Forget “trust falls” and boring workshops. Your best employees have already heard all the tips and advice from the greatest keynote speakers. And, within top companies, even the most exotic locales aren’t enough to make executives feel good about spending time away from their families during a corporate retreat.
Inspire creativity and camaraderie in your employees instead by getting creative with your corporate team-building events, and they will reward you with improved morale, better teamwork, and a healthier outlook.
1. Trade the Rat Race for a Foot Race
J.P. Morgan Chase Co. formed the Chase Corporate Challenge in 1977, when America was on the cusp of a running boom, and it has grown by leaps and (running) bounds ever since. The 3.5-mile race, typically held in the centers of busy metro areas, is designed for busy executives who may not be able to spare a weekend for a marathon but can run a few miles instead of attending happy hour with co-workers. Teams large and small (the minimum is four people all from the same company) forge connections that carry back to the office and often result in increased productivity and cross-department communications.
2. Challenge Your Employees’ Speed & Strength
If you run the HR department of a company full of millennials or athletic types, running on flat ground may seem sort of unadventurous. The Spartan Race promotes “the best corporate team building activities you will ever experience.” From the beginner-focused “Sprint” of 3+ miles and 15+ obstacles up to the “Beast,” designed for a company of true athletes, the Spartan will encourage your employees to work together, push their own physical and mental limits, and conquer any challenge that comes their way. Once your workers have successfully scaled a 20-foot wall, filing TPS reports will feel like child’s play!
3. Let Your Employees Get Their Happy On By Volunteering
Studies show that doing good for others actually makes people happier. So why not give your employees the opportunity to feel good, to bond in a common experience and, as a happy side effect, earn some positive PR for your company?
Each year, Rockleigh, NJ-based technology manufacturer Crestron participates in the “Bag a Lunch, Help a Bunch” fundraiser to benefit Table to Table, a community-based food rescue organization that serves New Jersey. Corporate activities include a hot dog and bake sale, which gives employees a chance to share lunch together during a busy time of year while earning money for a good cause.
You might also volunteer in a soup kitchen, collect toys for children during the holidays, or get everyone together for a few hours after work and package supplies for our troops overseas.
4. Put Your Employees’ Imaginations to Work
Only Make Believe provides a unique service to children’s hospitals – bringing in actors and handmade costumes and putting on an interactive play for the kids. If you’re local to New York or Washington, D.C., your company can join the list of more than 5,000 volunteers from prestigious organizations like Google, LinkedIn, Disney, and Kohl’s in creating costumes for the children, throwing a cast party at a hospital, or even hosting a special performance at your office in an altruistic twist on “Take Your Child to Work” day.
5. Get Sweaty on Dominica Island, Caribbean
We did imply that location isn’t everything when it comes to a corporate retreat. But when the location is Jungle Bay, Dominica Island, Caribbean, it does count for something. The eco-friendly, cliff-side conference and meeting facility overlooking the Atlantic inspires creativity and outside-the-box thinking, along with a renewed sense of focus, according to the retreat’s website. If that isn’t unique enough, make a trip to the on-site spa and yoga classes part of the agenda. Who wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing their ideas with others in a staff meeting after they’ve joined them in a “downward dog” pose?
Once you think beyond the hotel conference room and buffet, you could come up with dozens of new ways to spark creativity and inspire teamwork. From the athletic to the artsy, pinpoint your company culture and then revel in the excitement of announcing a corporate team-building event sure to elicit cheers.