The days of corporate retreats with three-legged races and free-falling challenges are over. As the checkered tablecloths and potato salad become a thing of the past, more and more companies are looking for innovative ways to boost team productivity. Many are choosing exotic locations like Costa Rica or Bali to take smaller groups of employees to experience a digital detox while strategizing for the upcoming year. Others are incorporating personality tests into their retreats with the aim of bringing team members together in a way that helps employees understand each other in both an intellectual and emotional way.

Corporate retreats offer the time and space to really dig into your team’s strengths and weaknesses, and employee assessments and profiles make a great addition to the agenda. Companies that provide these testing services use well-researched approaches that will maximize leadership and team collaboration. Your employees will gain an understanding of their own and other’s unique styles and traits and how to use these for collective success.

Benefits of Personality Tests

You and your co-workers will discover information about your predispositions, strengths and skills, which will improve your working relationships with one another. Once you understand how you function in the work environment, it becomes much easier to see why you react certain ways that others do not, and vice versa. Listening to and considering divergent and contradictory input will be come easier as you understand the difference between alternative communication styles and personalities. Best of all, as a leader, your leadership style will become more authentic and personalized as you learn to truly understand the dynamics of your team.

Below are three major schools of profiling and assessments that are used in corporate environments today. We will briefly describe each, and outline some reasons why you might choose one over another.

Myers-Briggs

You’ve likely heard of MBTI, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator containing four letters, which is a key for unlocking our motivations, values, interests and needs. The tool itself is 70 years old and was created as a way of translating the personality theories of Carl Jung into a format that people could use to truly understand themselves. It has been widely adopted in the workplace due to its uncanny accuracy and its ability to help people understand their innate synergies and potential.

When an MBTI workshop is facilitated by an experienced practitioner at your corporate retreat, your employees will gain a framework for understanding, appreciating and leveraging the differences of each member of the team with a new level of emotional intelligence. Team members will enjoy cooperating despite their differences, and differences will be viewed as benefits rather than problems. You will also be given tools to help with both introverted and extroverted personality types thrive in the workplace.

DISC – Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness

DISC is a framework for understanding behavior styles and adapting communication accordingly. The foundation of a DISC workshop is learning that we all have individual responses to specific environments in which we may feel more or less powerful. A good facilitator at your corporate retreat will encourage participants to have fun and share stories while gaining a greater understanding of your motivations, strengths and weaknesses. Each member of your team will learn about varying DISC styles and how to adjust their communication styles accordingly. A good DISC workshop will help your employees apply what they learn right way, and adopt it into the workplace soon after your retreat.

Some benefits of the DISC model are that it encourages trust and respect in a diverse workplace. Employees develop a shared vocabulary during the workshop that they agree is respectful and non-judgmental. Many comment that these sessions have greatly reduced employee turnover and improved interpersonal relationships.

Emotional Intelligence, Control and Performance Assessments

Emotional Intelligence has become a popular buzzword in the workplace over the last decades due to Daniel Goleman’s book on the subject, published in 1995. Today’s employees not only have to be book and tech smart, but they need people skills and the ability to have control over their emotional responses in the work environment. A good assessment of these skills will take a no-nonsense look at employee predisposition while identifying areas that need improvement. The workshop will look at areas like self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, motivation and relationship management.

Throughout a well-facilitated emotional intelligence workshop, the leader will introduce exercises and practice techniques where participants will build personal action plans to boost their emotional intelligence with the support of their co-workers. Your team will leave with the skills to stay focused and think clearly even during emotional times.

Assessments are a Great Addition to Your Corporate Retreat

Corporate Retreats are an excellent opportunity to introduce personality profiles and assessments. In the retreat environment your employees will build trust with their co-workers in a safe and accepting atmosphere.

Team Building

There are fantastic corporate retreat locations all over the globe that help facilitate this level of relaxation and comfort, and Costa Rica is a sought after destination for group business travel. Beachfront resorts like Blue Osa in Costa Rica are a great venue for your teambuilding activities like the personality workshops above, while they also provide conference rooms overlooking the ocean, healthy meals, and fun and adventurous activities in the jungle just a few miles away.

For more info on corporate retreats contact Natashia Steenkamp, an international retreat leader and facilitator in Costa Rica. Email: [email protected]

Laurel Brauns is a travel writer, musician, and yoga life coach. She has lived in Costa Rica for the past two winters studying yoga has believes this country offers powerful transformative experiences to visitors who are looking to immerse themselves in nature and healthy living. She is a regular contributor to the blueosa.com blog. Learn more at lifecoachingwithlaurel.com.