The Benefits of the Retreat

May 24, 2018 Kisha Watts

It’s that time again, we’re exhausted from filling the class but energized by the dynamic classes we are creating.  Once we get over the hump, we need to debrief as a team and determine how to think about next year’s cycle. This can be a bit overwhelming but it is absolutely necessary. Office retreats are always exciting, engaging, and educational. They help us continue to stay on top of national trends, but also reconnect with our colleagues about why we do this work.

Office retreats can be viewed in so many ways. Some see them as one more meeting, while others see them as a time to debrief. Timing is key: Find a time for your retreat that works for the whole office. Understand that the burned-out feeling is already there, but also be aware of the fact that your team may need time to prepare for any new adjustments/changes for the upcoming school year.  

Having done several office retreats, I have realized that it always helps, if possible financially, to select a venue away from the school. This helps people feel a sense of comfort in a different space to share their thoughts openly and honestly. Retreats are important events - they need to be meaningful and well planned. Prior to the retreat, team members should know what to expect, and whether they should plan to provide/speak to a particular item. A good, fun way to create the agenda is to gather anonymous feedback from the team and/or school community about ways to alter recruitment strategies. This makes for great discussions as well as actionable items.

Do:

  • Think about a time that works well for the whole team
  • Seek feedback prior to the retreat
  • Find a venue that will allow people to feel comfortable and that it’s a real retreat
  • Plan an event that is not work related, but more an opportunity to connect with the team
  • Highlight what worked well and areas to improve

Don’t:

  • Plan a retreat just for the sake of planning a retreat
  • Go in without an agenda
  • Plan to make too many drastic changes in a short time.  Be realistic.

Ultimately, retreats can be fun and beneficial.  Don’t shy away from them. They are a great form of professional development for all involved, since we can always find ways to improve, reconnect, and reflect on our roles as enrollment management professionals. Happy retreats and summer reflections!

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