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5 Ways to Elevate Your Team at a Corporate Retreat in Texas

5 Ways to Elevate Your Team at a Corporate Retreat in Texas

Corporate travel is a valuable investment for any company. It curtails loneliness and isolation and increases camaraderie and vital personal connections between teams that don’t see each other every week. However, it’s not just about feelings, as 34% of corporate travelers get their best ideas during business outings. 

In addition, 83% of employees cite corporate travel as a benefit or perk because it improves overall morale. That makes it vital for businesses that can’t offer the same compensation packages as big enterprises. 

With all of these positive effects in mind, the need for corporate retreats and travel is clear—the only thing still up in the air is where to go and how to make it as beneficial as possible. When you host a corporate retreat in the Texas Hill Country, you’re setting the stage for a memorable, productive, and enjoyable trip that’s ideal for business settings.

As your team starts planning the next corporate retreat, many of the objectives you’re looking for, from beautiful scenery to a wide range of customizable spaces, are solved in Fredericksburg.

Why Should Your Next Corporate Retreat Be in the Texas Hill Country?

One of the core tenets of modern work environments that many successful companies are prioritizing is work-life balance. The ideal space is a balance between hard work and relaxation, serious matters and recreation, and urban business parks and rural countryside. Make this theme a tangible part of your next corporate retreat by stepping outside of the city and into Texas’s gorgeous Hill Country for a natural backdrop perfect for deep conversations and team-building endeavors.

Some of the key advantages that a hill country corporate retreat location can bring are:

  • Breathing room: Getting outside of city environments, corporate offices, and home offices can help your team relax and enjoy each other’s company in a new context.
  • Set the scene for meaningful, productive interactions: Nature is linked to psychological restoration, creativity, and well-being. Your team can experience unbound creative bouts or regain their sense of drive in natural settings. Opt for locations with outdoor seating areas, woods with walking paths, and outdoor recreational activities.
  • Stay local: Corporate retreats are essential for bringing your team together, whether it’s your entire start-up team or the upper-level team of an Austin SMB or enterprise. But going to faraway destinations can be cumbersome. It can also feel like an excess luxury when your employees have concerns about inflation or the cost of living. Staying local and making the outing to the Texas Hill Country strikes the perfect balance. 
  • Impress out-of-state travelers with the Texas scenery: more and more businesses are moving to Texas, and Austin is one of the big contenders. Show out-of-state executives or other divisions how beautiful Texas can be to bring more of your company to the area.

How to Elevate Your Team at a Corporate Retreat in Texas: Top Tips

Once you’ve chosen a location for your corporate retreat, there’s still a lot of work to do to get the fullest possible benefit from every day of the event. Whether you’re planning a single-day outing or a multi-day retreat, figuring out the mission, goals, and activities ensures everyone can act with purpose while still having fun.

Tip #1: Set Goals Before You Arrive

Every corporate retreat should have a core purpose that shapes the goals and desired outcomes of the event. While there are supplemental activities and objectives, such as reflecting on the past year, strengthening the team, and welcoming new leadership, these should support the core focus. Reflect on what you want everyone to walk away with after the retreat. This may include:

  • Setting company-wide goals and having group input on how those goals will translate across departments
  • Creating the foundation for a sizeable organizational pivot
  • Developing a strategy
  • Breaking down silos that may disrupt productive business activities

Related: Where Nature Meets Style: Fredericksburg, TX Luxury Lodging

When you determine the goal, you’ll have a clear idea of who should attend and what activities should be on the agenda. However, don’t decide these goals alone. Discuss some of the most important areas of interest with the entire leadership team. Inform attendees about the key objectives and goals of the retreat.

Planning ahead and requesting group input can give everyone the opportunity to get into the right headspace, prepare for the topic, or propose slight revisions to the goals. They can also begin thinking about personal goals they may want to accomplish.

Tip #2: Involve Employees in the Fun Side of Decision-Making and Activity Brainstorming

When you can, involve attendees in the recreational side of planning the trip. Ask them what they’re interested in, what activities they like, and (just as importantly) what they immensely dislike. Involving employees early on makes the retreat that much more important and that much more of a reward. It’s a little like planning a vacation—the buildup of anticipation extends the trip’s mental and emotional value.

If your company is relatively new or if it has been a few years since you last put together a company retreat, getting others in on the brainstorming also makes the project more manageable. You can consolidate suggestions, fine-tune the itinerary, and gain confidence in picking suitable activities and team-building sessions based on the group’s interests and needs. 

Tip #3: Include Meaningful Professional Development and Inter-Company Networking Opportunities

Corporate retreats don’t have to focus solely on internal meetings and team building. You can also prioritize networking and career development. For single-day corporate retreats, hire expert speakers and subject matter experts. 

Attendees should have the option to break into groups based on the speakers and activities they’re most interested in. You can also use multi-day corporate retreats as mini-camps for new skills ranging from modern leadership styles to AI implementation. 

When members of your organization learn together, whether it’s a directly applicable skill or something on the periphery of everyone’s professional lens, they can bond and gain new perspectives on emerging topics. 

Tip #4: Reward Achievements—No One Should Leave Empty Handed

Whenever possible, use corporate retreats as opportunities to recognize your team’s accomplishments from the past year. A retreat is a time to acknowledge each other and celebrate. While there may be key participants you want to recognize because of momentous accomplishments that have already garnered a lot of corporate attention, dig deeper for significant accomplishments that each attendee played a role in. 

No one wants to go to a retreat, celebrate other people’s wins, and feel like their own contributions were ignored. Look for critical events that were averted by your cybersecurity team, significant savings and expense reductions from your procurement team, and so on. This makes everyone feel appreciated—it will also inform attendees of the less visible wins other teams provide.

Tip #5: Have Unstructured Time Every Day (Preferably in the Evenings)

Good corporate events are measured by more than just their deliberate team-building sessions, HR-approved exercises, or strategic conversations. Their success and lasting memories are often defined by everything around those structured time blocks. Set out intentional, unstructured time blocks every day for participants to relax, bond, and form more authentic connections.

Ideally, save these unstructured sessions for after dinner to gain these benefits:

  • The day is cooler but still sunny, so everyone can participate in their preferred indoor or outdoor activities.
  • Introverts can relax after being “on” all day in new social situations outside their comfort zones.
  • There’s a natural feeling of relaxation after the day’s work is done.
  • Work crises will happen, even during the best-planned retreats. This breathing room allows executives to catch up on emergency work (without being glued to every incoming email as they would during the day). 
  • The evening eliminates the sense of rushing or frantically getting ready for the day.

Related: Corporate Team Building in Texas: 7 Ideas for Outdoor Retreats

It may be hard to let go and not pack practical or fun events into every second of the itinerary. But anticipating that things will run over, people will be tired, and that genuine connections are strengthened by leisurely get-togethers will make your retreat much more enjoyable.

Pro Tips for Managing the Retreat

Are you the primary mover and shaker for this corporate retreat? If so, it’s especially important for you to have a clear vision of what outcomes you’re hoping for throughout the retreat and once everyone returns to work. Facilitate that vision with these key tips. Leaders can bolster and support their teams if they keep the following in mind:

  • Include Interesting Activities for Everyone: Part of the value of corporate retreats is that everyone gets to unwind and display a bit of their personality that usually doesn’t come through in virtual meetings or mass emails. This means employees will have different interests and want to spend time on various activities. You might have birdwatchers, hikers, wine enthusiasts, or history buffs. So make sure there are open windows with different events scheduled—and deliberately make them conflict with each other. When people don’t have time for everything, they’ll pick their favorite things, and that means bonding with coworkers they might not have otherwise ever spent time with. You can break up the department- and familiarity-based subgroups and shake things up.
  • Extend Deadlines for Everyone (Even Those Not at the Retreat): Even short corporate events are interruptive, whether your whole team is attending or not. People will be excited during the days before the event, and they might need some time to resettle afterward. So, work with every affected department to ensure deadlines are extended. Even people not attending the event will need a little extra time so they aren’t waiting on absent decision-makers.
  • Be Prepared to Be Vulnerable First: A lot of the value in corporate retreats lies in building connections and communicating authentically. However, that can be antithetical to many corporate personas. If you want your other attendees to feel comfortable with heavy subjects or potential risks, it’s up to the leaders to take the plunge first. But it doesn’t all have to be on you. It’s okay to have a small pre-meeting with other leaders and figure out how to springboard conversations and exercises.
  • Incorporate the Location: Don’t just travel for travel’s sake—otherwise, you could have flown the team out to any standardized hotel and spent time in conference rooms and restaurants. Instead, pick a unique location and get as much value out of that venue as possible. In luxury camps around Fredericksburg, for example, you can have informal meetings around a firepit, take an easy hike to the summit of a hill, and visit the nearby vineyards. This makes the corporate retreat one of a kind instead of rote or forgettable.
  • Plan Early: If you’re an experienced corporate event planner, you already know just how long planning big events can take. But even with a practical, methodical approach, a lot of the details can pile up at the very end. Start planning the retreat as soon as possible, including finalizing the location, booking rooms, and arranging any consultants, programs, or guest speakers. Taking charge and creating definite plans eliminates wavering back and forth and allows participants to get more excited about the concrete details.

Make Your Corporate Retreat in Texas Count

In the midst of virtual meetings and remote work, a well-planned corporate retreat is more vital than ever. Choosing the right venue, planning the right events, and creating the right atmosphere will set the stage for a productive year ahead. At Camp Hideaway, we host corporate events in the middle of Fredericksburg’s Texas Hill Country, a short two hours away from Austin. Bring your team for a day of corporate events or for a multi-day retreat at our 25-acre location, featuring a big conference center, plenty of lodging, and outdoor spaces. Book now to start planning your next corporate retreat in the perfect backdrop of the Texas Hill Country.

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