As more and more companies are shifting to a remote style of work, the value of organized annual retreats is becoming increasingly clear to many organizations.
But as your team grows it’s important to keep varied working styles in mind, and planning a retreat that is structured around the diverse needs of all workers is key to the success and enjoyment of your offsite experience.
This has been a focus for Natalie Nagale, Co-Founder and CEO of Wildbit, a remote software company based out of Philadelphia.
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In today’s episode, we sit down with Natalie to discuss the importance of team retreats, how they use a people-first perspective to structure their offsite experiences, and the ways Wildbit is supporting workers in connecting with like-minded companies in other industries.
The Importance of Face-to-Face Connection
Wildbit had their first offsite meeting in Cyprus in 2007, featuring a then small team who had never before met face-to-face. Natalie says this experience was incredibly powerful for a team accustomed to remote communications and helped to cement the importance of future meet-ups in the years to come.
“There is an important need to have strategic conversations face-to-face,” says Natalie and combined with the benefit of getting to know one another through in-person conversations the value of regular offsite experiences becomes indispensable.
Gathering Feedback to Improve the Offsite Experience
When it comes to improving the offsite experience, Natalie recommends gathering the feedback of team members to learn more about what they’re enjoying and gaps where their needs may not be being met. The bigger a team the more diverse their needs and with that comes an onus on retreat planners to provide options that accommodate different working styles and personality types.
In meeting these varied needs, Natalie says she prioritizes including a range of activities on the agenda that offer opportunities for individuals to feel motivated and safe no matter their personality style.
This includes offering a range of non-committal evening activities like puzzles and campfires that allow people to come and go as they please without feeling as if they're disrupting the group as a whole.
People First Jobs
While Wildbit places a focus on ensuring their team members feel supported and heard throughout the retreat experience, they certainly aren’t the only organization that operates from a people first perspective.
This understanding became the vision behind People First Jobs, a job board developed by Natalie and her team to help job seekers find companies that support and care about meeting employee needs.
Natalie says the board developed from an increasing level of feedback from people who were looking for more intentional companies, similar to Wildbit, that optimized people over profits.
The job board was designed to serve as a resource for connecting these workers to those like-minded companies across various industries that can offer similarly supportive work environments.
For more from Natalie and Wildbit you can check out their website, Wildbit or follow along with Natalie on Twitter here. Catch more stories on remote work, retreats and company culture on the next episode of “More Beach Meetings.” Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.