Many individuals are expressing concern, when it comes to attending in-person business conferences, according to executive and management recruiters Walmsley Wilkinson.
“Pre-Pandemic, company conferences were often eagerly anticipated – it was a chance to see old colleagues, meet new ones, hear directly from the senior management team about successes of the past year, plan for the exciting year ahead and perhaps even make it onto the stage to pick up an award”, said Linda Walmsley, Director of Walmsley Wilkinson.
“Often associated with these conferences, were ‘play hard, work hard’ days with a whole range of activities being enjoyed, and occasionally endured, by colleagues. The ‘all for one, one for all’ company message was promoted, resulting in many attendees feeling energised and motivated; dedicated face to face time was invested in their own and their business’s future success.
“As well as inhouse company events, business trade events also offered the ability to physically see new products and services first-hand, network with useful contacts and forge stronger relationships. Since the onset of Covid-19, we have adapted to home working, virtual events and minimal UK or international travel.
“As lockdown measures end, businesses start to contemplate bringing their people together again and conferences are a good way for people to connect.
According to Government figures, the business conference and events sector is a key part of the UK economy worth £32.6 billion and previously attracting c 9.5 million visitors into the UK each year.
“This sector has embraced technology and the virtual world more than most, but it is keen to attract people back to live events as soon as it’s practical to do so. Yet not all employees relish the opportunity to return to the ‘good old days’ of travelling, time away from home and intensive activities in a highly visible environment. Employers that are focused on wellbeing are aware of this and the effects that working in isolation have had on their employees’ wants, needs and confidence levels.
“Getting people together in business to achieve common goals is a winning strategy and lots of organisations have a history of successfully achieving this with the help of conferences. However, in the current candidate landscape which is affected by the ‘war for talent’, smart employers who wish to retain their people, will ensure plenty of two-way communication, before mandating attendance for all at such events.
“It’s time to adapt further and implement the best methods to reach, engage and motivate employees. Conferences and events certainly have a proven place, but let’s ensure its managed effectively and we’re not dragging some people there, kicking and screaming. Adaptability, flexibility, and effective communication appear to be the winning formula.
Walmsley Wilkinson offers a professional partnership across all executive, management and specialist recruitment needs for all types of organisations in the private and public sector including private equity-owned businesses, large corporates and SMEs.
The company’s services extend across many sectors including building technologies, advanced manufacturing and engineering, aerospace, health and social care, professional services and FMCG/distribution.