With tight budgets, a lot of companies are on the fence about sending employees to conferences and other industry events. There’s the sense that maybe it’s not worth the cost. Employees who travel to an industry event can be expensive, but it can be well worth it and the return on investment can be significant.
It’s particularly easy for companies to make sure their employees stay on-budget with their expenses thanks to advanced travel expense management software.
With that being said, the following are some of the key benefits of sending employees to conferences and other events within your industry.
Sometimes we can all get lulled into a false sense that everything we could need to know or learn is right at our fingertips thanks to the digitally-connected world. To an extent this is true—we do have an extremely high level of access to a lot of information.
However, there is a difference in learning something at a conference or industry event.
When you have employees go to an event, they get to learn from someone who is truly an expert. It’s more engaging to learn in this kind of setting, and the expert has the opportunity to delve into subjects in a really deep meaningful way that goes beyond the topical.
There can be more of an experiential learning experience when employees are at a conference, and they’re sitting there listening to someone who knows what they’re talking about perhaps more than anyone else in the world.
There are different ways a conference or industry event can lead to content creation. There are the more obvious ways—for example, because the employees who attend will have new topics to blog about.
There’s more to it than that, however. When people attend conferences they’re tweeting, they’re sharing Instagram stories, and they’re posting on Facebook.
There are different conference hashtags usually assigned to an event as well. So it’s creating a sense of buzz, and it’s connecting everyone who’s there on social media. It’s also giving your followers a sense of an inside glimpse into your company and what it is you do.
It’s just a great way to build a sense of interest and energy on your social platforms, and that can be important.
Networking is one of the more obvious benefits of attending conferences and events, but it still gets overlooked regarding its importance. A lot of business leaders don’t see the full value of having their employees connect with others in the industry face-to-face since there are so many digital communication tools.
However, when people are meeting your employees at an event, in-person, it’s a completely different level of engagement and a different experience.
That networking can be leveraged for a long time to come, and it can go a long way in opening up new opportunities that you’re not going to get if your employees are simply emailing people they’d like to connect with.
While networking might be a benefit of industry events that most people are already aware of, recruiting isn’t. Employers of all sizes are facing a difficult challenge right now. Unemployment in the U.S. is at record low levels, and that’s paired with tightening immigration guidelines. This is a perfect storm of employers not being able to find skilled talent.
Sometimes an in-person industry event can be an excellent recruiting platform. There are going to be people there who are already in the industry, so you can get past that hurdle, and they may be interested in making a move.
Motivation and Fresh Thinking
Finally, even the most talented employees likely experience some level of boredom in their jobs or they may be at a place where they’re lacking motivation and inspiration. It happens to all of us. We can get stuck in a rut at work, and it’s tough to get out of. That can diminish productivity and innovation.
Going to an exciting industry event can increase someone’s energy levels once again, and provide them a renewed sense of inspiration. It just feels good to be around other people who are in the industry you are and who feel energetic themselves. It can help employees feel completely refreshed when they do return to the office and ready to take on new challenges.
A lot of employers feel like letting employees attend conferences or events is going to hurt productivity, and while they may take time off for the event itself, what often ends up happening is that it has the opposite effect in the long run.