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Work retreat

One simple way to address three employee needs

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postedSeptember 7, 2021
Michelle Carlen
Michelle Carlen

The tourism industry continues to push through for recovery during its rocky road of the last 18 months. When you share optimism and attention with not only your customers, but also with your employees, you can hope for smoother sailing next year and beyond. How, you ask? By supporting your employees to ensure they deliver on the product and service that your customers desire.

As a former tourism industry veteran and newly turned entrepreneur/business owner, one aspect I love about my business is the collaborative work I do with organization leaders and their teams to create a stronger workplace culture. Recently I had the opportunity to facilitate two separate in-person staff retreats. 

In observing both organizations’ leaders (each equally incredible and at the top of their game), I was reminded that a successful boss possesses one critical trait: Effective leaders understand that by being open to identifying and fulfilling the needs of their employees, it makes them a better leader, while translating into overwhelming growth and success in business and beyond.

So, how do you help your employees reach a transformative state that pushes your business into unfamiliar territory? Through a well-planned staff retreat. A properly run staff retreat will address three key needs: 



1. The need for connection

Your staff retreat should provide a setting and forum to connect with peers and leaders. During this pandemic, many teams have not been able to come together, except virtually. If, and when possible, I believe meeting in person and safely (outdoors or distanced) can help team members create a shared experience and enhance relationships. Connecting and being connected is critical, especially if you feel that much of your life is spent either at work or working. Connecting out of your traditional office environment allows each person to show their personal side and paints a more holistic picture of who makes up your team.

2. The need to feel heard and understood or cared for

Often in the office environment, you and your team are on “autopilot,” managing a list of to-dos and trying to meet goals. Being on autopilot does not always allow opportunities for individuals to express how they are feeling in the moment, which can cause frustration to build. Your retreat can serve as a safe environment for each person to be heard, understood, and cared for.

3. The need to feel appreciated and valued

Employees thrive in acknowledgement of a job well done, or at times when their leader acknowledges not-so-perfect conditions or situations. Everyone on your team is part of an ecosystem, and the ecosystem responds collectively to how each person receives appreciation and value—not just what they do in their job, but who they are. Your retreat can be an ideal time to celebrate wins and acknowledge areas for improvement. 

You may think it is too time-consuming to create and run a successful business retreat, or you may not want to have one again if a previous retreat did not produce positive results. But if you want to lead your team to achieve its potential, you can plan a staff retreat that’s transformative by meeting the three needs of your employees.

Michelle Carlen, veteran hospitality and tourism industry executive, is the founder of Alignment Advising, a boutique business consulting and professional development coaching agency. Alignment Advising supports organizations and professionals in creating actionable plans that identify, navigate, and overcome roadblocks in business and along their career path.

Top photo: ©Monkey Business/Adobe Stock