Case Study: BetterUp

"The retreat was very welcoming for me as a new BetterUp employee. The missions statement has drawn together a genuine, ambitious and self-aware group of people."

BetterUp is a personalized leadership development agency that offers customized coaching for all levels of staff. BetterUp helps to create a space for personal growth with an aim of helping professionals “pursue their lives with greater clarity, purpose and passion.”  The essence of the training programs is imparting the best management coaching techniques to inspire your workforce become better employees.  Through a series of online face to face lessons , BetterUp coaching spurts up your business environment by helping employees bringing out the very best in productivity and output.  

Innovation is at the cornerstone of the modern workplace. Innovation helps firms grow and adapt to the ever-changing business environment. Through innovation, firms are able to stay a step ahead of the competition through transformative ideas, identifying hidden patterns and generating practical solutions. BetterUp helps create innovation spaces though  the use of remote technology in their training programs. The training development programs at BetterUp are tailored for small or large workforce firms.  Planning for this retreat for BetterUp was an exciting prospect since the company’s model is centered on working remotely with the App as a coaching e-learning tool.

BetterUp moves away from the traditional one-size-fits all coaching and motivational programs. Their vast wealth of human resource offers specialized training which is engaging, personalized and timely. BetterUp’s brilliant psychologists and behavioral scientists are readily available at the touch of a button to help employees out when they feel that they can’t cope with the pressure.

The one-one interaction coaching model helps recognize specific challenges that employees face in a busy work place setting. Once the challenges have been identified, BetterUp’s team comes up with alternative solutions.  BetterUp’s psychological resources enable trainees sustain long-term productive behavior which positively impacts the organization as a whole. The team comprised of experienced consultants and trainers that help nurture talent, improve performance and motivation through customized management services.

Motivation and work

Positive work cultures bring out the best the workplace, happy motivated employees are more productive than unhappy employees. A recent study (Stress Report, 2015) from the American Psychological Association shows that the US economy loses close to half a trillion because of work related stress. Along with health related problems, unmotivated and stressed out workers are more likely to disengage, feel insecure and become unable to deal with with-pressure situations including decision making.  

Sometimes firms get it wrong by approaching motivation the wrong way. By assuming the only way they can motivate employees is through offering  monetary perks and benefits.  The motivation gained is usually temporary since they are not designed with a long-term sustainable plan in mind . Once a worker gets used to certain perks and benefits, sometimes this leads to little or no lasting change.

BetterUp aims at helping individuals to achieve their potential growth and become better versions of themselves. BetterUp has collaborated with top level companies like Logitech, Facebook, Deloitte and Capital One to impart management-level coaching and training to employees.


  • Inside 3 hours from San Francisco
  • 50% fun bonding experiences 50% work sessions
  • Require Accommodations with communal space
  • Want to bond with their team, a round of recent hires built the team up 40% recently and want to bring the team together to bond.
  • Team works remotly, so getting together is crucial to their overall success
  • Want a nice / healthy menu throughout the retreat with one big outdoor beach dinner on the last night to celebrate their new app launch.
  • Large group, want a nice hotel with an equally nice event space to host their work sessions, dinner parties and team building activities

The retreat we held for BetterUp was just 3 hours away from San Francisco, where they have their headquarters. We chose a great location ideal for large groups. The hotel provided private accommodations with communal spaces to facilitate group interactions while maintaining personal employee privacy.

Our retreat destination was a beautiful hotel with great amenities including a large area ideal for dinner parties, work sessions and various team building activities.  Other perks included an all inclusive menu (including vegan) that featured the most scrumptious meals. Top chefs prepared the meals including a special dinner that was held on the last night to commemorate the launch of the new BetterUp App.

Team building offers an outlet for employees to break from the norm, and it is an important supporting bridge between management and employees. Our team building incorporates fun and work in equal measure for a productive and enjoyable experience. Better up had recently brought in new brilliant members to the team. The new members comprised of a recent round of hires and comprised of 40% of the total workforce.  BetterUp wanted the new staff to fit in as quick as possible and a corporate retreat was just the ideal tool to achieve that.


  • Present Multiple Hotel options in Santa Cruz
  • Connected with a state beach park in Santa Cruz as the event space
  • Connected Betterup with a local on site event director
  • Presented multiple Menu options to choose from
  • Presented local experiences for teams choosing

Our brilliant team of on-site event planners presented a list of different hotels offering retreat packages in Santa Cruz. Our main strategy was to find a retreat experience that geared at producing long-term change through positive conditioning and reinforcing positive traits in employees. This is in line with BetterUp’s  business coaching model that helps build employee skills and change behavior that seems to hold them down from achieving greatness.

With a specific criterion for venues that can accommodate large groups with plenty of space, we were able to list down the best options  for BetterUp’s team. For a large group, a beach park along Santa Cruz was ideal. Beach parks are great destinations for corporate retreats. Nothing detracts from the scenic   ambience that beaches offer, and also offer ample space for training and fun activities.

Santa Cruz is a favorite corporate retreat destination site. Probably due to the fact that it hosts a myriad of activities including surfing, mountain biking, paddle boarding and canopy tours.  Santa Cruz also hosts many local beach summer fairs and festivals. In particular The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a great place to visit for both locals and tourists. The amusement park has been running since 1924 with tons of entertainment options.

We assembled the best specialized team to ensure everything run perfectly. We made a call with the local site event director and introduced them up with the BetterUp team.

The local onsite event director was friendly and informative. Together we went through various team building activities which would be most suitable. We went through the available activities including, solving puzzles, adventure hunting, team Olympics and other fun engaging team activities.

The onsite event director’s inclusion was meant to create a professional atmosphere to ensure optimum usage of time. The onsite facilitator was also meant to create an environment that gives employees confidence and comfort to speak and act freely. Afterwards the BetterUp team was presented with multiple Menu options to choose from and make the best selection that suited the team.


  • Event director site visit to Santa Cruz
  • Chose Hilton for the group
  • Secured state beach permits
  • Built a team scavanger hunt team for day 1 - picked micro teams from the large group and testing their mental, physical and team bonding toughness
  • Prepared a team olympic schedule and course
  • Prepared multiple menus for the group to choose from
  • Choose beautiful coastal hike for last day morning hike + Lunch
  • Had lawn games and beach games on site for downtime/beach days
  • Aligned with production company to help build out customized content for their brand

For a high-impact corporate retreat setting, planning is essential. In any retreat setting there are a lot of decisions to be made; from logistics to choosing a facilitator that will utilize your time effectively. Every minute should count as the retreat must stick to the predetermined strategic business purpose.  Planning also entails thinking of all possibilities that could slow down or reduce the effectiveness of the retreat and coming up with Plan B through to Z. BetterUp’s main goal was to induct the new members of staff to the team and ensure they align with the organization’s  vision and goals.

We made a trip to visit the event director in Santa Cruz to take us through a site visit. The visit was to help us get acquitted with the various places where team activities were scheduled to be held. It also was a good chance to ask questions especially on logistics through informal discussions with the event director.

After a round of site visits, Hilton Scotts Valley emerged as the best hotel to conduct the corporate retreat. The hotel’s serene location is great for team building activities, only 10 minutes away from the beach. The hotel has great lavish rooms with friendly and professional staff. In collaboration with hotel’s main chef we prepared multiple menus for the members of the group.  In choosing Hilton, the picturesque indoor and outdoor group space played a big role. The over 7000 square feet of flexible space was ideal for BetterUp’s large group.

After acquiring the state necessary beach permits we settled for a 1 day team scavenger hunt. In this group activity micro teams were picked to compete. Scavenger hunts encourage team members to build better relationships, promote positivity and improve communication. It tests the group’s mental, physical abilities and ability to solve practical problems.

The next set of activities we planned as a team Olympic schedule and course. This comprised of wacky interactive games are aimed at improving communication, capitalize on collaboration, foster teamwork and engage individual strengths and abilities of each BetterUp’s team member. Team Olympics helps identify potential leaders allowing the team to choose captains to lead in games. During the retreat’s downtime days, we prepared great lawn and beach games on the beach for the group to have fun.

The last day of the retreat we decided there’s nothing better for the retreat finale than a beautiful coastal hike to enjoy the Santa Cruz scenery. After the hike we planned well deserved lunch to energize the group.  Away from the retreat activities BetterUp and production company discussed possibilities of BetterUp’s staff help designed customizable content for their brand.


  • On site event directors hosted dinner parties
  • Executed a successful team olympics and scavanger hunt
  • Produce branded content for them to use for new hires/ recruiting efforts
  • Left clients excited and a stronger team

After planning, comes  time to roll out the  execution phase. At this point most of the event details including date and time have been confirmed. The onsite event director’s responsibility was coordinating most of the retreat activities including hosting of dinner parties for the group.  The dinners helped to maximize opportunities for building meaningful work interrelationships.

The BetterUp team members went through successful team building activities that included team Olympics and scavenger hunt games.  The games offered a chance for team members to learn how to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones. By offering accolades for the winners of the various team activities, the Olympic Games provided members with increased morale encouraging interpersonal skills and commitment toward a common goal and team work.

Scavenger hunts offered a chance for members to test their decision making skills. It was a chance for introverts to come out of their shells and take on leadership roles-which they did perfectly. The scavenger parties enabled team members build on their problem-solving skills.  The team building games also helped members get a good workout ; both body and mind.

Towards  the end of the retreat BetterUp was able to align with the production company to help build customized content for their brand to use for use in their recruitment process.  The mutually beneficial effort landed BetterUp a new client and the clients got new branded content. The participants in the corporate retreat came out with a better understanding of themselves and other staff. The feedback from BetterUp was that the retreat was able to meet the specific goals it was meant to accomplish.

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