The Value of a Company Retreat

On June 24th, the Elite SEM team got together for our annual, company-wide retreat “Fun Week” previously known as “Fun Day.”  With teams coming from all over the United States, we all convened at our NYC headquarters to start off the week of fun and learning.

At the beginning of the week, teams from Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco spent time in Elite’s New York office working on the typical daily search tasks.  On June 25th, we attended our Google Agency Day Summit.  Check out our Elite SEM Google Agency Training day article to read more of the takeaways of that great event.  Then on June 26th and 27th, Elite SEM went on our first overnight professional retreat, which was held at the Montauk Yacht Club in Montauk, NY.

While work is a part of any business trip, this was also a great opportunity for all Elite employees to meet each other and to put faces to some of the newer additions to the team in the last year. For some employees, myself included, it was the first time meeting members of other teams while for others it was more of a reunion. With all of the teams being in a central location and not being dispersed throughout the country, it was a great time to bond, collaborate, and to learn from each other. Additionally, it was an opportunity to celebrate this past year and to prepare for the many years to come.

You may be thinking, “Montauk Yacht Club? Must be nice!”  The sailor inspired décor of the hotel set a relaxed mood for the intensive activities that were planned for Elite SEM employees by Elite’s Kim Mansfield. While Montauk was a lot of fun and consisted of a lot of socializing, there was also a great deal of valuable training that took place.

The first day of the retreat was set aside for a professional development training seminar. The seminar was focused around how to be more efficient, effective, and goal-achieving not only in the workplace, but also in our daily lives. The training seminar and exercises challenged Elite SEM employees to question how they can change and improve as individuals, such that it will also positively influence and affect their performance in the workplace.

There was much to be learned from the training; the following are some key takeaways from the professional development training seminar:

How to be more efficient

  • Create blocks of time and allot time for different tasks throughout the day
    • i.e. responding to e-mails, being available on Google Talk, etc.
  • Prioritize tasks or projects based on their combination of urgency and importance
    • i.e. if something is important, but not urgent then you could probably leave that task for the last block of time in your day
  • Utilize Google provided tools and stay abreast of industry trends
    • Be a better marketer, not a machine

How to reach your goals

  • When it comes to goals and goal-setting, whether it is life goals or professional goals, it’s essential to keep these goals at the “top-of-mind” and to strive to make daily changes to achieve them over a self-determined period of time
  • Repetition instills consistency
    • Continuously make an effort to repeat your goals and soon your repetition will act similar to a mantra
  • Resources are always available; it’s simply a matter of vocalizing your needs

Teamwork at Elite SEM

  • Cooperation, collaboration, and teamwork are essential; individual pursuits are trumped by team efforts
  • Maintain transparency with coworkers, clients, peers, and anyone else that you work with or that your actions may affect
  • Anecdotes and personal stories are a great means of differentiation, and help to set us apart from other agencies

We closed our retreat with a recognition period, some motivational comments from our CEO, Ben Kirshner, and our Vice President, Zach Morrison, and lastly, a great team-building activity that mimicked the popular reality series Survivor.

The recognition period was a great opportunity to celebrate our success on a company-wide level as well as on an individual level. Some individuals were promoted to different positions within the company and others were recognized and rewarded for their performance over the year. While not everyone may have been recognized or rewarded for a particular feat, it was made very clear by Ben and Zach that our company is like a family, and we’re the glue that holds everything together and that is enough recognition in itself.  This was an inspirational and emotional moment during the Elite SEM retreat. Ben and Zach emphasized that just as much as we are a cohesive team, we are also a family here at Elite SEM, which really resonated with my being one of the newest members at Elite.

Lastly, we closed the last day in Montauk with our Survivor challenge obstacle course, organized by Elite’s Jesse Eisenberg and Adrienne Gaines. This was the perfect way for all of us to wind down from the busy week and to just have some competitive fun as a company.

So was the investment in the company-wide get-together and the retreat in Montauk worthwhile? Personally, I’d say that it was definitely a necessary and worthwhile investment. Working with the other teams was a valuable experience, and the Elite SEM team as a whole learned a lot from the professional development and training seminars during our retreat.

As I reflect back on this past week, one key message continues to resonate in my mind: “Cooperation, collaboration, and teamwork are essential; individual pursuits are trumped by team efforts.” On a personal level, this company retreat to NY emphasized the importance of not only collaborating as a team at Elite, but also as a family. Although I am one of the newest members at Elite SEM, I already have felt so welcomed and feel as if I have been part of the team for years.

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