Benefit of office away-day workshops limited

Strategy workshops or ‘away days’ have become commonplace, but the findings of a new survey raise questions for UK organisations about how much value they deliver.

Despite the expense and time spent on strategy workshops by senior management teams, few measure the impact of these events, according to study published by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the Advanced Institute for Management Research.

Many respondents also reported that away-days fall short of expectations, 10% saying the workshop they last attended failed to meet its objectives and more than 40% reporting either a negative impact on a range of measurable outcomes or no impact at all.

The report, which questioned more than 1,300 respondents, reveals that almost 80% of UK organisations host workshops at regular intervals.

However, despite their frequency, 40%  also suggest they have no clear-cut impact on productivity and profitability and only 33% think that strategy workshops improve innovation.

Estimates of the cost for strategy workshops range between £10,000 and £50,000.
Mary Chapman, chief executive of the CMI, said: “Organisations are clearly investing considerable time and resources in strategy workshops and with this comes high expectations. If the UK is to remain competitive, it is essential that this trend continues.

“However, the low levels of preparation need be addressed if organisations are to get better value from the process,” she said.

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