We all recognise the benefits of professional development opportunities and networking at high-quality industry events. But, just a decade ago, career and work events nearly always involved a few days away from your desk, lengthy travels, large expenses and a busy, often exhausting schedule.
In a world simultaneously altered by a global pandemic and ever more impressive technology, this is no longer the case. In the field of HR, along with many other sectors, you’ll be finding more virtual events available, with some as short as a couple of hours.
Short, bite-size virtual events are becoming increasingly popular, both with organizers and attendees. Here we look at some of the reasons why.
1. Meet and network with a range of international HR professionals
Without the need for travel, the very best speakers and thought leaders in HR can fit more events into their schedules and share more of their expertise. Virtual events regularly bring together globally recognised talent in one place.
Collectively, they offer a wealth of HR experience. This means you can benefit from a range of insights from across many countries and cultures, and finish the event with a truly international perspective on current best practices in HR.
You can also benefit from networking with other attendees from across the globe.
Shorter events are easier to fit in with multiple time zones, so you are more likely to meet fellow HR professionals from different countries, even continents.
Attendees will be vetted, just as they would in person, so you can be sure you are mixing with a range of knowledgeable and experienced HR professionals in workshops and seminar sessions.
The best virtual events offer attendees the chance to browse some information about fellow delegates, so you can pick out which HR professionals you would like to network with.
2. Benefit from a lower demand on your time
With a busy life and packed work diary, it can be difficult to allocate time for travel to events. Virtual events are so much more accessible, especially if they are bite-size. It is much easier to squeeze in an event for a couple of hours one morning than it is to travel for a three-day event eight hours away by plane.
You may also find your budget for professional development stretches quite a lot further by reducing travel and focusing on virtual events this year. You can put into practice the skills and expertise you’ve gained within moments of the event’s conclusion, too.
If you are worried about how comprehensive a short event can be, then there’s no need. Virtual events tend to be highly streamlined, with delegates able to switch between speakers or rooms in an instant and highly sophisticated technology, bringing everything a live event could.
3. Attend more events virtually and stay updated
With a reduced demand on your time and expenses, you can attend shorter virtual events more often than you might have attended in-person conferences.
To illustrate why this might be a good idea, consider that learning about new best practices or advances in HR management software just once a year is not likely to be ideal. Very soon, your knowledge and skills may be behind the times.
To stay competitive, your business or the organization you represent needs to have personnel who are up-to-speed with the latest developments in HR. If regularly attending virtual events enables you to be more aware of what is happening in the industry and the latest advances, that can only be a good thing.
Right now, thought leaders in HR are discussing agile HR, leveraging data, resilient organizations, employee experience and wellbeing, hybrid working, and getting future-ready. How up to speed are you in these areas?
By attending bite-size virtual events over the next few months it'll give you an opportunity to catch up on all things HR. By picking smaller events, you can also hone in on exactly where your skills and knowledge gaps lie.
4. Access and contribute to the HR knowledge base more easily
One of the greatest advantages of virtual events is their flexibility. If you miss a session or want to revisit or recap later, you should be able to replay sessions. Download session materials to browse through before, during or after the event. You will finish with lots of valuable material and have plenty of time to digest it.
It’s not just about what you can gain from attending events, it’s how others can gain from your attendance, too. Virtual events make it easy to share content and expertise quickly.
Today’s virtual events are often highly interactive, with opportunities to share your viewpoints and insights through Q&A sessions, chat features, live polling and interactive quizzes.
In addition, there should be abundant opportunities to network.
You might do this in small break-out rooms, workshop sessions, or by arranging informal ‘coffee time' one-to-one. Virtual events have all the tools available to do this if they wish. So, you can share your expertise with fellow HR professionals, build your profile, and make new connections.
Virtual events give you a proper opportunity to promote your own work and the business you represent. Many of the better virtual events will supply you with presentation tools to enhance your key messages.
5. Be a part of faster change in the HR industry
HR is known as an industry that has sometimes been slow to transform compared to others. Virtual events can change all that. Getting key messages out to a wider audience across the globe, and quickly, can have a transformative impact. Virtual events will bring a faster pace of change.
Be a part of this. Share what is working for you in the current climate and listen to others.
You should finish the event armed with your personal selection of downloadable materials. Use these to help you share knowledge with colleagues. Help improve business performance and drive increased revenue.
Feeling inspired? Why not browse for virtual bite-size HR events coming up on topics like company culture, performance management and talent development?