Back to news
August 4, 2022
Katie Klumper
No items found.

A Key to Retention: Non-Traditional Offsites

Imagine you’re sitting at your desk. It’s a normal day and you see an email from the CEO announcing that a company offsite has been planned and it’s mandatory that all must attend.

What is the first thing that comes to mind? Conference rooms? Endless decks? Public speaking? And the worst thought - walking away from the offsite with no path forward, goals, or inspiration.

As companies explore virtual, hybrid, or RTO environments, creating meaningful moments is critical to driving community, culture, and business. Perks, especially for RTO cases are being reported on as ways to drive happiness and instill a sense of reward for returning to the office after two plus years working from home. The benefits range from free lunch, office happy hours, food trucks, swag, and more.

While these perks may provide a present joy, it’s fleeting. Consider hosting an offsite and allow the perks to shine through organically in the form of team bonding, setting realistic goals, and inspiring each other to keep doing your best work.

Here is a modern take on hosting an offsite to accelerate your business.

Location, location, location.

Choose a location that is out of the ordinary. Consider heavy use of outside spaces and places your team has not visited. The last thing anyone needs is to be sitting in a stuffy, air conditioned conference room all day.

A great location, and one the Black Glass team experienced recently, is Napa. There was an abundance of outdoor space. The backdrop and landscape were inspiring and we got to work in the sun. It was well worth the team to travel. Here are a few questions to ask as you and your team explore options:

What is a convenient location for the team?

Where is a new place that you could discover together?

What has the amenities to make it as comfortable for everyone?

No alt text provided for this image

Be audience centric.

Consider running a survey for topic ideas and team needs. What does the team want to know more about? This will create a single deliberate focus. Without an intentional plan the agenda can get packed and create information overload. Stay focused and avoid “updates”.

At Black Glass we treated the agenda as a “Marketing Academy”, upskilling, teaching and sharing out the crafts from various groups, as the teams wanted to learn more about each other's superpowers.

Questions to ask:

What topics require us to be together?

What would unlock core barriers / growth for the team?

What will leave the team invigorated and refreshed?

Ditch Distractions.

No screens and presentations. No one needs to travel hours on end, only to be staring at a screen. There were two big unlocks we would recommend:


Any content that needs to get covered off, send in advance which would help maximize your in person time.

Content participation:

Learning can come from every department and every level.  Capitalize on the incredible knowledge of the entire team to create and share their superpowers. Questions to ask:

What MUST we share out? That should go in a pre-read.

How can we encourage conversation & discussion through activities?

How can we give time for conversations and organic content?

Meaningful Moments.

Make time to connect. We focused on a 10:00 - 3:00 agenda which created casual moments for the team to connect on their own agenda items. Not to mention activities, dinners, wine tastings and a fierce game of jenga that allows you to connect with your whole selves. While we love a great seated dinner, we try to  create settings that have team members move around and enjoy the entire group. Questions to ask:

How can we build new experiences together?

What allows us to understand each other better?

How can we mingle with the entire team?

Driven by Diversity.

Offsites can be hard as there are a host of different personalities, need states and mindsets. Creating an experience that truly supports diversity, requires digging a lot deeper into your choices. For example, we looked into female founded businesses to encourage a diverse supply chain, chocolate tastings for those who are pregnant and offering Milk Stork, so the mammas could be supported. Your actions speak really loud at these events and being deliberate can truly promote diversity & inclusion at the center. Questions to answer:

What unique needs does my team have?

How can I support their whole self?

How can I ensure everyone can  be included?

Where in your organization can you say that your investment produced a more engaged and happier team? Consistent offsites where time is focused on creating strong relationships, an understanding of other teams’ goals, and business objectives is one of the most important investments you can make.