Trends in Corporate Team-Building: Extreme Employee Excursions

Report says global trips help companies boost retention

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Can you imagine your boss sending you across the globe to help with a humanitarian project—even if that has nothing to do with your day job? You could be knee-deep in mud, building schools in a poverty-stricken community or helping with an international advocacy program—all to build co-worker relationships, expand your global horizons and broaden your network.

Fortune reports on companies that has have done just that, facilitating trips to remote parts of Nepal, Africa and Brazil for employees to offer aid to poor and underserved communities. Employees from one company, Moss Adams, traveled to the Nepalese village of Shaktinagar to dig the foundation for a school building, working with the village chief to complete projects and get a sense of the culture. Each employee raised $5,000 to pay for construction materials, travel and other expenses, and spent a week of their personal vacation time. The October 2012 trip was so popular that the firm plans to send two teams on a second expedition organized by the nonprofit buildOn this fall.

“It was an exceptional time,” Luc Arsenault, the partner at Moss Adams who spearheaded the trip, told Fortune . “To expand our horizons and travel abroad and be exposed to a new culture, there was a tremendous amount of benefit.”

Extreme excursions give companies the vehicle to invest in the growth of their employees, provide a helping hand to needy communities and boost brand reputation. Several have found a way to leverage this into opportunities for strategic partnership. And what better way to bond with an office peer or superior than having to share a life-changing experience?

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