Discover 6 reasons why hybrid events can help keep your employees engaged, motivated, trained and productive during challenging times, in turn helping organisations successfully navigate challenging or uncertain times.
The world continues to square up to economic and political challenges along with scarce and expensive talent and supply chain constraints in 2023. As such, companies are set to re-double their focus on digital tech and events strategies to help them respond to change and uncertainty and stay on track. Think employee engagement and upskilling, talent attraction and retention, and company-wide communications and culture building.
Read time: 5 – 7 minutes
– How hybrid events extend in-person events to global audiences
– How virtual and hybrid events immerse employees in corporate culture
– Why digital events are becoming a year-round platform for communications
– Why cyber security is being pushed up the corporate agenda
– How data collection provides more meaningful insight on employee engagement
– How virtual upskilling employees helps companies respond to change
“The global events industry is reportedly set to be worth $1.9 billion by 2028. The growth will be driven in part by the corporate market, which is continuing to embrace digital event strategies.
This, despite the return of live events, because virtual or hybrid events combine the scope and flexibility of a virtual event with the warmth and engagement of an in-person event and help organisations achieve their objectives while keeping their budgets on track,” says Mike Walker, Managing Director of MGN events.
The outlook for the next couple of years will likely see the trial of many different configurations of in-person, virtual and hybrid event offerings. Here, we outline 6 reasons why organisations are increasingly turning to digital tactics to help them overcome uncertain and turbulent times ahead.
1. Hybrid events extend in-person events to global audiences
For geographically dispersed or international organisations, the beauty of hybrid events lies in being able to extend the reach of an in-person event. It’s also arguably a more effective use of time and resources to put together a single event that can connect and engage all employees at the same time, as opposed to hosting multiple events or transporting personnel.
With virtual or hybrid events, localised hubs or groups of employees can connect virtually to numerous other groups as well as a central hub — or informational HQ — delivering the experience of a full-sized conference.
Mike says, “By alternating the time of each global live event, organisations can make sure they’re being considerate towards colleagues in all time zones.
For example, rather than a UK HQ event team repeatedly organising its events at times that are suitable for the UK but anti-social for colleagues based in say, Tokyo, it behoves the company to alternate and occasionally hold the event at a Tokyo favourable time.”
2. Virtual & hybrid events immerse employees in corporate culture
Events are a time for employees to listen and learn, yes. But they also provide an opportunity for them to unwind and create or cement relationships with each other. Even the smallest of events or interactions can boost employee morale and corporate culture.
Increasingly, virtual and hybrid events are an opportunity for organisations to include engaging experiences for their people and not just focus on content.
“As an example, during a 2020 event, Cisco rounded off their conference with a virtual concert plus a tour of the performing artists’ studio space. This is an example of an event that gives attendees bragging rights to an exclusive experience that they can share with friends and colleagues who didn’t attend.
It’s also a clever way for organisations to show employees just how much value they place in their people by creating meaningful experiences that reflect their corporate culture. We expect to see this experiential approach becoming even more mainstream for organisations in the coming years,” says Mike.
3. Digital events become a year-round platform for communications
“While at one time organisations would have typically held one or two conferences or employee events per year, we’re witnessing a growing interest in smaller virtual or hybrid events, which can be put on more often,” continues Mike.
“This way, companies have the means of creating more of an ongoing platform for discussion, collaborating, news sharing, networking, and learning. It’s a great way to build momentum behind initiatives.
It’s little wonder that due to the rising demand for digital content and live streaming, the virtual and hybrid events software segment is expected to experience significant growth opportunities in the coming years.”
4. Virtual & hybrid events help push cyber-security up the corporate agenda
While virtual and hybrid events may help organisations evade the health-related challenges of COVID-19 and seasonal illness, they have pushed cyber-security up the IT agenda.
Since 2020, and the acceleration of all things digital, from virtual healthcare to online shopping, America’s FBI has reported a 300% increase in cyber crimes.
In 2022, Broward Health reported a data breach affecting 1.35 million people. It was reported that the breach occurred through gaining access from a third-party medical provider.
Common crimes include business email compromise (BEC) attacks, which are email blasts that mimic authentic websites and services but are phishing mail designed to make individuals reveal personal information.
“Activities and headlines such as these are making companies take a closer look at their safety and cyber-security measures, as well as those of their digital service providers, to ensure they don’t end up a statistic,” says Mike.
5. Data collection provides more meaningful insight on employee engagement
“On a related note,” Mike continues, “analysing data collected during virtual and hybrid events will be key to helping organisations meet their employees’ wants and needs.
In a virtual event, tracking logins, clicks, how long an employee remains in a presentation or session, and even how many people they interact with on the platform, can provide employers with invaluable insights into how to meet the expectations and needs of their people.”
When it comes to ensuring employees are productively and genuinely engaged in a virtual environment and looking at data, it is also becoming increasingly popular for organisations to monitor softer engagement such as video chat ‘fatigue’ indicators.
For example, understanding when and how to insert audio-only breaks into an event, how to permit people to distance themselves from the screen, to get up and walk around. These measures can help boost engagement. Stanford researchers, for example, identified four reasons why video chats and virtual events can be so tiring:
– Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense
– Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing
– Video chats reduce mobility and cognitive performance
– In video chats, we have to work harder to send and receive signals
However, if companies can identify softer engagement metrics such as these productivity-zapping trends, they can mitigate against them and improve employee engagement and interaction.
6. Upskilling employees helps companies respond to changing demands
To help combat current employment market challenges, organisations are increasingly turning to employee engagement and retention strategies, and perhaps, in the short term, in favour of talent attraction strategies.
Searches for terms such as upskilling, business coaching and employee engagement have risen by 215%, 76% and 82% respectively in the last five years.
Virtual and hybrid events provide an ideal platform for sharing learning and development programs and opportunities. Consider the hub-to-hub example illustrated as a means of reaching global audiences in the global reach section above.
For in-depth insights, read our guidance on how to supercharge your employee engagement and retention strategy in 2023.
“At MGN, we deliver hybrid and virtual events that not only meet but exceed our customers objectives and key performance indicators for measurables including attendance and engagement.
Our technical teams adhere to up-to-the-minute cyber-security regulations and best practices, and our creative teams produce digital content that stimulates, educates, and informs.
For organisations looking to weather the uncertainty and upheaval this year, we’re looking forward to delivering events that genuinely help move the needle in their favour,” concludes Mike.
Discuss virtual or hybrid events with the MGN team
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