5 Tips for a Successful Staff Retreat : The RRHA Story

One of our favorite things at The Spark Mill is working with organizations who are willing to do the hard work of investing in themselves to improve their impact on the world.  This is one of the reasons we love working with Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority.  

Our work with RRHA started with a board retreat, then moved on to creating a dynamic 5 year strategic plan, and now we’re deep into implementation planning.  As part of an active implementation process, we are engaging the staff in culture change work through customer service and team building retreats. This work is in line with our belief at TSM that it’s critical the plans we help our clients create are infused into the culture of the organization. It takes extra time but in our experience it’s the only way to ensure plans reach their full potential and don’t get dusty on the shelf.

Under the leadership of T.K. Somanath, RRHA is in the sweet spot where change is happening and big things are on the horizon and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with every single employee (around 200 people!) through this project.

So, what’s the secret recipe for a successful retreat?

5 Tips for a Successful Retreat

  1. Get out of the office -- how are you going to leave the ins and outs of work for the day if you are at work? We’ve been fortunate to partner with UR Downtown for these retreats. Lots of natural light and a location in the heart of the city doesn’t hurt.
  2. Take care of your people -- provide a yummy breakfast and lunch, make everyone feel special, and remind them often of how incredible they are and how happy you are to share the day with one another.
  3. Give space to reflect -- it’s not all rainbows and sunshine at our retreats. These are real people doing hard work in difficult times. We make space to step back and look at the big picture, to process and work through the tough stuff.
  4. Value input and hold everyone accountable -- throughout the retreat we record the bright ideas that percolate and ask the group to make personal and group commitments to shift the culture and make RRHA a great place to work.
  5. Have Fun -- Going on scavenger hunts, creating infomercials, using polaroid cameras... a good balance of fun, productivity, and creativity are essential. We don’t really believe you can have one without the other and we intentionally create an agenda that results in a lot of laughing and smiling while we accomplish big work together.  

So far, we’ve completed 3 of at least 12 retreats and have been greatly enjoying our time with the staff. Meaningful change doesn’t happen in one day, but that’s the beauty of building deep working relationships, where together we create sparks, you set them free and watch them fly.

Contact us to find out more about our staff, board, and team retreats.