How Event Tech Turns Internal Events Into Employee Retention Engines

To the joy of American job-seekers, as of this writing the United States is experiencing the lowest unemployment rate in more than 30 years. The result?

  1. With an influx of career options, U.S. workers have got their swagger back. If so inclined, they’re able to nimbly hop from position to position, choosing from a veritable buffet of competitive salaries, benefits, and scheduling options.
  2. From the biggest brands to the smallest businesses, employers across the nation are struggling to retain their best and brightest hires. Workforce studies show that employee turnover is bad for company morale, bad for productivity and — with an estimated cost of $617 billion to U.S. employers in 2018 alone — really bad for the bottom line.

But there’s a solution for HR pros: According to employee retention and engagement firm the Work Institute, three out of four employees who quit their jobs could have been retained under the right circumstances. “Employee voice is the critical element in addressing retention,” its 2019 Retention Report reads. In fact, data from Gallup shows that disengaged employees are up to two times more likely to enter the job hunt as their fully engaged colleagues.

Internal events —  including onboarding programs, career development sessions, sales and product meetings, and company celebrations — are the perfect vehicles for uniting employees around a core mission and inspiring organizational loyalty. Combine these initiatives with the communicative and analytical power of event technology, and you’ve got a recipe for a workforce that is informed, inspired, and in it for the long haul. Here’s how.

Leverage event technology for ongoing onboarding success

Using event technology during onboarding sessions can help you engage new hires and monitor their progress.

According to a study by human capital management firm Brandon Hall Group, “Organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.” But to be successful, companies must continually provide a consistent onboarding experience and carefully measure its effectiveness, despite the fact that “onboarding specialist” is often just one of many hats HR pros wear.

Savvy hiring teams are partnering with their event organizer colleagues to templatize onboarding events that set new employees off on the right foot. Leveraging event technology for these trainings seriously ups the ante in the following ways:

  • Online registration and mobile check-in make monitoring sign-ups a breeze: With a solid event registration platform, assigning specific trainings to new hires and then tracking their completion of sessions becomes an effortless and scalable process. Look for a solution that’s easy for both administrators and attendees to use.
  • A mobile event app offers easy access to information and builds lasting connections: Content is the star of the show during any onboarding program. A good event app is completely personalizable to your brand and allows you to create a digital onboarding agenda in just minutes. Mobile apps also help you avoid overwhelming recruits by making their schedules easily accessible and allowing them to instantly download helpful documents from the comfort of their phones. What’s more, leading event apps empower employees to build connections through a private social network, let new hires voice their opinions about the process through real-time polling, ratings and reviews, and make the entire process fun via in-app gamification.
  • A solid event analytics platform helps track attendee interactions and sentiment: Ideally, your event tech provider will offer a holistic solution that includes a registration tool and event app options, both built upon a powerful data platform. Why? Because that way every time a new employee interacts with the technology, you’re capturing invaluable information about your program’s impact. For instance, were employees who attended particular sessions more likely to have higher levels of retention? Was there a correlation between how often new hires interacted with your event app’s social network and their overall level of onboarding satisfaction? Did workers who received more private or group messages from their hiring managers show increased company loyalty? These are all metrics you can track via a complete event technology tool.

Event tech helps optimize your career development initiatives

Leverage event technology during professional development programming to engage your top talent and track their progress

A lack of career development opportunities was the number one reason for employee turnover in 2018, according to the Work Institute study. And a recent poll of more than 1,400 employees by Instructure showed that only 26 percent of  respondents rated their employers’ professional development tools highly. Three out of four of those surveyed said they felt they were on their own when it came to carving out a career development path.

From company-wide town hall meetings to individualized quarterly training programs, there are a host of ways events can be utilized to nurture the professional skills of your top talent. And once again, event tech makes these offerings easily accessible, highly interactive and infinitely trackable in the following ways:

  • Inform, excite and follow employee progress with a robust online registration tool: Here’s the deal: A great event registration solution goes way beyond just collecting attendee details. It builds employee excitement about your professional development opportunities via an intuitive session registration tool that ultimately syncs with a mobile event app and event data platform. You’ll be able to easily segment sessions offered by employee type or department, then track attendance stats for optimal planning. If your event tech vendor also provides a free check-in app, you can scan employees as they enter and leave both the main event and individual sessions. It’s the perfect solution for assessing CEU credits, figuring out which sessions were of most interest to team members and tracking your talents’ progress.
  • Keep the learning going before, during and after your sessions with an event app: Once you’ve enticed employees to sign up for training sessions via a registration solution designed to convert, keep up the momentum by showcasing your agenda, speakers, detailed session descriptions and more via a best-in class mobile event app. User-friendly event apps can be set-up in just minutes once you’ve got your content ready, and they’re a cinch for employees to adopt because they leverage the mobile devices they know and love. Smart event planners introduce their event apps long before professional development events begin so that team members have plenty of time to peruse session content, interact with colleagues via the private social network, and even take part in pre-event polls about what they want to learn. Then during the trainings, your app is a hub for peer-to-peer learning. The activity stream, as well as private and group messaging features are fantastic channels for teammates to share knowledge and discuss insights. It’s simple for them to download session content, both for later review and to bring back to those who couldn’t attend. And they can leave speaker ratings and reviews, letting you know which sessions sizzled, and which ones stank. You can even use gamification features to incentivize learning, participation, and collaboration! The possibilities for engagement are truly endless, and you’ll find workers interacting with the event app long after your training is officially over.
  • Monitor employee wins and optimize future trainings from your backend analytics platform: Remember all those opportunities for your employees to interact with your reg page and event app? Well, if your event tech solution seamlessly syncs your reg tool and event app with an industry-first event data platform, each one of those touchpoints turns into employee-retention gold. Not only will you be able to see who attended which sessions, but also how long they attended, what ratings and reviews they gave speakers/topics, which content they downloaded for future use, how they interacted with their colleagues, and more. This data can be used to back-up future promotions or performance improvement plans, make a connection between trainings received and length of hire, and of course, build even more wow-worthy career development opportunities in the future.

Maximize company celebrations and brand updates with event tech

Company celebrations and product launches are a great venue for using event technology.

This stat may shock some C-levels: On average,  surveyed workers said that they’d give up 23 percent of their future paycheck — an estimated $21,000 a year on average — for work that is “always meaningful.” What the heck is meaningful work? Well, according to the Employee Experience Index by WorkHuman and IBM, it’s the combination of employees understanding the value of what they do, how it impacts the organizational mission, and the priority placed on feedback, recognition, empowerment and coworker relationships. 

And maybe we’re biased, but when it comes to celebrating wins and communicating new company directions, we think events beat the pants off of almost any other communications method out there. When paired with the power of event technology, the average holiday party, President’s Club event, or product launch is plus-sized into an experience that makes a lasting impact on team members, and offers organizers a 360-degree view of employee engagement.

Take a National Sales Meeting, for instance. Balfour, a 100-year-old industry leader in the school achievement business, leveraged an event app to put a modern twist on their annual event, as well as inspire and motivate sales reps. The app helped reps navigate a jam-packed schedule, gave them easy access to session content, and allowed them to network with peers, sponsors, and partners in a snap via the private social network. Organizers utilized push notifications to instantly communicate any updates or changes. They even took advantage of features to surprise and delight attendees, like sending new reps welcome messages on the app when they arrived.

The Balfour event app
Balfour’s event app for their National Sales Meeting.

With robust ratings and reviews capabilities, event apps also foster a transparent dialogue between employees and leadership. Want to know what reps really think about a new product? Just ask them to rate it in-app. There they’ll comfortably be able to respond anonymously, and can carry on further discussions via comments in the activity stream. 

Or consider showcasing a “new product library” within the app, where reps can find documents detailing all your latest products, features and services. Use the app’s backend data platform to see which ones get the most engagement from account execs; this will give you insight into what they’re excited to sell. And — since we all know sales reps are uber-competitive — don’t forget to take advantage of the event app’s gamification feature. It’s easy to create a Leaderboard within the activity stream and award prizes for attendees with the most interactions.

From advancing company culture to promoting productivity, there are endless reasons to make internal events a priority at your organization. But in today’s hyper-competitive talent marketplace, these functions are now more crucial than ever to retain your hard-won hires. Pairing a comprehensive event technology suite with your event strategy can exponentially power up your efforts through the power of digital engagement, transparent communications and data-driven decision-making. It’s a winning combination that just won’t quit.

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