s input is valuable.

Boosted Morale

A retreat can bring the team together on various levels. The activities themselves can provide the team with a space to bond and work together, while their off time can boost their morale. The individuals on the team will feel appreciated and cared for which will build morale as well as show the value they add to the team and the business. 

Boosting morale must be a focus for the retreat planner. Certain activities will boost morale while others build teamwork. Specific activities such as individuals eating and cooking together, or hikes and boat rides. These activities allow members to converse with each other without having to focus on a task.

Companies can add themes to some activities to ensure that the team has fun while away from the office. Respecting an individual’s time is key to planning a retreat. The team members must enjoy and connect without feeling forced. 

Enhanced Creativity

Creativity can be a mere act of solving problems. Every individual on the team will provide their skills and creativity. The retreat will be a great environment to allow individuals to showcase and enhance their creativity through activities. 

Most individuals will have a creative idea or solution to solving a problem. The manager must work endlessly to ensure that the team can use its creativity to enhance the team. Forcing individuals to think outside the box without the help of others will enhance their creativity. 

Smaller groups are a great way managers can insure creative thinking. The smaller teams will provide a safe space for team members to raise their opinions. Team members will have the opportunity to hear how others think, which will provide them with input and time to change and work on their creativity. 

Choosing a Corporate Retreat Planner

Deciding on a retreat planner is as important as deciding on hosting a retreat. The importance of the planner is unmeasurable. The team of planners must be able to identify and create activities and tasks that will suit the team and have the connections to secure great deals for the business. 

Criteria for Selecting a Planner

The first criterion for a retreating planner or team must be honesty. The planner must be able to provide honest and truthful insight to the managers and business owners. The second part of honesty is communication. A planner must be able to communicate clearly. Problems do occur throughout the planning, and the depth of it will be based on communicating it with the managers and teams.

A planner must be able to listen actively. Listening will provide the planner with insight and guidelines about what the company wants exactly. This can be difficult for some planners due to their willingness to provide their input and ideas. The active listening skills will come in handy throughout the planning of the retreat. 

The last bit of criterion of a planner must be that they are a team player. The team’s needs must be a priority. The retreat focuses on the company team, not on the planner’s brilliance. Everything done must be for the benefit of the team members of the company. 

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Planner

As a corporate company, questioning the planner will allow the team to assess the planners that they want to hire. The questions can ensure that the team hired can do the best job possible. Not all planners can create and build a corporate retreat. These planners of an instinct toward team bonding and employee retreat.

Here are some questions companies can ask the retreat planner at hand. These questions are not to push the planner into a corner but rather to assess whether they would be able to do the job. Not all questions are essential, however, asking some of these key questions can save the company time and money later in the process. 

Importance of Research and References

As a hiring corporation, the business must do its research. Hiring a planner can take some time out of the day, but can save the company money and time in the long run. Some form of research is simply looking for the company or team they want to hire online and on social media. 

By scanning through a website and various forms of social media, the planning company can create credibility. These platforms will provide the hiring company with clear images and text on what the company does and what its standard of service is. These platforms will provide the company with some references that they can call. 

References are opinions from other hiring companies based on the retreat planning company. This will show the business exactly what other companies think and feel after the service was delivered. If the reviews and references are positive the company can feel safe. Continue with the hiring by knowing they are in the best pair of hands. 

f there are negative reviews, the business must analyze and asses these comments to ensure the hiring of the company. The business can ask the planning corporate retreat company to provide a set of references. 

Planning Corporate Team Building Retreats

When it comes to the planning of a retreat the planner must focus on achieving the goals and objectives set by the business managers. This objective will provide clear guidelines that the planning company can follow to ensure a successful retreat for full-time office or remote working employees.

Types of Retreats

There are multiple options for company retreat to choose from. The type of retreat will be determined by the goals set by the company for the retreat. Team building will have a different theme and activities as a brainstorming retreat.

The different corporate retreat a company can use is a team-building retreat. This focus is primarily on building up a team and working on communication. This retreat requires the entire team with the managers to attend for it to have the necessary impact.

Another example is a product launch and brainstorming retreat. These retreats focus on learning how new products work, to ensure that they can sell the item to their customers. Or brainstorming retreats, where teams sit with problems to solve. Brainstorming can focus on creative ideas to build brand awareness or grow the business. 

The last company retreat can be an event or a gathering for a few hours. These events are new experiences for the entire team. A wine-tasting, cooking class, or a casual hike are great examples of these types of retreats. Different company retreats will build meaningful relationships among team members which will lead to a company culture that are stronger. 

Choosing a Location

The retreat location can make or break the retreat. When deciding on a location the company has to consider a few elements. The destination can not be too far to travel to. The distance can lead to employees feeling aggravated and irritated about traveling the distance. The traveling must be paid for by the company non the less, however, it can cause friction if the destination is too far.

The destination must be able to host the number of team members comfortably. This refers to the halls where the conferences will be held, as well as planned activities. If surfing classes are on the itinerary and the company decides on a venue in the mountains the activities will not be accessible. Pick a retreat location that accommodates the activities and the team. 

Creating a Budget

A set budget sets the foundation for any corporate event. A budget will ensure that the company does not spend more money on an event than what they have. A budget will also provide the planning team with guidelines as to what to spend money on, and what to avoid. 

Creating a budget plays a key role in what the outcome and goals are for a company retreat. The focus of a budget should be to cover all expenses.

 First and foremost the company must provide specific allocations for the finances based on what they see as important. By providing this information the planning team will ensure that the overarching goal and theme are planned within the financial budget. 

Developing an Itinerary

Creating an itinerary is what will fill the days or hours set out for the company retreat. An itinerary is an exact activity and the time it will occur. This is essentially the program that will be provided to the team, the managers, the venue hosts, the catering, and the activity runner.

Providing all of the key players of the event with the program will ensure that the individuals are prepared and on time for their duty or obligations throughout the day, weekend, or week of the retreat. 

Check Out Entrepreneur Strategy Session- How to Host a Company Retreat:

Recap of Benefits of Corporate Retreats

There are many benefits to a corporate retreat. The company can have insight from the employees or are on the ground, working with the customers, products, and services. The team can raise concerns and problems they face daily. 

A corporate retreat can be used to build team spirit and cooperation which will strengthen overall teamwork. Or boost morale which will motivate the team to head back to work with high spirits and confidence. 

Importance of Hiring a Professional Planner

Professional planners have the knowledge and expertise to ensure a successful event. These professionals have done all the research that will provide the company with great venues, amazing activities, and healthy food that will ensure a productive meeting

Professional planners use regular catering and venue hires which are reliable. This will save the business money and time, sourcing a venue and working through multiple options, trying to find reliable and resourceful choices.

Professional planners can create the ideal event for the goals set by the company. These individuals have the expertise to build the retreat within the budget. Most planning teams will be able to evaluate the return on investment and the success of the next retreat. 

Encouragement for Businesses to Invest in Corporate Retreats for their Employees

The benefits out way the risks for a company retreat. A company can add value to its employees by scheduling regular retreats. The individuals will return to work, with full confidence and a willingness to grow the business. 

Most corporate companies focus on the financial loss that can be connected to retreats, however, the business can essentially increase profits from employees that work harder to add more value. These company retreats are an investment in the business and its employees. And the hard work the employees provide will be reaped. 

Corporate Retreat Planner: FAQs

What Is a Company Retreat?

A company retreat is when a group or team has the opportunity to meet outside of working hours, at a different location. This can include a weekend away where there will be teambuilding and morale-boosting activities.

What Are the Benefits of Company Retreats?

The benefits of a company retreat are team building and boosting morale. Other benefits are to encourage innovation and spark creativity. 

How Do You Structure a Retreat?

The structure of a retreat should focus on the objective and goals set by the company. After stating clear and precise goals a budget must be drawn up. This will create set guidelines that will set the structure for the retreat. 

What Is the Purpose of a Company Retreat?

The purpose of retreats can differ between corporate businesses. The main idea behind a corporate retreat is to ensure that the team can connect outside of normal business hours and venue. This will ensure that they connect and learn more about each other and the business. 

Final Thoughts

Hiring a Corporate retreat planner is a great investment for a company. These professionals will ensure that all retreats achieve the goals and objectives while staying within the budget. These planners will create the perfect retreat that will lead to team building and a boost in morale and individual values.

Setting time for retreats can be tricky. Every individual has a different after-work schedule and tasks to complete. However, these retreats will strengthen the team if done on a regular base. Companies must take the time, invest in a planner and schedule a corporate retreat event

Sabine Ghali

Kelly Murphy


Certified Meeting planner with 20+ years of event management experience, founder of ConferenceSource, expert in meeting facility sourcing & contracting in North America, Europe, South America and Asia. Kelly will manage your budget as if they were her own, negotiating the best possible rate and hotel contract to benefit and protect every client and exceed all expectations for all planning aspects for sales meetings, educational meetings, product launches, incentive trips down to a small board of directors meeting. We make meetings easy understanding your meeting objectives and delivering meeting matched components.
Need Help Planning Your Next Corporate Event or Meeting?

After more than two years of working virtually or remotely, offices are filling up again as employers seek to bring their workforce back to the workplace in the hopes of fostering a healthy yet sustainable work-life environment. 

In the same breath, as work becomes more in-person again, leadership and executive retreats, a staple of the corporate world, have been reimagined to help companies and organizations tackle unique problems, brainstorm ideas, and help generate a forward-looking vision for the company. 

In the past, executive retreats were considered an expensive waste of company funds. Though the pandemic made it easier and a lot more affordable to take the retreat virtually, with the workplace now redefined and with younger generations filling up executive seats, the facilitation of a leadership retreat will need to be reimagined to help teams establish a dynamic, yet functional understanding of each other and the organization. 

What are Leadership Retreats for Executives?

Leadership retreats for executives have developed into several new formats over the last couple of years, as organizations look to make these getaways more valuable and sustainable for both participants and the company. 

More so, these retreats take place over several days, usually involving the CEO and executive team members convening outside the traditional office space. The time used on these retreats is typically allocated in a way to help teams become more connected and boost their natural abilities to support and understand the organization’s forward-looking goals. 

The last few years of the pandemic have brought to light that some companies and organizations have been pouring endless amounts of cash into executive leadership retreats that didn’t make a significant difference to their organizational structure or help them achieve their goals more effectively. 

Ever since, it has meant that companies have been cutting back on excessive spending on executive retreats, and introducing newer and more diverse team-building strategies. On the other side of things, it’s also true that when a company has a clear goal, and all employees can channel their productivity towards that goal, these retreats can become valuable getaways for not just executives, but mid and junior-level employees as well.

Why Organize a Company Retreat?

When starting a strategic planning retreats or organizing a company retreat, it would require you or any of the planners involved to consider the ‘why’ factor to help better understand the reasoning behind these excursions. 

These retreats should be seen as more than a paid getaway for employees or a break away from the company and the day-to-day activities of the business. More so, it should be considered a time when executives can effectively collaborate through meaningful conversations, and team-building exercises to boost company morale, and help to better understand the company’s forward-looking guidance. 

On top of this, it’s also worthwhile to consider how both the company and team objectives will be playing a big part in the overall success of the retreat. 

Company retreats should have a balance between work and play and depending on the size of the company, the budget, and the organizational structure, planners should set clear objectives right from the start to help them and the leadership team better understand what they want to get out of the excursion. 

Having a good enough reason that will support the company, its development, and improve cross-functional teamwork, and improve the overall decision-making process will better help planners and CEOs understand how to structure a company retreat and how it will bring more value to the overall company. 

Retreat Goals and Objectives

During the planning process, it’s important to have clear-cut goals and objectives that will drive the conversation before, during, and after the retreat. 

Not only that, but it’s also important to know the difference between having goals and objectives, and when strategic planning retreats, distinguishing between these two would help improve the outcomes and value metric of the retreat. 

Setting goals will help leaders better understand who their employees are, and how they can build on their skills or improve the qualities they already have. Goals may also include things like creating a more vibrant work culture, bringing leadership team members closer to one another, or what to look out for in future hires. 

Retreat objectives, on the other hand, may include aspects such as resolving a business issue or overcoming any challenge. Helping executive teams build a better sense of communication between each other while also forging better connections between members who are geographically dispersed. Objectives tend to look at what the team structure is, or project may be and how certain activities can help fine-tune or improve cross-functional teamwork. 

Once you have identified the primary goal and objective, planning becomes a lot easier. More so, it means that companies better understand how their employee’s function and what they require in the workplace to achieve overarching business goals. 

On-site vs Virtual Leadership Retreats

Planning a leadership retreat looks a lot different than what it did a few decades ago due to the advent of technology and the digital workplace. It’s now become a lot easier to have a leadership team join in on a retreat, even if they are not in the same location. Better yet, it’s also become a more affordable and sustainable solution for some businesses that are willing to host a retreat but do not necessarily have the financial resources to pay for elaborate employee getaways. 

When planning whether a retreat should be virtual or in-person, it mostly depends on the organizational structure, and whether team members will be able to converse in the same location if they are working remotely. 

For virtual-only retreats, it could help to create an event that suits all team members’ schedules, more so, it should also be at a suitable time that doesn’t necessarily interfere with their work or personal obligations. 

Hosting a virtual retreat is a more comfortable way of getting all team members involved, especially for those that are not directly in contact with any other members of the company. On the flip side, it might be considered that although these virtual retreats can offer a more sustainable business model, there are those members that would value in-person retreats every now and again to help boost focus groups and reinforce the company’s vision.

For on-site or in-person retreats, the case may be different, and this would require the company to have some resources already available to support and fund the employee getaway. On top of this, it would take a bit more planning and strategy building to ensure that the company and team members can get the most out of the money and time they have invested. 

The final decision, on whether on-site or virtual retreats are a more suitable choice ultimately comes down to budget, employee location, and preference. Additionally, it’s also important for planners and CEOs to take into consideration what employees want to get the most out of the retreat and how the company will be able to capitalize on these employee getaways. 

How to Plan a Retreat

The overall planning process requires a bit of ingenuity and research to ensure all employees’ needs are met, and that enough time is allocated to help employees resolve a specific problem or develop better cross-functional communication. 

During the planning process, it’s best to keep the goals and objectives of the retreat at hand, as this will help stimulate a better understanding of what to include in the retreat and how much value the company will be getting out of the employee getaway. 

Set a Goal and Objectives

As already mentioned, it’s important to have goals and objectives clearly outlined as this would make it easier for both planners and team members to understand what they can expect, and what might be expected of them after the retreat has come to an end. 

Have a Defined Budget

A budget will help to clearly outline the amount of resources the company has available to put together an employee retreat. More so, it’s a way for the company to curb irresponsible spending, and having a budget means that every member will get the best possible benefit from the budget spent on the retreat. 

Consider the Retreat Format

The next step is to consider the format of the event, which includes particulars such as the number of days, any specific dates, and whether it will be taking place on-site or virtually. Depending on the budget, each corporate retreat will look different and will consist of several activities. 

If you do require employees to attend an on-site retreat, it would mean that planners should consider the location, accommodation, transportation, and any other expenses that will help enhance the overall experience. It’s best at this stage to consider what the overall goals and objectives of the retreat are, and how the format can fit in with it. 

Consider Employee Schedules

Though several members will be attending the retreat, not all of them work on the same type of schedule, as some may have work or personal obligations they need to attend to. The best way to minimize excessive schedule or date changes is to send out a possible date of the retreat to employees who will be attending, and require them to approve or decline the chosen date. 

If you notice that more employees cannot attend, it’s best to start changing some dates around that could be more suitable for work and personal schedules. 

Choose a Location

If you end up planning an on-site retreat, start looking for places or locations. Remember that if you already have a budget at hand, you will be able to look for places within your range that also meet the primary goal of the retreat. In some instances, it would be best to choose a location based on where employees are located, as you also need to factor in transportation to and from the retreat. 

Keep Attendees Informed

Once most of the planning has been completed and a list of those that will be attending has been compiled, it’s important to keep employees well-informed leading up to the event. Make sure that all those attending know when and where the retreat is, what they can expect, and what the format of the retreat will look like. 

Additionally, you can include a rundown of the retreat and how activities will be scheduled. The best is to make sure that attendees have an idea of what they can expect and what is expected of them during this time to avoid disappointment.

Check Out 5 Tips for a Successful Leadership Retreat:

Leadership Retreat Ideas

Planning a leadership retreat is more than working on finding the right format for the company and those that will be attending. There’s also a part of the planning process that requires planners to think of activity ideas to help keep employees engaged at all times. 

Retreat Ideas for Small Groups

For smaller groups, it’s best to plan something a bit more intimate and relaxing, that does not require too much time or resources from the company. It can be something simple, like going for a company picnic, or even taking a hike at a national park. 

Small group retreats can also be more successful if the company organized an event that includes exciting activities such as a scavenger hunt, incorporating employee communication through an online escape room, or orchestrating activities that can help attendees think more creatively and effectively communicate. 

Retreat Ideas for Large Groups

Larger groups are often a bit harder to plan for, as this requires both a lot of resources and meticulous scheduling skills. For a larger retreat group, a getaway to a pre-planned location may be more suitable, as this brings attendees together in an intimate space, outside of the workplace. 

Another idea could be to invite a guest speaker, which can help to stimulate conversations around a specific topic or problem. For larger groups, it’s best to consider group-based activities that will divide attendees into smaller groups which can ultimately help them communicate more effectively, and get to know each other better. 

Leadership Retreat Agenda Sample

Planning the retreat agenda oversees several aspects of the company retreat and helps employees have a better idea of what will be expected of them during the retreat. 

On the agenda, you can include ice-breaker activities that will help to introduce employees to one another. It’s important also to include some skill-building sessions, which divide employees into smaller groups where they can get to know one another better. 

Activities that follow afterward could be more centered around a specific problem or project that requires employees to resolve either within their groups or individually. 

There should also be time allocated where employees are allowed to network with one another less professionally. In the same breath, working in some wellness activities can help employees feel more relaxed while their creativity is being stimulated. 

What to Bring to a Work Retreat

Packing for a retreat will never look the same for every person as it mostly depends on the event, the location, and what activities employees will be attending over the weekend. 

As a general guide, it’s best to pack the following: 

  • Formal and informal attire 
  • Bathroom toiletries 
  • Athleisure wear
  • Comfortable shoes 
  • Office supplies i.e. book and pen 
  • Electronics 
  • Any additional resources outlined in the retreat guideline


What Are 4 Strategies for Strengthening Teams?

– Having a thoughtful leader
– Ensuring and establishing a primary goal.
– Setting clear guidelines for completion
– Building open channels of communication

How Do You Facilitate an Executive Retreat?

Make sure to budget and plan properly, and be clear about the retreat objectives. Additionally, the schedule is key and requires planners to consider employees’ work and personal obligations. Be mindful of what is required of employees during this time, and ensure that there is a primary goal to help bring employees closer and forge better cross-functional communication. 

How Do You Run an Executive Retreat?

Consider what the needs of the company are and how the retreat will fit in with the company’s goals and objectives. Secondly, be mindful of the company culture and how this should play a part in the planning process. Make time for employees to relax, and ensure that each of them is comfortable while also making a direct contribution to the company’s goals. 

How Do You Structure a Leadership Retreat?

Be clear about what employees can expect and what will be expected of them before, during, and after the retreat. Have a well-thought plan that includes ideas from several aspects of the company, and ensure it aligns with the company goals. Be thoughtful of logistics and how employees will get to and from the event while prioritizing their accommodation and safety. 

Final Thoughts

 Facilitating a leadership retreat requires a lot of planning, and although it means that some aspects will make it harder than usual, it’s important to keep in mind what the outcome of the retreat will be. If there is a goal, and employees align themselves accordingly, leadership retreats can be successful, functional, and fun at the same time. 

Sabine Ghali

Kelly Murphy


Certified Meeting planner with 20+ years of event management experience, founder of ConferenceSource, expert in meeting facility sourcing & contracting in North America, Europe, South America and Asia. Kelly will manage your budget as if they were her own, negotiating the best possible rate and hotel contract to benefit and protect every client and exceed all expectations for all planning aspects for sales meetings, educational meetings, product launches, incentive trips down to a small board of directors meeting. We make meetings easy understanding your meeting objectives and delivering meeting matched components.
Need Help Planning Your Next Corporate Event or Meeting?

Team building activities have been part of corporate business for a long time. Companies use team-building activities to build a strong team that can work together to achieve the goals and objectives their company leaders created. Retreats and team-building experiences are great methods to ensure the team understands the goals and the action plans to achieve multiple goals and objectives.

Every successful retreat must have a retreat checklist. A retreat planning checklist is a set of tasks and activities that a corporate event planning team must complete before the actual retreat can occur. A checklist provides the entire team with a list of tasks that must be completed. The checklist will remind the team what tasks are done and which still need attention.

Retreats provide an amazing opportunity for companies of every shape and size. Small companies can use these retreats to build a strong foundation for the team. The retreat will provide them with time to focus on the way forward. All the problems can be confronted, and the small team can find creative ways to grow the business. 

What Are the Common Goals Of A Work Retreat?

There are many goals that a company can identify for various work types of retreats. It all depends on the employees and team members that will be present at the retreat. Companies will use retreats to recoup and energize a team.

The retreat organizer must work with the team to meet the desired retreat outcome and objectives. The company must determine firstly whether it is a retreat for employees or an executive retreat. The planning and focus will differ for the two groups. 

Another retreat goal is to ensure to build and connect team members. Strengthening the team through a retreat enables each member to connect and understand the other members.

Team managers and corporate leaders use retreats to identify critical issues and problems in a team or the company, which are assisted by a brainstorming session to ensure that they have action plans against the problems.

Coprotare leaders use retreats to bring all the stakeholders together to communicate the company’s past, present, and future. The entire retreat will discuss multiple facets and talking points within the company to ensure the stakeholders know the company’s future.

What Makes An Effective Retreat?

A few key factors must be present in every retreat to ensure they are practical and successful. These factors will allow the team to identify key problem areas and find workarounds to ensure the team and company can progress.

The first factor that must be present is that every individual must know why there is a retreat. The team leaders must explain the exact reason and goals they want to achieve through the retreat to ensure that the entire team is present and working towards that.

Another factor is to include team-building activities. Long walks in the woods or on the beach, cooking classes, or any other activities the team can complete together are critical. This will allow the team to relax and learn more about the team member. There must be limited office talk and much laughter.

According to Forbes, companies should create a relaxing environment with music, good food, and excellent chairs. However, the team should not have any agenda and take the entire event as it occurs. There must, however, be talking and conversation points that will be tackled when the team is ready.

Corporate Retreat Planning Checklist

Creating a corporate retreat planning checklist can be a daunting thought. Many retreat planners have built up the experience to assist companies in developing the best-suited checklist to ensure that the retreat includes everything that the company desires.

Pre-planning Checklist

A pre-planning checklist is a list of essential elements and talking points that the planner will prepare before they meet the corporate manager or retreat planner. This will allow the planner to provide the team with clear elements that must be present. 

  • Identify key topics such as budget, retreat venue, and goals that must be discussed at the planning meeting.
  • Determine the number of team members who are present at the future retreat.
  • Clarify the logistics, such as activities, meeting times, and transportation in and around the retreat venue and activities.
  • Find a creative method to receive feedback from attendees at the retreat. 

Check Out How to Run a Successful Company Retreat!:

Know Your Budget

The very first task on a checklist should be to create a budget. This will enable the planner to create a retreat that fits the company’s financial support. The planner will be able to identify elements and tasks included in the budget. 

  • Identify all the areas that will need financial support.
  • Create a maximum dollar value for each of the above mentioning areas.
  • Send the document to the company team for approval of the budget.
  • Adjust the budget if there are any areas or problems that the company found within the budget. 

Establish The Goals Of The Retreat

Every retreat must have specific goals that the company wants to achieve. Without goals for the retreat, the company will waste time and money on a short employee holiday that does not solve any problems or issues within the team or company.

  • Sit down with the company to identify the purpose behind the retreat.
  • Start with the end in mind, discuss the results that the team wants to achieve, and create activities and meetings around the goals for the event. 
  • Create SMART goals that will be shared with the entire team.
  • Ask the attendees questions about options of goals and objectives they want to set for the retreat. 
  • Write the goals down and ensure that the entire team has access to them throughout the retreat. 

Plan The Retreat Agenda

An agenda is a great tool to ensure the team knows the entire event. The agenda indicates the activities, meetings, food schedule, and other tasks that form part of the retreat. This will allow the team members to plan according to the agenda.

  • Identify the key tasks and activity types that must be present at the retreat. 
  • Determine how many of the types of events will be needed throughout the event. (Meetingsx2, Team building x 4 for example)
  • Spread the meetings over the entire retreat to ensure that every event is scheduled throughout the retreat. 
  • Add breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the agenda and resting times for all the attendees. 
  • Lastly, work through the retreat agenda and identify key issues that must be fixed. 
  • Ensure enough time with attendees to meet the retreat’s goals and objectives. 

Checklist In Picking a Venue

A retreat venue is critical for the success of a corporate retreat. The planner must have multiple options on the checklist of which the company can choose. This will allow the team to identify a retreat venue that presents all the activities, enough rooms, and other critical additions for the event. 

  • Use the budget to identify venue options suited for the retreat. 
  • Lavish and nice hotels can be included if it suits the budget. 
  • Display the potential locations of the company.
  • Identify critical off-site locations that can present the team with space for the activities and meetings presented throughout the retreat. 
  • The exciting location minimum requirements. 
  • Determine the size of the venue required to host the team. 
  • Identify the best-suited venue that can cover all the requirements. 

Checklist for Picking The Date

Determining the perfect date for the event will take time. The company must present the planner with the ideal dates. The dates must be communicated to all parties to ensure they can prepare and plan around the event date. 

  • Identify at least five dates that suit the team and the venue.
  • Determine which of the dates will suit both parties. 
  • Identify the duration of the entire retreat. 
  • Inform the team of the dates and ensure that all potential attendees are available and free.
  • Pick a date and write it down as the official date. 

Checklist for Transportation Planning

After determining the date and the venue, the planner must identify the transport arrangements for the event. Will every member drive to the event independently, will there be co-driving opportunities, or will the entire team receive transport in the form of a bus?

  • Where does the event occur?
  • Will the team drive independently, or will transport be provided?
  • Does the company have its own minibus or transport system?
  • If transport is included, will a bus or taxi be used to transport the group?
  • If a taxi is the best option, how many taxis will be needed?
  • Will there be traveling included at the retreat? Does the retreat include a traveling experience to an outdoorsy event at the retreat site?
  • If traveling is needed, will the retreat cover it, or should the planner organize transport for the team?
  • How often will the team need to travel for team-building exercises throughout the event?
  • After the event, How will the team return to the office or drop-off location?

Checklist to Productivity During Retreat

There must be specific plans, activities, and meetings that must occur within the productive retreat. The retreat planner must identify these tasks and appointments to ensure the event is productive and effective. The facilitators of the meetings are different from regular meetings. The aim should be to target key issues and problems beforehand and to ensure an engaging and productive session every time.

  • Determine what leads to a productive meeting.
  • Identify critical points in every scheduled meeting that will address issues and solutions for the event. 
  • Write down key issues and problems for every meeting. 
  • Create break-out rooms or smaller groups to discuss key issues and problems in the company.
  • Provide every team with the opportunity to communicate their findings. 
  • Open the floor to the team to ensure that every member has an opportunity to raise their concerns and solutions for the issues that come to light. 
  • Make sure that every individual has the opportunity to speak. 
  • End every meeting with a fun game or chat that will lighten the mood. 

Team Building Activities Checklist

Every effective retreat has activities throughout the corporate event. It is one of the critical factors that lead to the ultimate success of the company retreat. These must, however, be a variety of team-building retreat activities.

  • Identify the team members that will be present. 
  • Determine hobbies and leisure activities that every attendee enjoys. 
  • Research 10 activities that will be used as team-building sessions. 
  • Determine the best activities and if they are suited for the venue. 
  • Ensure that the sessions increase team morale.
  • Schedule all the sessions and share them with the team. 

Checklist For Food and Meal Plans

Planning food and meals for the entire event might be a difficult task at hand. The event planner must evaluate whether the members have food allergies or any food preferences. The menu will be created to ensure that every executive team member is catered for. 

  • Identify whether the location includes meals. 
  • Research potential caterers for the event. 
  • Determine the food preferences of the entire attending team.
  • Schedule a food tasting from the potential caterers.
  • Decide on the meals that will be included in the retreat.
  • Determine the menu for the entire retreat. 
  • Decide on the distribution and sharing of the meals


How To Structure a Team Retreat?

The first objective will be to clarify clear goals for the entire retreat. The company will work with the event planner to identify the goals. After that, the number of days, the type of venue, and the activities can be discussed to ensure they align with the retreat’s purposes.

What are Example Themes for a Company Retreat?

Comic-Con: Host a business retreat with a Comic Con theme to embrace the geek culture. Promote cosplay competitions, encourage staff members to dress as their preferred fictional characters, and offer chances for gaming, comic book discussions, and fan interactions.

Beach Bash: Hold the retreat near a beach and plan beach-themed events like sandcastle-building contests, beach volleyball matches, water sports, and a tranquil bonfire by the ocean.

Time Travel Trek: Host a retreat with a time travel theme to take your staff on a trip through time. Participants can learn about the company’s history by participating in activities and decorations that represent the many eras represented by each day.

Innovation Hub: Design the retreat as an innovation hub where staff members can collaborate on cutting-edge concepts and creations. Organize workshops, brainstorming sessions, and prototype activities to promote unconventional thinking.

Final Thoughts

Corporate retreats are a critical part that provides a platform for the entire company’s success. The Stakeholders and top management of the company must use a corporate retreat, not as a one-time event but as a regular occurrence, that will ensure that the executive team has the opportunities to deal with the major issues preventing the company from growing. Many corporate companies do not have the facilities or internal planners to organize these types of meetings. This, however, is the least of the problems. Corporate retreat planners can arrange, plan and lead the entire retreat.

Sabine Ghali

Kelly Murphy


Certified Meeting planner with 20+ years of event management experience, founder of ConferenceSource, expert in meeting facility sourcing & contracting in North America, Europe, South America and Asia. Kelly will manage your budget as if they were her own, negotiating the best possible rate and hotel contract to benefit and protect every client and exceed all expectations for all planning aspects for sales meetings, educational meetings, product launches, incentive trips down to a small board of directors meeting. We make meetings easy understanding your meeting objectives and delivering meeting matched components.
Need Help Planning Your Next Corporate Event or Meeting?