What we’ve learned from doing almost 5 company retreats
One of the highlighted employee perks at SnapEngage is the annual company retreat in ‘exotic locations’. [Sidebar: This year we’re heading to Maine, so depending on your background, this may or may not fit into the ‘exotic’ category, but nevertheless, it’s a beautiful place to visit!] Past locations include: Dominican Republic, Mexico (twice) and Iceland. But the retreat is so much more than a perk.
The obvious benefit of the retreat is that it provides an opportunity for our two geographically divided teams (from Boulder and Berlin) to really come together and connect, beyond our daily video conferences.
How the retreat benefits our clients
Aside from the team-building benefits, our true intentions for the retreat center around enhancing our client experience. We know that our success hinges on the success of our clients. So we take a few days out of the day-to-day office environment to celebrate successes, reflect on shortcomings, discuss short-term planning and strategize our long-term vision.
Client Feedback Review
As a company built on client feedback, we place the highest priority on our communication channels and processes for closed loop reporting. In addition to identifying and addressing common themes among client feedback, the retreat gives us a chance to discuss what’s working with our reporting methods and identify areas for improvement.
Feature Request Prioritization
Rather than leaving each team to individually champion their pet projects, we use the retreat as an opportunity to rank feature requests as a united company. This allows us to have more constructive conversations and come to a consensus around not just what we choose to prioritize, but more importantly, why.
When it comes to forward-thinking innovation, one of the favorite, bookmarked events during the retreat is the Shark Tank™ Competition. We organize into teams, brainstorm new feature development ideas and present a sales pitch to our panel of judges (a.k.a. our team leads). The winning pitch gets put into the feature request development queue for prioritization.
Everyone needs a break sometimes. After four retreats, we’ve continued to refine a retreat formula that provides a balanced mix of productivity and playfulness. The end result rewards our clients with a SnapEngage team that is reinvigorated, refocused and ready to succeed alongside our clients.