The events experienced yesterday by every member of Southerly have changed my view of company away days forever. Until then, my impression of such corporate days conjured up the image of an inflatable bungee run game. The object of the game is that two inebriated participants are strapped to a bouncy castle-style structure and must attempt to run as far from it as possible before the elastic cord suddenly, and violently, pulls one back. Hilarity, and whiplash, ensues.
That wasn’t actually a company away day at all; it was an ex-boss’s stag party. So basically an extension of Friday night drinks. But the impression that company away days are a justifiable reason for everyone to get collectively drunk on the corporate credit card remains.
Not so, however, if you do it right. And on reflection I realised I hadn’t ever experienced it done right.
Yesterday, this creative content agency had its company away day and we are immeasurably stronger for it. Not least because not one drop of alcohol was consumed.
As such, this blog presents the true motivational benefits of a company away day. Like, a proper one:
1 Painting the big picture
A company away day puts everyone’s contributions into a wider context, which is as much a benefit for the team as it is for the leader or CEO.
As our own director Shelley Hoppe puts it: “My role is to be involved in directing everything that goes on in the company, but it would be ridiculously time-consuming to keep everyone updated about everything all the time. There are all sorts of things going on that only pockets of people know about. I love taking my team away for a strategy day because it allows me to show everyone what I’ve been working on – all the different initiatives that go into running and growing a company.”
2 A collective drive
An away day is as much a look at what’s happened so far as it is a vision of the future. It’s a chance, for example, for the financial back-end of your company to come to the fore and show everyone the path that everyone’s on. It’s a chance for the CEO to share their vision, new company goals and express how the team will help to achieve this. It’s a chance to renew with informed team targets, and flesh out future action plans without the distraction of constantly pinging emails and phone calls.
3 Establishing new niches
Finding out the array of skillsets available to you on your team can be a major eye-opener for some; better still is to apply all this to one niche area. With the entire team laid out on the table (figuratively, I mean, though I guess that depends on what kind of team you’re trying to nurture) you can recognise as one where the predominance of skills are. You see first-hand the elements of your business where there are weaknesses to apply training, and industry niches where you see unique strengths. If you’re tying to make yourself stand out from the competition, that kind of thing is invaluable. Back that message up with unique and creative content marketing and you’re on a winner.
4 Keeping a lid on recruitment costs
It’s simple – an engaged workforce is a content workforce. And a content workforce is one that shares not just a vision for the future, but an active investment in it. When employees are fully aware of the impact they personally make, they will naturally want to up the ante. The result is a loyal workforce that strives to not only stick with the company, but also better it. In turn a positive company culture like this brings suitable new candidates knocking on your door. It’s actually good recruitment marketing and you need a business case for having a company away day, look first to the recruitment costs you could be saving.
5 Time away from the desk
A company away day is a chance for the company to show its workforce that it cares about them beyond the realms of their desk, by physically separating them. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a dream job or an administrative stepping-stone, the effect of sitting in the same spot, doing much the same stuff day in, day out can be disillusioning for anyone. When everyone is out of the office, together, the limelight is shone on the company’s work, not individuals’ jobs.
6 Personal recognitions
When congratulations are in order, the company away day is the perfect opportunity to draw attention to this to the benefit of the wider business. It’s a chance to highlight where particular successes were the result of a person’s actions, and in doing so should motivate others to follow suit. A company culture that bases itself on going above and beyond the call of duty is, I’m sure you’ll agree, a fairly desirable trait.
7 Free bacon
You’re inevitably going to hold this event in a swanky hotel or some country club; you may as well make the most of that breakfast buffet. Nothing motivates like free bacon.