We have the opportunity to learn from several businesses across the world on how they approach team building and in-person operating through corporate retreats and regular offsites. As the workforce evolves into a hybrid model of in-person and virtual interactions, the need to hold a regular cadence of in-person meetings is paramount. The feeling and ROI after a well-executed in-person gathering is acute. Team members are more motivated, work performances increase, and greater loyalty to the company endures. How does a company decide on their in-person gatherings? What are they called? How much focus should be put into team building versus company building? These are all important questions we have the privilege to work through each day with our customers. Regardless of your specific goals and objectives it is important we understand the difference between vital nomenclature of these in-person gatherings and what is expected from both. The two main buckets of in-person gatherings include: Company Offsites and Corporate Retreats. Let’s dive into each one and the differences between them.

Company offsites tend to be less formal with several non-core business functions attached to the agenda. Oftentimes family members are included whether that is spouses and children. Locations tend to include areas that offer several activities for the team members that produce camaraderie and trust. Ideal locations for offsites that we have found significant success include: Savannah, GA, Orlando, FL, Nashville, TN, Chicago, IL, and Cancun, MX,

Corporate retreats are more focused on the business and the operational goals set forth by the company. Locations often include a city where there is an existing physical corporate presence or an environment conducive to easy travel and accessible conference and office space. Typically corporate retreats do not include family members. The agenda is geared more towards operations and professional development. Corporate retreats offer an ideal opportunity to bring in industry experts and speakers to educate and galvanize the team.  

What about the hybrid model of combining both a company offsite and corporate retreat? We have seen this occur with tremendous success. The location selection is imperative to providing facilities required to get real work done while also keeping the optionality open for team building and recreation. Oftentimes, additional family members will join as the corporate retreat turns into a company offsite. 

Frequency of Company Offsite versus a Corporate Retreat? 

Frequency for corporate retreats will depend on the size of the company and team, as well as the existing nature of your company’s workforce – whether majority of team members are remote, in-person, or a likely hybrid. However, we’ve found that at least two corporate retreats a year with your direct team is the minimum requirement needed to foster relationships and connectivity with team members to ensure sincere motivation, strong communication, and imperative bond building.

Frequency for company offsites also depends on company size and team, and more specifically if the entire organization will be joining in the offsite. The overall budget for company offsites tend to be larger as they normally include more people and often additional family members. Regardless, best practices we’ve experienced with elated customers included at least one major, company-wide offsite a year and then, depending on the size of the team and company, one or two more sprinkled throughout the year. 

Overall, getting together for in-person gatherings is one of the most valuable uses of company time and resources. Delineating whether that in-person gathering will be a corporate retreat or a company offsite will depend on the corporate and company objectives, however, doing neither will result in lower employee morale, less connectivity, and decreased company loyalty. Scheduling, planning, and executing your company’s offsite or corporate retreat is vital in today’s world of the hybrid workforce.