Almost half of CEOs see internal events as a cost rather than an investment, according to the directors that work for them. That’s one of the key findings of new research among event managers and directors at FTSE 250 organisations and UK multinationals.
The research comes from London-based communications agency Involve and finds that internal events are used to influence ‘business critical’ measures, such as employee engagement (84%) and revenue/profit (81%). However, directors believe that only half of CEOs (51%) see internal events as an investment compared to almost two-thirds of employees (67%).
CEOs in low spend organisations (between £100,000 to £250,000 a year on internal events, as defined by respondents) see events as more of an investment than those in high spend organisations (with spend of £250,000 to £1m a year.)
Although events are used to influence ‘business critical’ measures, corporates are not consistently measuring whether they are achieving goals. Only 54 per cent of directors claim to measure the ROI ‘extremely’ or ‘very robustly’. However, event managers claim to measure ROI more, with 62 per cent saying they do so ‘extremely’ or ‘very robustly’. Not surprisingly, perhaps, those with larger spend claim to be better at evaluation (61% as opposed to 46%).
Most companies opt for conventional evaluation methods, often focused on collating feedback. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of companies use post-event delegate surveys; 46 per cent use direct feedback and 31 per cent use ‘happy sheets’ on the day. Event managers collect much more direct feedback than their bosses, 61 per cent compared to 46 per cent.
Jeremy Starling, Managing Director of Involve, says: “There is a clear disconnect between the CEOs view of internal events and the views of the rest of the company.
“A prime cause of this has to be a lack of proof that internal events are delivering long-term behavioural change or hitting other indicators of success. The long-term growth of this industry depends on securing buy-in from CEOs across the board. Using robust measurements to track ROI is vital to determine whether internal events are truly effective and successfully delivering against an organisation’s ‘business critical’ goals.”
The Involve Insight 2014 survey spoke to 199 HR, marketing and communications directors in large corporates who are responsible for – or significantly involved in – the management of big internal conferences and events. It also spoke to 100 events managers in large corporates. Respondents had an internal events budget of over £100,000 excluding venue costs.
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