If I may understate! The world of work has undergone significant changes over the last few years.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to adopt remote working practices, and the hybrid model has become increasingly the norm. Certainly the majority of the roles we hire via Hyperion Executive Search and Fully Charged Recruitment are Hybrid or Remote, as we have become too. While this has certainly allowed for greater flexibility and work-life balance, it has also presented new challenges, such as maintaining team culture and connections. Based on some of our clients feedback, and our own experiences, I thought I’d share some of the benefits of team retreats and get-togethers for building and maintaining team culture and connections and rewarding and retaining employees, especially for companies and teams in remote or hybrid work environments.

Connection and communication in Teams

Connection is essential to any high performing team. It fosters trust, communication, collaboration and a sense of mission, all of which are necessary for achieving common goals. When team members are working remotely, it can be easy to feel isolated and disconnected from the team, no matter how great a Teams or Slack set up you have. This can lead to a lack of motivation, a decrease in productivity, and even burnout. And being remote, these things can be invisible, until bad things and thoughts are already impacting your company. Team retreats and get-togethers can help combat this by providing an opportunity for team members to come together in person and build deeper connections. So much data points to connection as key contributor to happy employees and talent retention.

Open and honest communication is the foundation of any successful team. When team members are working remotely, communication can be more challenging, especially if they are in different time zones or have limited opportunities to connect. Team retreats and get-togethers provide an opportunity for team members to communicate face-to-face and build stronger relationships, leading to improved communication and collaboration when team members return to their remote work environments.

Shared Culture

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Team retreats are also an excellent way to build and maintain shared culture. Shared culture is the values, beliefs, and behaviours that are unique to a particular group of people. In a work context, this includes the mission and purpose of the business, as well as the way things are done within the team. When team members are working remotely, it can be challenging to build and maintain shared culture. However, by coming together in person, team members can engage in team-building activities that reinforce shared culture and values. From our own, and from client feedback, contrived team-building exercises can feel exactly that, contrived. Lean in and listen to the team, try new things definitely, but ask the team, think about who you are as a business. Whilst raft building or escape rooms may work for some, they may be ‘cringe’ to others.

Connection to the Mission and Purpose

Finally, team retreats and get-togethers can help team members connect with the mission and purpose of the business they work for.

This is a massive opportunity. Companies in cleantech think of ourselves a purpose and mission driven, and in the vast majority of cases that is true. But it is also true, from what we see, that there is often a disconnect between what the founders/leadership team understand as their values and mission, and that their team understands of it.

When team members truly understand and feel connected to the mission and purpose of the business, they are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and committed to achieving their goals. Team retreats and get-togethers can provide an opportunity for team members to learn more about the mission and purpose of the business and how their work contributes to it. This is vital. Everyone has to know their contribution and be valued for it.

Increased Creativity

Oh I wish everyone could see the importance of creativity in any business, especially start-ups and scale-ups. It’s the lifeblood, and it is absolutely not just the domain of the founders and the leadership team. On the contrary, if you don’t unlock the creativity in your team, not only do you miss out significantly on great ideas, but you will also lose talent. Creative people can’t stay long stifled of an opportunity to share ideas and thoughts. The ideation sessions at our retreats are my most enjoyable moments, and they have consistently produced great ideas we implement, and share the feedback to the team as to what we have, and what we haven’t acted on, and why.

Improved Well-Being

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We’ve all been there. Working remotely can have a negative impact on well-being, we don’t switch off, work too many hours, let ourselves be constantly ‘on’ and available, and forget to take time away from the screen. It can also be isolating, and it can be challenging to separate work and personal life. Team retreats and get-togethers can provide an opportunity for team members to take a break from work and focus on their well-being. Whether it’s hikes in the open air, mindfulness sessions, Yoga, or just some chill time, don’t make your retreat too busy. Leave time for informal time together, don’t be too structured all of the time. At our last retreat the Games room, pool, and a walk to the pub were some of the least ‘planned’ but most fun and relaxing.

Cost vs Value

This takes a mindset of value and investment. So often in corporations, or in any business where quarterly results are the only measure of success or progress, hiring great people, training, mentoring and looking after good people is measured as a cost. With no thought or understanding of the cost of not doing so. Yes, people can be your biggest cost, they are also your biggest asset. For the best future of your business, double down on your investment in great people.

If you don’t feel your people are worth investing in, you have the wrong people on your bus, or you have the wrong mindset. Either way, the Hyperion Cleantech Group can help you put that right.

Enjoy your retreats!

David Hunt