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

Corporate retreats may be a more traditional idea, but they’re certainly not outdated. In the era of remote work and hybrid work models, in-person collaboration and face-to-face meetings at a corporate retreat in Texas are more essential than ever, especially among your organization’s key stakeholders. 

One study found that 81% of surveyed millennials believe that in-person face-time is critical for getting work done more productively. An annual corporate retreat is a great way to build that face-to-face connection while still meeting the virtual flexibility demands of the modern workforce.

Offsite corporate retreats bring in your key company actors from across the Austin area—or even from across the country. You might be meeting together for the first time, reestablishing old connections from before the pandemic, or dedicating a solid block of time to getting the foundation of your business ready for the rest of 2023 and the first half of 2024. 

A corporate retreat in Texas can get your team ready to launch an exciting new path forward, but it’s just as important to prepare for the event as it is to have the event. In this quick guide, we’ll explore our recommendations for elevating your team. Make sure your next retreat is filled with transparent communication, rewarding experiences, and a meaningful connection with these ideas.

Why Should Your Next Corporate Retreat in Texas 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: a balance between hard work and relaxation, serious matters and recreation, 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 to deep conversations and team-building endeavors. Some of the key advantages that a countryside 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 significantly linked to psychological restoration, creativity, and well-being. Your team can experience unsurpassed 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 an essential exercise 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 Texas Hill country strikes the perfect balance. 
  • Wow out-of-state travelers with the Texas countryside: 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.

Related: Corporate Events

How to Elevate Your Team at a Corporate Retreat in Texas: Our 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 of the retreat ensure everyone can act with purpose while still having fun.

Above all else, prioritize elevating your team. While there may be serious meetings and strategic conversations on the itinerary, focus on building interpersonal connections and trust. With that foundation, your team will be stronger for the weeks, months, and even years after you all pack your bags and go back to the office.

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 large organizational pivot
  • Developing a strategy
  • Breaking down silos that may disrupt productive business activities

When you determine what the goal is, you’ll have 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 whole leadership team. Then inform attendees about the key objectives and goals of the retreat. This 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: Create Authentically Safe Spaces for Open and Transparent Communication

Many retreats center around the core goal of team building and creating trust between colleagues who don’t often work together. Some team-building activities will be icebreakers, cooperative games or exercises, and simple opportunities to chat in a relaxing environment. 

However, a multi-day corporate retreat may involve deeper conversations about revenue, the future of the company, and the role of individuals within the organization as it continues to change. You may be discussing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals, past liabilities, mistakes that cast a shadow over the year, or even downsizing concerns. These conversations are necessary but can go awry—or remain too surface-level—without the right preparation.

Open the door for clear, honest communication. You can do this by sharing an agenda with attendees before the retreat so they know what conversations will be happening. Also, encourage participants to freely bring up negatives and concerns with helpful conversation structures and tools to frame talking points, so contentious topics are brought up without risk or accusation. Done correctly, attendees will feel free to speak their minds and know there won’t be repercussions.

Another helpful strategy for guiding conversations is building in frameworks for reflecting after a conversation, responding constructively, and transforming those conversations into actionable takeaways. Do the prep work now (whether that’s printing materials, bringing in a third-party speaker, or providing a detailed itinerary) to get value out of every conversation.

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

Corporate retreats don’t have to be just about 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, and have attendees 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 this as an opportunity 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. So look for critical emergencies that were averted by your cybersecurity team, big 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: Set the Foundation for Work-Life Balance During and After the Retreat

A popular theme for professionals across every level of the org chart is work-life balance. Not only can a strong work-life balance make working professionals more productive, but companies that make it a big part of their company culture see more engaged, loyal employees. Make your retreat serve as a memorable signpost for a healthy work-life balance by providing a mix of work-focused and recreational activities. 

Related: Camp Hideaway FAQ

This is why it’s important to choose the right venue for your retreat. You don’t just want to pick a hotel with a conference room in your local downtown area. Instead, find a space that provides new experiences, focuses on active recreation, and surrounds your team with nature. They’ll enjoy some collaborative or competitive outdoor games, opportunities to sit and chat around a fire, or simply watch the sunset from a brand new view. 

Pro Tips for Managing the Retreat

Are you the main 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. In our experience, leaders can bolster and support their teams if they keep these three things in mind:

  • Don’t Bring Bad News, But Don’t Dodge Bad News: Everyone wants a retreat that is uplifting, motivating, and relaxing. So all of your events should bring positive energy to the forefront with constructive exercises and topics. However, not everything will be positive, and that’s a good thing. You want your team to feel comfortable bringing up concerns, liabilities, and company worries—and you don’t want to wave away those concerns to keep the mood light. 
  • Extend Deadlines for Everyone (Even Those Not at the Retreat): Even short corporate events are interruptive, whether your whole team is coming or not. People will be excited in the days before the event, and they might need some time to resettle afterward. It’s also crucial that attendees are doing as little day-to-day work as possible. So work with every affected department to ensure deadlines are extended. Even people not at the event will need a little extra time so they aren’t waiting on absent decision-makers. You also don’t want the positive aftereffects of your retreat immediately eroded by full inboxes.
  • Be Prepared to Be Vulnerable First: A lot of the value in corporate retreats is in building connections and communicating authentically. However, that can be antithetical to a lot of corporate personas. If you want your other attendees to feel comfortable with heavy subjects or potential risks, you have 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.)

Make Your Corporate Retreat in Texas Count

Is it time for a corporate retreat? 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, just two hours away from the middle of Austin. Bring your team for a day of corporate events or for a multi-day retreat at our 25-acre location with a big conference center, plenty of lodging, and outdoor spaces. Contact us today to book your retreat.