We decided to organize a company-wide retreat at the beginning of the year. We knew that the trip would be amazing, but none of us knew how special it would actually feel. We sat down with Martina Lanfranconi, Happiness Manager at Nexton, to gather all the details behind this life-changing experience.
What inspired Nexton to do a retreat?
Martina: Last year, part of the team got together in Tandil, Argentina, to spend a few days co-working and meeting each other. The result was amazing! We experienced incredible synergy and spent a couple of really meaningful days together. The dynamic flowed naturally and the team got much closer. It was definitely a breaking point in Nexton’s history... and it proved that gathering together from time to time is super enriching! That’s why we decided to take it a step further and gather the entire team.
What was the main goal of gathering the whole team in person?
Martina: We wanted to connect as human beings, not just teammates. So that when we were back to work the week after the retreat, we would all have inside jokes, funny anecdotes, and inspiring moments to talk about. We know that remote work offers many advantages, however, meeting face to face in such an intense and short span of time makes the team form strong bonds quickly.
How did you decide that Bariloche was the right place for the retreat?
Martina: A part of our team is based in Argentina, and our co-founders were actually born there. So Nexton’s culture has some traits that it inherited from Argentinean culture such as the sense of hospitality, the warmth of the people, and the social customs of sharing meaningful experiences together. Why Bariloche? Because we feel it’s the most beautiful travel destination in Argentina. It offers an enriching natural environment and a wide variety of outdoor activities. The retreat was the opportunity for many Nextoners to travel to Argentina for the very first time! So the beautiful and picturesque views of Bariloche's mountains and landscapes were a must.
Hotel vs. rental vacation properties. Why did you choose the latter?
Martina: Although choosing a hotel or resort would have made our retreat much easier to organize, we knew that a vacation property would give us the opportunity to connect with each other in a more meaningful way. Nextoners come from many different backgrounds and cultures, so sharing day-to-day activities and living with their teammates allowed them to get to know each other on a deeper level, discovering new things about their personality and culture!
We rented 7 different houses as we were almost 60 people and didn’t fit in the same place! The challenge was to define the teams for each house. Fortunately, the result was perfect: All the housemates got along super well, even better than expected. In fact, most became very close friends with their housemates!
How did you choose who would become housemates?
Martina: To define the groups for each house, we divided our team members by gender, and then we put together the groups that were as diverse as possible in terms of roles, teams, and cultures. The idea was to mix teammates that are not used to interacting with each other on a day-to-day basis.
How did you choose the activities, and what was the goal behind each of them?
Martina: Team building was the ultimate goal. Nexton is all about its people, so we wanted to create an incredible retreat focused on building great friendships, connecting with each other, and sharing extraordinary experiences together. We wanted the retreat to involve traveling, playing, and making art together so that each of us could relax and have fun. We defined an agenda that perfectly combined the following:
- Icebreaker activities to get to know each other.
- Team-building activities to foster teamwork and also give everyone the opportunity to work alongside teammates they are not used to working with on a daily basis.
- Nexton hackathon to work collaboratively on company-wide projects, develop strategies, and action plans.
- Nexton talks for our co-founders to share the company history and for our team members to share rewarding and meaningful life experiences they had had with the rest of the team.
- Outdoor activities to enjoy the beautiful natural environment that Bariloche offers.
What was the biggest challenge?
Martina: Logistics! Suffice to say, organizing a trip of almost 60 people from all over Latin America, USA, and Spain is a great challenge..., especially during a pandemic! It goes far beyond defining the right destination and booking flight tickets, you need to be on top with different topics: Vaccination schedules, PCR or Antigen tests, travel assistance, accommodation, meals, activities, transportation, and more. But with the right people in your team, it’s not impossible. We made it happen, it was a total success, and we are ready for the next one!
How has the gathering impacted the team?
Martina: It’s hard to put into words the impact the retreat has had on our team. We knew the trip would be a game-changer, but we weren’t expecting to achieve such a deep level of connection. We laughed, we enjoyed, we shared, we got emotional, we worked hard and we played hard. It was a before-and-after: The perfect opportunity not only to get to know each other better and build stronger and deeper relationships but also to share our company's purpose and values and see how aligned and truly committed to changing lives we all are.
The retreat allowed us to realize the amazing team we are building! We all feel part of a big family made up of incredible, talented, and diverse people who bring their own spirit and make Nexton a unique place to work at.