March 14th, 2018 Hotelogix celebrated its 10th anniversary! This presented the opportunity for us to plan an unprecedented offsite, which in all fairness, was nothing short of a ‘once in a lifetime experience’. Hotelogix has its operations spread across two locations in India- One in Noida and the other in Bangalore. Never before had the two teams met in person, all at once. The most important reason why the Great Goan offsite turned out as successful as it did!
Since this was such a powerful experience for us, we thought it would but be fair to share it with other startups. Here are the top 7 benefits you can expect from an offsite:
1) Team bonding experience
Like you already know, with offices set several hundred miles apart, one of most valuable takeaways we had was that both the teams got to know each other over three days of fun and merriment. While most of them were known to each other virtually, getting to spend time together in person was instrumental in redefining intra-organizational relationships. We highly recommend one such retreat of you too are a start up with offices spread across different locations.
2) Unravel hidden talents
The destination for the much awaited offsite was Royal Orchid Beach Resort and Spa, Goa. The party lasted for three days, where the first night saw us all letting our hair down to the tunes of a DJ. The hidden dancer in everyone was set free and for some, ran wild! The second night we had a few performances- the major highlights were the CEO Aditya Sanghi’s children performing for us- the 11-year-old son, Aarush, took to the drums mesmerizing everyone with his percussion skills and 6-year-old daughter, Diya, hula-hooping to the tunes. Not to forget, our own in-house levi-stick expert. The night was a hit with several amazing performances conceptualized and executed entirely by the teams themselves! There was a skit that was nothing short of side-splittingly funny, a few solo dance performances who wowed the audience, a musical performance by a trio, backed by a guitar and Aarush accompanying them on the drums, a handful of group dances at the end, saving the most entertaining acts for the last! Everyone was in “high spirits” and we wouldn’t have had it any other way. By the end of the night, everyone knew each other’s hidden talents and compliments were in the air!
3) Earn the trust of your employees
The best thing about employee engagement is that it always pays off. When you make the effort to ensure that your employees are delighted, reciprocation is guaranteed. By hosting a get together of this scale, the message you are sending out is clear- “We value your services and we wish to celebrate our success together”. This is a fool proof way to gain the trust of all those employees who are on the fence about the company for whatever reasons.
4) Reconnect to your roots
One of the sessions planned at the offsite was a quiz on how well the employees know and remember the company’s milestones and values. The journey is only as interesting as the story behind it. Therefore, it is paramount that every employee knows and appreciates the company’s story. The quiz was a great way to take a quick walk down the memory lane and to reconnect with important facts and figures that somehow get lost in everyday matters.
5) Reinstate your start up’s culture
Every startup has a culture, by design or by default. While it is a great idea to promote a culture within the organization, it is also essential that everyone is on the same page. And events like this, present a great opportunity to reiterate your company’s culture. This is when your employees are not defined by their roles or designations, but by the fact that they are all part of the same family. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to have fun!
6) Build transparency not silos
Breaking silos is one of the biggest challenges that a lot of start ups face. Be it because you operate out several different locations, or simply because you’ve never really worked on promoting a transparent workplace, working in silos is rarely fruitful. An organization where communication is free flowing, where teams co-exist in harmony and have a symbiotic relationship is more likely to flourish. Off sites are an excellent way to do away with hierarchy and break down the silos. Team building activities, in which every group comprises people from different teams within the organization, are a sure shot way to ensure this. They think together, the plan and execute their winning strategies together and so it is inevitable that they start trusting each other and supporting them.
7) “There is no growth in comfort zone”
There was always the option to celebrate the 10th year anniversary with a cake and by addressing all employees across the two locations on a video conference, but would it have made an impact as powerful as the offsite did? It’s rhetorical. The answer is obvious. Sometimes it pays to get out of your comfort zone and shake things up a bit. Because it is more fun, that way! It was also a great exercise for all the employees to get out of their own comfort zones. Everybody took part in all the activities, partied till the wee hours, took to the pool, chilled by the beach, played cricket, did something or the other which was out of their ordinary. Bottomline is that there wasn’t a single moment of dullness because when 150 people came together as one, the whole was greater than the parts, and individual comfort zones didn’t matter anymore! That, is why comfort zones are overrated and you need to get out of it every chance you get!
"7 practical benefits of an offsite - from our startup to yours",