Summer is the professional pause all school marketers are anticipating. There is a sweet spot of time between the end of the fiscal year and the kick off of the next admissions cycle to schedule a team retreat. This can be a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication your team demonstrated this year and to think through priorities for the new academic year. Here are our tips to help you fully recharge.
Take it off campus
Find a location for your retreat that is not your usual meeting spot. Off-campus is great if you can afford it, but you can also consider unique locations on your campus. A change of scenery can shift the group dynamic.
Set the clock in advance
Your retreat should serve to reinvigorate the energy of your team, so plan a length of time that balances the work you need to get done with a bit of fun. Also, consider the natural patterns of your team members—the night owls may not appreciate a sunrise start time.
Move beyond project plans
Retreats are a great opportunity to brainstorm new solutions to persistent problems. The project calendar and messaging can become cyclical, even stale, so challenge your team to consider ways to reinvent annual communications and events.
Learn more about your team
Focusing on work is important, but learning about your team as people is critical. Consider ice breakers that encourage your team to connect in genuine ways. Learning about your team members as individual people can improve your management tactics and the output of the entire team.
The marketing and communications team partners with nearly every department on campus. Consider strengthening your relationships by inviting members of other teams to attend a portion of your retreat and participate in your brainstorms. A two-hour session can reinvigorate your partnership and set both teams up for success in the new academic year.
Yummy snacks are vital
Ask your team what goodies they enjoy and indulge throughout the retreat. Consider sweet, salty, and healthy snacks that make your team feel good. And if your budget allows, consider a special lunch that provides the opportunity for your team to take a break from work.
Keep a Record
Give legs to your ideas and issues by deputizing a note taker (before the retreat). You may even want to compare what you talk about this year with next.