The Value of The Company “Retreat”
I spent last week with a company whose leadership insisted they take time out to participate in a week-long seminar. Their format was quite interesting: one day of discussion surrounding 2013 performance highlights and 2014 opportunities; two days of educational seminars focused on specific performance issues; and one and one-half days of developing an action plan based on best ideas of employees.
Many companies discuss the possibility of holding such an event – and quickly dismiss it. The expense is exorbitant – productivity is essentially halted for the week; the cost or bringing in employees from remote locations is expensive; there are logistical considerations that add to the cost; and an outside facilitator with the right skills to pull this off is essential.
What isn’t considered is the immeasurable value of holding such an event. There is no better way to fully engage employees than to provide education and opportunity for input. Employees who rarely have time to speak to each other are suddenly working together to develop a deeper understanding of company issues and to solve problems – problems they live with every day.
Another benefit is that company leaders are forced to examine performance from a different perspective. When plans, strategies, decisions, and results are openly and honestly discussed, employees develop loyalty and trust. Asking for input allows employees to be part of the solution, instead of part of the problem.
The company I worked with last week has been taking time out two times each year for the past four years to educate, report, ask, and listen. As a result, they have experienced phenomenal growth. Their employees do remarkable work in a highly dangerous and competitive industry. Even though some employees will see each other ONLY at these sessions, there is trust, dedication, and teamwork on every level. There is no question that these employees live the company values, trust the people they work for, constantly look for ways to improve, take care of each other, and are determined to make their company wildly successful.
Can you afford to take time out? Maybe your first time you will only do one or two days – but take the time. You must make time – but only if you are looking for astonishing success.