Today, we address the HR challenge of whether or not to encourage or even allow your employees to attend industry-related conferences. In the ongoing PEO Support series, Total HR Management asks the tough questions that managers and business owners need to answer on a regular basis. Our goal is to provide constructive and supportive information based on our experience of working with client companies in a variety of industries. Employers face challenges, and Total HR is here to help.
The Question of Industry-Related Conferences
In the 21st century, business conferences have become a dime a dozen. An industry unto themselves, many of these business conferences lack merit. However, there are still many industry-related conferences that can provide value to your employees. The question of whether or not you should allow your employees to attend industry-related conferences is a good one to ask.
As a manager or executive, you need to vet any business conference and employee wants to attend and decide whether or not it seems valuable. Often, such conferences are fluff, and it’s easy to say no to an employee that wants to go to Hawaii to improve their motivational techniques. If you are unsure, use your Google to research the business conference. Moreover, speak to trusted colleagues in your industry and obtain external perspectives. A pertinent question to ask is what’s in it for my customers or clients? What value will a specific industry-related business conference bring to them?
Once you have given a specific industry-related conference a thumbs-up, you need to ask if you can sacrifice the employee for an extended weekend or a few days during the week. Most industry-related conferences should not last longer than a week at most. Such extended conferences truly need to be vetted because they go hand-in-hand with lodging, meal, and transportation costs. Also, many extended conferences are quite expensive these days. At the same time, such costs can be written off. Also, allowing employees to attend such conferences stimulates employee engagement.
Three Benefits of Industry-Related Conferences
1) Employee Education
Employee educational growth remains the most obvious motivation for most people who attend conferences. Quality conferences can provide an employee with new strategies and tools to use to help your business and grow the bottom line. To optimize a conference experience, make sure that employees carefully examine the conference agenda in advance. Sessions and meetings should be picked based on what is most valuable and not what is most popular. Employees should not resign themselves to surfing the web or watching movies in their hotel rooms. They need to be motivated to take advantage of conference opportunities.
2) Networking Opportunities
Industry-related conferences should provide a bevy of networking opportunities. Such opportunities should be divided into categories like competitors, service providers, and potential clients. Each category needs to be approached differently. For example, make sure your employees ask the right questions. What are competitors doing right or doing wrong? Are the service providers offering services that your company needs? Can bridges be built to potential clients? Every networking opportunity should be designed from the perspective of fostering win-win outcomes.
3) Content Development
The presence of the Internet and the importance of social media have added a key element to industry-related conferences. Since so much is available online, industry-related conferences no longer are just about education and networking. Rather, industry-related conferences also can reveal how content development is evolving in a particular industry. You also can take advantage of conference content, using social media to advertise your company’s presence and what is being presented. By sharing the conference details, you can develop your company’s content while showing that your business is keeping on top of your industry’s evolution.
Total HR Management Can Help
Without question, sending your employees to industry-related conferences can help your company. First, you need to choose the right conference. Second, you need to make sure your employees optimize their experience at the company for the benefit of the company as a whole. There are additional reasons to attend such industry-related conferences as well. To learn more about how an HR manager from a professional employer organization can support such steps, please contact Total HR Management today. Call (800) 975-5128 today to access the help you need.
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