29 June 2023
From 21-24 June, all departments which now represent the new organisation of smartclip following recent announcements of the media split (Tech, Marketing & Product Education, HR, and Finance), travelled to Boltenhagen, Germany, for a three-day-long company retreat. This marked the first offsite event since the start of the pandemic, and aimed to gather all departments of the new smartclip organisation in order to build morale, strengthen company culture, and update employees on new company structure and developments — with ample opportunities to retreat and relax when needed.
Day 1: A warm welcome and enjoying the sights of Boltenhagen
Co-CEO Thomas Servatius, and Sr. Director Process Management, Mirjam Naves, set the tone for the event with a welcoming presentation detailing the exciting new company structure and goals for the next three days. Don’t be fooled, though; not every goal was strictly work-based. The “no work after 4 pm” goal mentioned in the presentation is one we think should become an everyday goal —ahem, Thomas? Following the opening presentation, employees split off into three groups based on personal interests to enjoy the first team bonding activity of the retreat.
Employees had the opportunity to enjoy a seal-watching boat tour, hike the local cliffs, or test their climbing skills at the Parcours of Boltenhagen. Regardless of which activity was chosen, the main goal was to re-establish connections with one another after the long covid break.
Day 2: Strengthening and celebrating our company culture
For some brave souls, day two started off bright and early at 8:15 am with a sunny beach yoga session where participants were challenged to put their balance and flexibility to the test.
Large changes make for great opportunities to assess and improve all aspects of a company, from operational processes to the work culture. That’s what made the company culture workshop hosted by Sonja Schuster, Head of Training & Development; Rene Wagner, CIO and VP Operations; and Tobias Wolff, VP Engineering so exciting. This session allowed us to actively participate in the discussion surrounding our company culture and how we’d like to see it develop by allowing us to explore, identify, and discuss key culture principles during breakout sessions. Because culture evolves, the three agreed-upon principles from the session will just be the base of smartclip’s culture, and will be further discussed in cultural boot camps at future events such as this year’s smartweek.
Similar to company culture development, team building was a priority for this retreat. The next team-building activity was a bit more interactive than the ones before, and we were split into groups and given one hour to conceptualise and build a LEGO robot. After an hour of putting our creativity, programming, and teamwork skills to the test, all groups regathered to present and vote on which group had programmed the best robot. Not only did the winner get the satisfaction of being the best, but they also got to take home their robot. After all our hard work participating in workshops and building robots, we finished the day by either meeting with our teams for more team bonding, or taking some time to enjoy the resort and unwind by ourselves.
Our schedule said that there was a special surprise planned for us that night, and there had been excited talk the past days about what it could be. We all piled into shuttles, and the surprise was finally revealed when we pulled up in front of a scenic beach bar. It was the perfect mixture of good company, food, drinks, and music. But the true highlight of the night was enjoying the beautiful sunset together on the beach.
Day 3: Brainstorming and tackling cross-company collaboration
Another central theme of the retreat was building overall cohesiveness within the company, which was further discussed in the “Breaking Down Silos” session hosted by Lisa Rischke, Senior Sales Marketing Manager Europe, and Mariana Berezin, Senior Product Education Manager. After defining what silos are, we broke out into small groups to brainstorm effective ways to improve collaboration cross-functionally. Finally, the retreat ended the same way it began, with an informative presentation on smartclip’s newest subsidiary, Realytics, and the strategic rationale behind the acquisition, followed by some motivational closing words from Thomas Servatius.
After such a long time away from each other, it was great having the opportunity to come together again in person. We’re returning from this retreat with a renewed sense of togetherness and are ready to start the next chapter for smartclip.