2015 marks the first year Flywheel has done retreats, and it’s something we plan to do as we continue to grow on a regular basis. Quarterly retreats provide a time for us to get away from the office, reflect on what we’ve been doing and where we’re headed, and (hopefully) have a little bit of fun. Creating a pattern of meeting outside of the office forces us to produce results and reflect on failures. It also makes us step back and look at the big picture in terms of what we’re building here. And of course there is the experience of it all, because getting 27 people all in one place is always an adventure, especially when it requires an airplane.
Flywheel’s young, and we recognize the fact that we’re still a work in progress. How we plan our retreats is certainly something that falls under the “work in progress” category. Our latest retreat was our third, and throughout the past three retreats, we’ve learned a lot about the process of planning a retreat. As Flywheel’s office/culture manager (I’m Kaitlynn, nice to meet you), it’s my job to make sure our retreat planning process is eventually in tip top shape.
So what is our process?
Currently our structure is built around retreating quarterly, one retreat in Las Vegas, and the other three in Omaha somewhere other than the office All of Flywheel’s retreats take place during the week at an off-site location and always include three overarching goals:
- All company support
- Share company goals and strategy
- Laugh a lot and have fun!
Accomplishing these goals has forced us to gather feedback and tweak things quite a bit.
There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a location for a retreat. The perfect location allows the overall experience from beginning to end to be seamless. This is something Flywheel’s CEO and co-founder, Dusty, has worked very hard to ingrain into everything that we do at Flywheel, from recruiting to retreats. When we were planning our very first retreat in Las Vegas, we recognized that it’s a great place for an all company retreat because the city is built around quality service. Flawless large group service is hard to come by, but Vegas fit the bill for us.
Part of choosing our location is driven in large part by internet availability. Since we can’t completely shut down business for our retreats, we’ve incorporated all company support as one of the goals, meaning almost 30 people downloading and uploading large amounts of data simultaneously can really take a toll on crappy internet.
Why all company support?
Flywheel’s customers are the reason we do what we do each and every day and a large part of maintaining the relationship we’ve built with our customers is through providing superior support. To us, that means everyone from the CEO to our marketing intern understanding how to get into the trenches with our support team and pitch in.
Of course, this isn’t easy, and we’re working on turning it into something everyone can be excited about and help out with. Customer support is at the heart of Flywheel, and if all else fails we still have to serve our customers. Ensuring that every single person who works at Flywheel has a deep understanding of that is of utmost importance for us.
For Flywheel employees, working with the support team creates a sense of sympathy. Providing customer service day in and day out is exhausting, and when you work side by side the support team a few times a year, you gain appreciation for what they do for our customers
Of course, the goal of retreats isn’t just to work the entire time — that’s what we do every day. Having a little bit of fun together is a very important factor for us.
Everyone at Flywheel already gets along well — we’re like one big happy family — but we still aim to create situations where people can socialize with those they don’t see all the time. We do this by mixing it up between team outings and family events so that everyone feel involved at Flywheel — even those who don’t work here.
So that’s it,that’s all, that’s everything
Hosting retreats is hard work. From logistics to meeting our goals, there is a lot of thought behind where we go and why we do certains things. Each retreat has evolved to be something unique and special and we hope to create this experience again and again even as we continue to grow.