The importance of a corporate retreat
Corporate retreats can be of any type, such as a sport retreat, or a seminar-style retreat. They are to promote a feeling of teamwork and to build a better understanding among company employees. Corporate retreats can also help employees gain some problem-solving skills that lead to better teamwork and better overall productivity.
These team-building activities focus on events where everyone has to work together to reach a common goal. The examples are river rafting, rock climbing, mountain climbing, everyone hiking blindfolded while holding on the same rope, team scavenger hunts, friendly competitions between company departments, etc.
Corporate retreats can be customized to fit the company's need. They can make the employees learn about what the temporary retreat goals are, as well as the long-term results that the company is striving for.
Do you believe that team-building activities such as mountain climbing increase productivity? Why or why not?
We do believe that team-building activities such as mountain climbing increase productivity. We can find several evidences from the case study given. Firstly, according to Howard Atkins, chief financial officer at Wells Fargo, the company earned double-digit gains in earnings as an effect of corporate retreats.
Secondly, according to Merianne Liteman, a professional corporate retreat organizer:"Where good retreats have a quantifiable effect is on retention, on morale, on productivity." Daryl Jeperson, CEO of RE/MAX International, also said that there is a productivity boost anytime you have one of these. People feel better about themselves, they feel better about the company, and as a result they will do a better job.
Why corporate retreats can increase productivity? This is because organizations can derive some valuable skills from corporate retreats. These skills include team spirit, problem-solving, leadership, innovation and creativity.Team Spirit
Corporate retreats promote a feeling of teamwork among company employees. Take the example from the case study, Wells Fargo organized a corporate retreat where the employees had to build a bridge out of boxes and unstable wooden planks. The employees are working towards a common goal which is building a bridge. This will get them to see the power of acting like a team. They will be able to understand success in each activity depends more on teamwork than individual effort. Under the pressure of reaching a difficult goal, each individual undergoes rapid growth. This growth occurs in group efforts then enhancing the relationships between employees. Employees become connected by shared experience. They share commitment and help form one another. Trust can also be built through corporate retreats.Problem-solving
The second skill gained from corporate retreats is about problem-solving. Take rock climbing as the example. Rock-climbing is a problem-solving in the vertical world. We can see varying degrees of linear thinking skills, pre-planning skills, impulsivity vs. thoughtfulness, decision-making skills, focus and concentration, frustration, tolerance, self-confidence vs. insecurity, introversion vs. extroversion, emotional ability, risk-taking vs. caution, and the list goes on. Rock climbing offers the added mental element of continuous problem-solving in the midst of a physical workout. The climbers attempt to ascend a selected route without falling. Through rock climbing, they can be trained on those skills.Leadership
Through corporate retreats like mountain climbing, rock climbing, river rafting, etc. individuals gain an awareness of faith in their own ability to lead and follow. They have opportunities to test their ability in critical group decision-making and thereby become more confident leaders. Besides, team building events often allow people who are not usually in charge at work to take the reins and direct their teams. This can not only help them work on their leadership skills but also give them a better understanding of what it means to be a leader. The result of this is that they can have a better understanding of their superior's working situations. They can also aid communication channels within the workforce.Innovation and Creativity
Another skill derived from corporate retreat is innovation and creativity. Employees are more able to think out of the box outside the working environment. In outdoor settings, they are taken out of their 'comfort zone' and immerse in a changing environment. By handling new circumstances, team learns to turn problems into opportunities for success. Each challenge mastered is a satisfying achievement that prepares them for even more opportunities. Besides, some team-building activities may require innovation and creativity. For example, Wells Fargo's corporate retreat is about building a bridge out of boxes and unstable wooden planks. In this case, in order to build a better and safer bridge with those limited resources, the employees need to be innovative and creative.
Corporate retreats have negative side too. From the case given, we know that Burger King's corporate retreat in 2001 is a failure. A dozen Burger Kings employees burned themselves while participating in a fire walk-a team building exercise that requires teammates to walk barefoot across an 8-foot pit of burning-hot coals. The results were injured employees and some very negative publicity for Burger Kings. The concept of this corporate retreat was that when the employees experience humiliation together, they will feel bonded. In fact, organizations should steer away from ridiculous physical challenges, and then they can get benefits from corporate retreats.
In conclusion, team-building activities can increase productivity because organizations can derive valuable skills from corporate retreats.2.0
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