How Flexible Event Formats can Help Talent Development and Retention

The world of work has changed forever. Here we explore the choice of event formats to engage, attract and retain a hybrid workforce in 2022.

Mike Fletcher, February 3, 2022

Across England, thousands more workers will have returned to their desks last week after the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the immediate end of working from home guidance, saying people ‘should now speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office.’

For a number of senior leaders and managers, it spells a welcome return to the benefits of face-to-face, collaborative working. While for local businesses such as sandwich shops and the hospitality sector, seeing office workers back on public transport and walking the streets to and from work, will no doubt come as a relief that an increase in footfall will likely translate into economic benefits.

However, many employees who have embraced a more flexible approach to how they work during the past two years will be more reluctant to return full-time to the workplace.

Some employment experts are warning that removing the flexibility of hybrid working patterns completely could be an ‘employee relations disaster’.

In America, according to RD Whitney, Co-Founder of the Virtual Events Institute, it has already been the catalyst for the ‘Great Resign’, brought about by people and companies who no longer see eye-to-eye on what they see as acceptable working requirements.

If your organisation insists that being together is the way forward, this could lead them into believing that in-person events will also always be the best choice. They may even discount virtual or hybrid event formats because they just want to carry on with what has worked in the past.

The potential danger with this is that the world has changed. It keeps changing. Working as before in the same way may not bring you the future results you need.

As Whitney says: “Employers now need to understand which meeting formats benefit from a face-to-face exchange, plus the opportunity for serendipity, and which translate better online. Carrying out this assessment will help prevent companies from losing talent to more flexible competitors.”

We agree - to retain and attract talent in a society where employees have had a choice to take the best elements of tried and tested work-from-home arrangements and still engage on a face-to-face basis with colleagues, employers will need to adapt to more flexible internal and external communication solutions.

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For more insights into talent development and retention in 20202 and to discover key tips for virtual and hybrid event success, download our free eBook.

If staff are working different hours, at-home looking after children or on sick-leave, a more inclusive and flexible meetings format will help them to remain connected and, more importantly, loyal.

Companies should adopt a more ‘intentional mindset’ and plan strategy for what works in-person, online or a combination of the two, rather than reacting to circumstance.

Some meetings formats, such as hands-on training and practical-based product learning just can’t be replicated online. But for a vast majority of knowledge-sharing meeting formats, the opportunity exists to create more inclusive and better engagement through online storytelling and technology.

Moreover, talent retention can also be influenced by a company’s values and purpose, especially around sustainability and the environment.

According to an Employee Expectations report from Peakon, workers have grown more principled and practical in what they expect of employers when it comes to protecting the planet. They now demand remote working options, plus sophisticated online collaboration and meeting tools that will help them to cut their own individual carbon emissions in areas such as unnecessary travel.

The choice of which event formats to use can also help a company to reach its own climate targets, making it a more attractive proposition for new talent and enabling it to instil pride, purpose and loyalty in its workforce.

For more insights into talent development and retention in 20202 and to discover key tips for virtual and hybrid event success, download our free eBook.

Check out to find out more about the award-winning meetings & events platform focused on audience engagement, wherever you are.


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