A recent study from The Engagement Institute found that “disengaged employees cost companies between $450 and $550 billion a year.” And, according to Gallup, “the majority of the U.S. workforce (51%) is not engaged.” On the flip side of this, a Kenexa Research Institute study reported “companies with highly engaged employees achieve twice the net annual income of companies whose employees lag on engagement,” noting also that “50% of the positive changes in communication patterns within the workplace can be credited to social interaction outside of the workplace.

As executive assistant to the CEO at Redtail, I wear many hats. However, one of the more highly prioritized aspects of my job is overseeing our annual team-building event. As a company, we place so much emphasis on creating an outstanding team-building trip because of the tangible value we’ve witnessed them bring to our organization.

2019 marks the fifth year that I’ve been planning this all-expense paid trip for our Redtail team, and I’ve found that there are three vital components that drive the ROI these events provide: the people, the place and the party.

The People

The fact that we encourage our employees to bring a guest of their choice surprises some. But, not only does it make it more comfortable for employees to travel, but it also allows us to express our thanks to the people who support our team, whether that’s a spouse, sibling or best friend.

Adding these other people into the mix allows us to reward employees for their dedication; it also helps us to strengthen and expand the network of people who are invested in Redtail’s successes, as our successes help make their lasting memories.

The Place

Each year, we painstakingly search for the best possible location for our employees to come together and unwind. It must be a luxury resort (but off the beaten path to keep our employees onsite as much as possible), and it has to be an exciting destination, promising new adventures.

To really get our employees excited, we seek to offer them experiences that they might not normally be able to do on their own.

Our goal isn’t to necessarily teach life lessons; we are looking to provide a comfortable space and time away from the office where new organic bonding can happen between employees. Think of it this way: for most of us, it’s the experiences and vacations we remember rather than our day-to-day routines. If you as an employer can provide a memorable annual vacation that’s genuinely about relaxation and rejuvenation, it can foster a family vibe of mutual respect, empathy and cooperation.

The Party

When most people think of “team-building,” the first things that tend to come to mind are ropes courses and trust falls. You can throw those ideas out the window now because everyone loves a party. And, we throw one, both in terms of an actual gathering during one evening of the event, and in terms of the celebratory nature of the entire multi-day get-together. But, how does it affect the bottom line?

While it isn’t strictly measurable, we frequently determine later that much of the bonding and brainstorming that leads to project collaboration and innovation occurs during these long weekends of celebrating the company and each other’s accomplishments. Providing this opportunity for employees from different departments and across the country to interact with one another face-to-face spearheads our employee engagement efforts each year.

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