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In September 2022, Tenzo held its first-ever offsite!
We spent two days in Pembroke College, Cambridge, a fitting place as it’s where our Founders, Adam and Christian, met as university students. Thanks to our fantastic team, we celebrated the incredible work and milestones Tenzo has achieved since 2016.
Our offsite focused on three key areas.
- Our departmental heads communicated their strategies to the whole company to ensure we align on what we are all working towards.
- It was also a chance to formulate initiatives on what we want to see on the road map at Tenzo
- and finally, an opportunity for team bonding away in a relaxed environment.
We had lots of learnings … and we mean a lot, so keep reading to learn more.
All in all, it was a success, and we can’t wait for next year!
What Tenzo learnt at our first company offsite
It was a rare opportunity to have the whole team under one roof, from our leadership to overseas team members. We took this chance for every department head, with our founders, to discuss the year’s achievements alongside their strategic plans for the upcoming quarters.
Each department’s objectives inevitably impact the broader company, so it was a great time to communicate those targets and gather feedback so the whole company can feel they are working towards the same purpose. We want to hold departmental heads accountable for their strategic goals, taking out the time to roughly think out their plans and explain why they think this will be valuable.
Brainstorming Initiatives as a Team
We had 1-hour ideation sessions scheduled, divided into two days.
Our first ideation session was cross-departmental collaboration, having groups with members of different departments. We then discussed how those specific departments work together currently, how we could improve our collaboration, and how we could work in the future.
Cross-departmental collaboration can have its frictions, and it’s difficult to align on responsibilities and have clear communication channels. It is important to re-evaluate departmental relationships, with the input of all the teams.
A common theme was the limitation of our knowledge management system, which was often outdated or difficult to navigate. We have since implemented Notion, with departments updating their pages on a scheduled basis. Colleagues from other departments can gain valuable clarity with a simple search rather than having to constantly go back and forth.
We then moved on to our ‘Dragon’s Den’ ideation session, where each team had to pitch a product feature for Tenzo. It was interesting to formulate these ideas with the Product and Growth teams together, who were able to bring different perspectives. 34% of employees shared that they have had their most creative ideas on company or executive retreats. This figure increases to 53% for the ages of 16 and 24. Creating an environment where everyone feels they can propose what they would want Tenzo to look like is essential for our team to feel they have ownership and are working towards a purpose they believe in.
In our ideation sessions, we realised we were correct in not scheduling back-to-back sessions. It was important to have breaks in between and spread out our sessions two days to ensure the team always felt refreshed and came up with lots of interesting ideas, which you might see soon ….
It’s not all work and no play! The second half of day two was solely focused on social events.
Work socials, while fun, can tread the fine line of feeling too corporate and unable to let loose completely.
Offsites work around this loophole, with 82 % of individuals feeling that the relaxed environment that corporate offsite provides is the main reason behind the success of these outdoor events. You haven’t just got off a tough call from a customer or trying to meet an important deadline. As a result of the calmness of a company retreat, employees perform better in terms of their contributions and learning.
So what did we do for fun during our offsite?
We were lucky enough to stay in Pembroke College, which was fully catered and able to host our indoor activities. As students were still on holiday, we had the whole building and shared space to ourselves. It made a difference as it gave us the space to get to know each other better in a more relaxed setting … probably wouldn’t be ideal to have our offsite during freshers week. Being able to go to the hall for our meals removed all the hassle of logistics, and not to brag, but the food was delicious .. you can’t go wrong with bangers and mash.
We were in Cambridge, so we had to do some punting … with all Tenzonians being expert punters and definitely not bumping into each other. We had a treasure hunt across Cambridge, apologies to all the Cantabrigians who we bombarded with questions; we are very competitive.
To end our trip, we celebrated in style at The Cambridge Brew House with our in-house DJ and some top-tier playlists. We ended our night with a questionable kebab … in true student fashion, with our founders telling us stories about what they got up to during their nights out.
Why was team bonding such an essential part of our offsite objective?
What do you look for in your job? Probably having a great team that you can enjoy a drink with after work is probably up there, right? In a recent survey, the top reason that talent doesn’t seek out other opportunities after pay is their work relationships. It’s vital to create opportunities for colleagues to socialise outside work hours, with retention rates increasing for the following reasons:
When you feel comfortable with your teams, giving honest feedback about improving work, culture, or strategy is always easier. Every employee wants to feel valued, and their views are taken into the decision-making process. A two-day trip outside the office helps consolidate relationships as you can disconnect from your hectic work life. There are memories from our offsite that we still laugh about today, namely about our Partnership Lead, Sebastian, being an awful punter … and we mean awful.
Teams in different countries or who work entirely remotely can sometimes feel isolated from the rest of the team, unable to go to monthly socials or other face-to-face interactions. Three-quarters of employees view work trips as a benefit, and 65% consider corporate travel proof of their significance within their organisation. Remote workers then benefit from flexible working while simultaneously enjoying creating more personable relationships when meeting their peers.
Learnings from our offsite.
When you do anything for the first time, you always discover what you did well and what you should have done differently.
Here are our top 5 learnings!
- Offsites are a great way to energise the team for what’s coming next, cross-collaboration with other groups and, most importantly, connect with other team members.
- Make sure to document all discussions and schedule a time to follow up after the offsite.
- Only book one thing at a time! We had headshots happening alongside one of the ideation sessions – It can be very distracting.
- Leave lots of free time and breaks between activities to ensure you are not rushing or running behind schedule.
- Treasure punting was the highlight of our offsite! We recommend doing a fun activity tailored to your location that will create many memories.
Our 2022 offsite was one of the highlights of such an incredible year! We had the opportunity to look at the bigger picture of Tenzo’s development with the insights and contributions of the whole team. We had many priceless laughs along the way, making us chuckle today. All in all, if you have the budget for an offsite, from our perspective, it was one of the best investments of 2022, and we can’t wait for our 2023 offsite!