Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Love Rewards Company Retreat

Our company (I Love Rewards Inc.) went on our semi-annual retreat this past week. It was a two day getaway that was located at the beautiful *cough* Bricker Residence in Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario. Aside from the tiny beds, and window-less conference room, this experience was nothing but positive!

There was a huge focus on team building and over-communicating the company vision and goals for the next six months. By far, my favorite session was Brutal Facts. This basically consisted of our VP of Operations stating a couple "brutal facts" about the current state of the company, and clearing the way for boundless discussion. I won't reveal what the facts were, but they definitely erected a lot of opinions. At this point there was a no holds bar brain storm, where people could state how they feel, and suggest improvements. What impressed me the most was how open and honest everybody was. I Love Rewards has fostered an environment of open communication...smoke before fire they always say... This 2 hour session flew by, but at the end of it, I felt some what rejuvenated. We also had the chance to play an intense few games of soccer right after. Now, I don't know if the timing of this game was planned strategically to give employees the chance to let out their frustration, but it was absolutely amazing.

What did I learn from this retreat?

1. Communication is an integral part of GREAT organizations, and you can never have enough.
-Even in a company that has daily company-wide meetings, rhythm meetings, department meetings, etc... people still felt they were not being communicated to enough...which is ok.
-They even gave us top-secret financial information, other companies wouldn't even dream of!...you have no idea what effect this can have on an employee

2. Working with people you actually WANT to spend time with outside of work hours is priceless.
-I knew this before going into the retreat, but these couple days jsut reinforced the fact. At one point, there were 35 people hanging out in one residence room, playing games, and singing along to a guitar...I remember looking around and being completely mesmorized. "I can't believe these are my co-workers", i said to myself.

3. People tend to invent their own vocabulary...
-learnings: Razor Suleman, CEO
-generify: Amin Lalji, Director of IT
-optionary: Me :P

Well, now that the work week has started again, I feel like my battery is recharged. There is a buzz in the air, and everyone seems to be a little more focused. If thats not a successful retreat, then i don't know what is.

If you want to learn a little bit more about the company, we were just featured on Workopolis TV...check out the video below: