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What Our Employees Cared About Most At Our Company Retreat


Oct. 2018
26

Company retreats come in all shapes and sizes. Some are departmental, others are the whole company. Some are full of corporate bonding exercises, others are full of booze and spreadsheets. After our 4th company retreat as a small agency, we took a close look at what our employees found most valuable.

As you read this, keep in mind that we are a company of 10. That small number gives us some unique challenges and unique advantages, but we’re fairly confident that these few takeaways will be fairly applicable at any scale. Here’s what we found:



Listening Is Important

Before planning content each year, we survey the team to get an idea of what people want to hear about. Nothing crazy, just a simple Google form to get a pulse on what’s stirring in their heads. Every year, we’re surprised at some of the responses. There are priorities and perceptions that we never would have been aware of if we hadn’t simply asked. Sometimes what we think is obvious needs vocalized…

“Do we get maternity/paternity leave?” - FoxFuel Employee 3
(for the record, the answer is yes)

And sometimes what we think the team would find horribly boring is actually something they’re very much interested in. For example, this year, several people mentioned wanting a deep dive into financials. We’ve decided to take a pretty transparent approach and so we took an hour to look at the financials from the past couple years and projections into the next, giving everyone a clear understanding of revenue versus AGI and COGs and burn rate and how they’re all calculated. Had we not asked before planning our content, we would have assumed that our team would find that level of detail boring.



Vision (And The Reasons For It) Is Also Important

“Understanding why the partners have set certain goals or priorities helps me feel like I can participate on a deeper level. I’m not just doing what’s needed day after day, I’m contributing to a bigger picture.” - FoxFuel Employee 7

Nearly every employee mentioned vision-casting and/or goal-setting. They wanted to understand where our leaders are aiming in the next one, three, and five years and the role they play in achieving that.

They also appreciated taking a look at the clients with the most potential over the next year, and how we define “potential”. Financial potential is obviously a priority, but there are other ways we define value, like breaking into new industries or seeking out more high-visibility consumer opportunities. The conversation gave every member of the team the chance to step back and look strategically at our project mix.

 

Individuals Are The Most Important

A consistent theme that we’re really excited about (and pretty proud of) was the value placed on every individual’s role into the larger vision for FoxFuel. After spending the first half-day casting vision, we broke up into our three departments and spent time digging into each individual’s role at FoxFuel, focused on performance to date, celebrating wins, and goals for the future. We then came together and shared with the larger team.

“The opportunity to speak openly with my boss is awesome. I feel like that’s pretty rare and it’s definitely significant.” - FoxFuel Team Member #6

Now before you write this off as too time-consuming, consider the value that it has in developing loyalty and longevity. We worked with each employee to create a vision for them at FoxFuel, deeply investing in the individual as they invest in each other and in FoxFuel as a whole. We also spent some time preparing before the retreat to keep the conversation focused and efficient, which kept us from spiraling into plans for taking all or our clients to Atlantic City for Christmas or a public cage match with the Titans football team. Ok, maybe we spiraled a little.



Takeaways

  1. Survey the team prior to the retreat to gauge interest. Be sure to have at least one open-ended question, you’ll likely be surprised at the patterns that pop up.
  2. Spend time on the individual. Whether it’s celebration, goal setting, or just giving them space to be heard, investing in their future is investing in the company’s future.
  3. Prep in advance. Take time to plan and ask the rest of the team to do some thinking on the topics you’ll be covering prior to the retreat.

 

When all is said and done, it comes down to finding ways to identify what the team truly cares about. Creating an environment that invites them to participate in the vision that’s been cast in a valuable way will give you a team that’s passionate and invested in each other and the company. Also, taco bars and bourbon seem to be really effective.

 

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Privacy Policy

FoxFuel Creative operates the http://foxfuelcreative.com/ website.

This page is used to inform website visitors regarding our policies with the collection, use, and disclosure of Personal Information if anyone decided to use our website.

 

If you choose to use our website, then you agree to the collection and use of information in relation with this policy. The Personal Information that we collect are used for providing and improving the website. We will not use or share your information with anyone except as described in this Privacy Policy.

 

The terms used in this Privacy Policy have the same meanings as in our Terms and Conditions, which is accessible at http://foxfuelcreative.com/ , unless otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy.

 

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Our website does not address anyone under the age of 13. We do not knowingly collect personal identifiable information from children under 13.  If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your child has provided us with personal information, please contact us so that we will be able to do necessary actions to remove any identifiable information.

 

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We may update our Privacy Policy from time to time. Thus, we advise you to review this page periodically for any changes. We will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page. These changes are effective immediately, after they are posted on this page.

 

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Introduction

These Website Standard Terms and Conditions written on this webpage shall manage your use of this website. These Terms will be applied fully and affect to your use of this Website. By using this Website, you agreed to accept all terms and conditions written in here. You must not use this Website if you disagree with any of these Website Standard Terms and Conditions.

Minors or people below 18 years old are not allowed to use this Website.

 

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Other than the content you own, under these Terms, FoxFuel Creative, LLC and/or its licensors own all the intellectual property rights and materials contained in this Website. You are granted limited license only for purposes of viewing the material contained on this Website.

 

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You are specifically restricted from all of the following:

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In these Website Standard Terms and Conditions, “Your Content” shall mean any audio, video text, images or other material you choose to display on this Website. By displaying Your Content, you grant FoxFuel Creative, LLC a non-exclusive, worldwide irrevocable, sub licensable license to use, reproduce, adapt, publish, translate and distribute it in any and all media.

 

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In no event shall FoxFuel Creative, LLC, nor any of its officers, directors and employees, shall be held liable for anything arising out of or in any way connected with your use of this Website whether such liability is under contract.  FoxFuel Creative, LLC, including its officers, directors and employees shall not be held liable for any indirect, consequential or special liability arising out of or in any way related to your use of this Website.

 

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