investing in things and processes that can fetch quick results or simply translate into better efficiencies,” says Tushar Joshi who heads Hundred Percent Public Relations, a firm in Pune that has a national reach. For an offsite to translate into value, it has to be preceded with a wellthought-out set of objectives and conducted in the right manner.
Joshi explains, “Before selecting the place and deciding on the budget, the CEO or the planning team should first determine the goal of the offsite. If there is no clarity on what the offsite is intended to achieve, (or even if there are mixed views), it is bound to be an unproductive expenditure. Secondly, it is not just enough to predetermine the goals. It is imperative to cite measurable parameters for each goal. For instance, team building might be one goal. In this case the senior management conducting the offsite has to ask themselves, ‘What does team building really mean in terms of our organisation? What specific measurable behaviours do we want from our team?’ If the answer is aligned to strategic objectives, there should be clarity and direction in terms of the metrics to measure this alignment.”
For an offsite to be effective, the learnings have to be implemented almost immediately. Says Bharat Kumar, CEO of Bharat Headhunters Private Limited, “If people do not immediately apply their learnings from an offsite (in their day-to-day work), they are very likely to forget what they learnt. In other words, in order to capture an offsite’s return on investment, a follow-up is absolutely critical. Consequently, the manage- ment needs to have a proper plan in place to implement the outcomes of the offsite. Also, employees should be provided the necessary tools that will help to transfer their learnings into tangible outcomes.” An offsite also requires a seasoned facilitator. “It helps to have a facilitator who has dealt with the same issues that are being addressed at your offsite,” observes Kumar.
So much so for the business rationale of offsites. But are organisations constricting their budgets in comparison to previous years? “The answer is both yes and no,” says Kumar. “In any case companies hold offsites in places where they can book hotels at cheap discounted rates (often taking advantage of offseason deals). This trend is continuing this year. But yes, today, unlike before, many organisations are conducting offsites for smaller groups of employees. In other words, instead of taking the entire corporate fraternity for an offsite, the focus today is on taking a few departments or just the people at the management rung,” he adds.