The Importance of Sapere’s Annual Company Retreat

Sapere serves clients across the country and the globe, but once a year it is important we all come together. We build teams for our clients and our annual retreat is one way we build ours.

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The Importance of Sapere’s Annual Company Retreat

Our annual retreat is an excellent opportunity to build and grow corporate culture.

Company retreats can help organizations focus on a variety of future values, objectives and plans, as well as reflect on the events of the past year. At Sapere, our annual retreat is an opportunity for staff from our offices across the country to connect outside of the office, as well as discuss strategy and recap important happenings. We brought our staff together in Park City, Utah, in the early fall for three days to connect, grow and learn.

Annual retreat reading

Annual reading assignments bring everyone together for exciting, focused discussion.

One enduring concept at our retreats is a 'summer reading assignment' of sorts. All Sapere staff read a book that has concrete or strong thematic connections to the work we do and the direction we want to move in as a company. This year's selection was "The Future-Proof Workplace: Six Strategies to Accelerate Talent Development, Reshape Your Culture, and Succeed with Purpose," by Linda Sharkey and Morag Barrett. The book focuses on the impact of a variety of factors, from emerging technologies and neuroscience research to how changes in cultures, values and relationships, all impact the continuing development of modern businesses and workforces.

Past works read collectively by our employees include "Creativity Inc.," by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, and Amy Wallace, and "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," by Robert M. Pirsig. All of these works help our employees, from consultants and support staff to executives, take a meaningful look at important business concepts and grow both personally and professionally.

The books are also generally relevant to the work we do with many of our clients, such as strategic planning, workforce development, and the pursuit of quality. As this tradition has grown, clients now actively ask about our reading selection and often will also read these works – providing an opportunity for us to further our connection with them , increase their knowledge, and feed our shared desire to nourish our intellectual curiosity.

Sapere's staff standing in a field.Our annual retreat is a vital part of the yearly calendar.

Coming together

One of the major focuses at this year's retreat was discussion on the planned improvements to our employee development program, which included both a presentation and a working session/roundtable component centered on candid discussion and sharing of ideas. Open communication and interaction is always encouraged at these events.

That attitude extends to discussions of industry trends and points of emphasis for the coming year. Skills that need to be developed, the influence of macro-level issues on operations and clients and more specific trends and industry developments all have a place at the table during our retreat. This targeted although wide-ranging approach ensures a variety of discussion that is nonetheless focused on important issues for our business.

New consultants take the lead

With our employee development program in focus, another avenue for including our newer hires and connecting them to our company culture was on full display as new consultants led presentations on important company topics. Similarly, at the 2016 retreat, new consultants were tasked with developing an icebreaker activity that brought everyone involved together at the beginning of the retreat.

Our commitment to the professional development of all staff enables the fresh faces at Sapere to not only contribute but feel comfortable and thrive in discussions and in leading presentations to more senior staff. That's just one example of the communal nature of the event and deliberate decision to avoid too much in the way of top-down information flow.

A well-balanced event

Along with general and specific discussion and strategy, there's a good dose of fun mixed in as well. Activities like horseback riding, fly-fishing and golfing allow our employees – who often work many miles apart from one another – to get to know each other on a more personal level and develop important bonds. The opportunity to stick around Park City and ski, hike, explore and visit the downtown is a great perk, too.

Our annual retreat isn't just a longstanding tradition – it started in 2003 – it's a great chance for us to continue to work toward success and understand each other.

Water flowing over a dam.

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