Last week, some of the North Shore Digital team were able to spend two days together planning, working, relaxing, socializing and getting to know each other better at a company retreat in Pemberton, BC.
We had a blast and we’d like to share why we did it and what we got out of it.
1. We are a Virtual Agency
We are a virtual agency with team members in Vancouver, Panama, Turkey and India.
We’re committed to being remote so that our staff can enjoy the multiple benefits of working from home:
- No Commute Time
- Flexibility & Freedom around Work
- Better Work-Life Balance
- Increased Productivity & Happiness
To suit this style of work you have to be a certain type of individual but that’s why we hire the people we do.
However, being fully virtual means that you miss out on those water cooler moments.
It’s therefore important to build in some time for in-person retreats, dinners, events etc.
The retreat gave us a chance to connect better with one another on a human-level.
2. The Big Picture
As a digital marketing agency, our team is working on hundreds of tasks for dozens of clients every week.
We are nearly always in task mode.
Think about the marketing involved with your company. Now times that by sixty plus.
When you care about helping awesome people succeed online there are so many different facets of digital marketing for each client we are thinking about or working on.
The problem with this is sometimes you need to take a step back and look at the big picture and focus on your own company’s strategical direction.
Recently, I went on a 3 week trip to the UK, Iceland and Ontario.
It was my first trip home to see my family in over 8 years. I was nervous about being away for so long.
However, it was from that trip that I was able to realize as CEO I was getting involved in doing too many tasks and not enough time doing things like this, writing blogs about our company culture, and higher level strategy pieces.
The retreat offered us up a similar experience as a team:
We worked on our personal goals, how that aligns with the company’s BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and subsequent focus areas, plus how each department should be measuring success.
We had to ask ourselves who is it we can help and what should our product be.
How do we become better at what we do?
To examine all of this, we had to take time away from our busy client work.
We offered our customer support ticket system in case anything urgent came up and we had times to check on emails but client meetings and tasks were banned.
We did this not just for the heck of it…
It was so we get better, be more sustainable, offer a better service and improve things for our clients.
3. Company Culture
We had an amazing two-hour in-person session with our dynamite business coach, Simon Lowe.
In the session, we examined our company’s culture statement and our values and whether they are still relevant.
This is our culture statement:
We help awesome people succeed online by making data make sense for their business.
The heartbeat of our company is our people who are creative, agile, and collaborative.
We support and celebrate one another. Our clients mean the world to us.
These are our 5 main company values:
- Sustainability – we’re not focussed on crazy growth. We want to grow steadily by doing awesome work for awesome people.
- Adventure – life and work should be fun. It should be challenging but you should do it with people you want to help and whose company you enjoy. (pun intended)
- Community – our mission is to help awesome people succeed online. We believe in community and doing right by people. Helping people succeed leaves a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
- Abundance – no scarcity here. Just learn to give and be helpful. You’ll learn more that way. Don’t be closed off or worried about giving out secrets. Be useful in life.
- Work Life Balance – if you want a great work culture and longevity, you need to build in fast pace and rest time. We focus on getting great client results without burning out.
What was re-affirming was that our company values aligned so much with our individual personal values.
The retreat was more than just having fun and spending money, time and resources…
It was about living up to our company culture and values.
4. Gratitude & Celebration
The final piece of the retreat is an important one and shouldn’t be overlooked.
In January 2020, I was running this company solo with part-time help.
Add in the COVID years and a lot of stress multiplied by hard work then fast forward to May 2022.
We are now a team of eight fantastic co-workers who support and celebrate one another.
I am so grateful to all our team members.
And without the support of our clients and what you do and how that motivates us to help you more, we wouldn’t exist.
Thank you for your efforts, meetings, tickets, emails and trust in us.
We are extremely grateful.
Here’s to continued success.
If you’re thinking about hosting your own company retreat, here are some articles about the benefits:
- 5 Reasons to Host a Company Retreat – Quickbooks
- The Power of a Corporate Retreat – Workable
- 4 Reasons to Take Your Employees on a Company Retreat – Inc.com
- 4 Critical Elements of a Successful Company Retreat – Forbes