Leadership Retreats Resources

Are Staff Conferences Worth The Cost?

April 15, 2019
Lead Organizations
Russ Sarratt

The Cost of a Staff Conference

Every year, the WinShape Foundation hosts a two-day, organization-wide conference –and after several years of hosting this event for our organization, I’ve discovered two reasons that having a yearly conference may not be worth the effort.


01 | It’s Expensive

The first year we hosted our conference I walked away with “sticker shock”. Big events cost a lot. Big events done well cost even more.

The costs are staggering: food for an entire workforce is expensive (unless you want to survive on cheese and crackers, which I do not recommend); travel and lodging costs; fees to engage quality speakers and communicators; paying employees for days away from the office – it adds up quickly.


02 | It Takes A Lot of Time

Our all-staff conference requires a dedicated year-round team to plan and execute the event. The event itself takes everyone out of the office for an extended time. For our staff, this means time away from families (which often means finding babysitters), missed soccer games and recitals, answering emails at night, and facing an ever-growing voicemail inbox.



The Value of a Staff Conference

Holding a Staff Conference comes at decent cost. For our organization however, we’ve decided that the value of a conference is worth all of the cost in time and money. We sum it up with one great reason.


01 | Investing In Your People

For our organization to be at its best, we believe our people must spend time together. Connection leads to relationship. Relationship leads to trust. Trust allows us to achieve our mission and to be fulfilled in our work. We bring our people together to create moments that turn into memories, a common experience that turns into a common language, and shared learning that can be commonly drawn on in the future.

Staff conferences are energizing for our people. We get to spend time with other team members we don’t often see. We enjoy a lot of good food; we have dance parties; we hear from great speakers; we play together; as a group, we do something to serve our community.  We have a ton of fun.

Taking time to gather, connect, and grow together is how we move forward from an organization with a mission to a community with an impact.

Making A Decision: Start With The Value  

If you’re considering an all-staff event, do it.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the cost. Like any great investment, start by identifying the value it will provide to your team or company; then figure out the steps to get there.

If your team or organization is small, consider attending an already existing event first. If you are ready to tackle hosting your own event, start small and be intentional. Think of the event as a chance to invest in your people, your team, and your organization. The return on that investment can be immense!