With travel restrictions, should retreats be canceled this year? Retreats are essential to building camaraderie within your business, planning your next year, and helping your various departments become more of a team. With a lingering fear of community spread, is there a way to still make retreats impactful without the breathing-droplets-on-each-other face-to-face interactions? Enter the “stay-treat” (a riff on the “stay-cation” where you take time off to finish projects at home or to just sit around.) The stay-treat can still be highly impactful while maintaining the safety of quarantine. There are three keys to an impactful stay-treat:
Quality Video Conferencing is Key
First, your business must already have widespread use of a video call service such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams with the ability to form breakout groups. This obviously requires all participants to have broadband internet, and equipment to handle this. I know what you are thinking, two days straight of zoom conferencing- no thanks! That is the challenge: how do you make the stay-treat engaging? The answer is one word, used by filmmakers and story-writers for decades: intrigue.
Intrigue is a Powerful Driver of Attention
Second, introduce intrigue in the form of a mystery box. For Clearview Social’s first ever Stay-treat, all employees received a large box in the mail with explicit instructions:
Do not open. The box was large, creating all sorts of curiosity not just from our employees, but from all the families (especially the children of employees) who wondered, what is in the mystery box?
As the day began, we started out with an ice-breaker asking employees to share one positive experience that has resulted from COVID-19, followed by reports from each department on their performance year to date. Then it was time to open the first box: Inside there was a $50 door dash gift card to buy their lunches for the two day retreat, a Clearview Social notepad and new ten-color pen for note taking.
In the next session our VP of Sales, Shawn Christensen shared feedback from an anonymous company survey that was basically a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis with feedback from everyone in the company. This led to some great conversations and was highly engaging.
Then it was time for box #2. We had asked in the SWOT questionnaire a bunch of seemingly random questions, one of which was “what is your favorite candy?” and the other was, “what is your favorite snack.” In box number two, employees received one of every candy and snack loved by their fellow employees.
By the end of the day we had completed a shark tank style competition. The purpose was to drive new ideas around a strategic initiative with participation from almost everyone in the company. My brother Cameron Dayton joined as a celebrity judge, which…