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What's the Real ROI of a Company Retreat?
Don't fade the invaluable returns of the immeasurable
Just a week after my post about the ins and outs of establishing KPIs, I was heading to a company retreat with the teams from Semaphore and Operately.
It got me thinking... It's easy to get sucked into the notion that a business is just a bundle of inputs and outputs, a mix of processes and metrics. Like if we just zero in on the right ones, we could steer the whole ship based on pure, data-driven feedback loops. But as critical as systems and figures are to keeping a business running, there's a whole lot that matters that we simply can't boil down to numbers.
Take the company retreat, for example. Semaphore operates remotely, our 35-strong team scattered across Europe and the Americas. With a few exceptions, most folks who've joined us post-Covid haven't met their colleagues face-to-face. Sure, we've got our virtual watercooler chats as part of the regular work rhythm, but the shift in team energy before and after spending actual time together? That's something else.
A startup's culture — its shared values, behaviors, and beliefs — is a secret sauce in its recipe for success. A startup is, at heart, on a mission to bend reality against all odds, and it needs a strong team spirit, motivation, and trust to make it happen. But here's the question: how do you measure the vibrancy of a culture and the cohesion of a team? It's safe to say you won't get far with quarterly NPS surveys and tallying up employee turnover.
Queueing up for breakfast. Getting turned around in an unfamiliar town in the pouring rain. Convincing the hotel manager to bend the rules for some after-hours pool games. A late-night beach gathering. It's only after such moments that we can truly realize that, as my colleague Ivana has put it, "Each person in our team is so unique, yet our energies match perfectly." It's truly something to be part of, and there's nothing like working with the team battery fully charged to 100%.