Any organization that makes team cohesion a priority should be applauded for their efforts. Making an investment in a team building retreat takes courage and a sizeable commitment to ensure the retreat’s success. Being proactive gives the organization leverage to prevent unnecessary complaints, employee disengagement, and other workplace performance challenges.
Most effective programs are prompted by an organization being proactive and addressing team challenges when they are first identified. Specifically, effective team building initiatives share similar characteristics which are described below.
Championed by senior leadership: Managers should be engaged before the actual retreat and given the opportunity to share their expectations. Before the first day of the retreat, leadership should create and be well-versed in communicating the business case and their expectations of a successful experience.
Long-term: How an organization deals with developing teams is usually part of its culture. Changing organizational culture is a long-term effort that will not happen as a result of one or two workshops or even a retreat. A comprehensive reinforcement plan is essential to the success of the initiative.
Customized for the organization’s culture and learners’ needs:The retreat needs to be designed based on the specific group needs. The same intervention that works effectively in a different organization could make things worse in another one.
Utilization of experiential methods: The retreat needs to be designed to incorporate realistic and work-related scenarios/case studies which lead to greater team relevance and will more likely have long-term attitude and behavior changes once team members return to the workplace.
Comprehensive skill development: Team success is related to many skill areas, such as conflict resolution, communications, and emotional intelligence. Each of those skills needs to be cultivated, customized, and reinforced in every aspect of workplace operations. Knowledge, skill-building, and attitude development competencies need to be considered.