I was interested to learn from Involve’s recently published research that almost half of the leaders of FTSE 250 organisations and UK multinationals see internal events as a cost rather than an investment, according to the directors that work for them.
This raises some important points. First, it is encouraging that our industry peers are committed not only to reviewing ROI from events, but also to seeking the views of those at the top of the very organisations we most seek to service. The fact that the research was so widely covered across the industry is testament to how much value we place on research and the impact it has on the industry.
It also raises the question as to how narrowly did the CEOs define the return on investment from internal events? Did they measure purely the cost of communicating information and the results? Or did they include the very human value of ‘inclusion’ and internal networking, both of which, if harnessed correctly, would invariably have a positive impact on staff morale, and in the longer term on productivity, ‘corporate inclusion’ and staff retention. These are not returns that can be measured easily the following day in the office, but they are known longer term returns.
I am also curious about the mindset of any organisation, or leaders within, as they embark on the planning or engineering of an event, and would suggest there is an intrinsic link between the mindset going in and the outputs coming out.
The research also lands at an interesting time as there are increasingly positive indicators in the economy, but many organisations are still very cautious about loosening the purse strings, and this is substantiated by the backgrounds of their boardroom appointments. Many of the CEOs who have been brought in during the recession to control costs and reduce expenditure are from accounting or finance functions – not the traditional ‘supporters’ of our industry.
It will be interesting to see how attitudes to events may change as the boardroom positions begin to reflect the positive economy, and the current ‘financially orientated’ CEOs and accountants are refreshed with CEOs from the marketing and sales streams, more traditional supporters and advocates of events.
I also wonder if the same research was ‘fostered’ not through a form but at a well-engineered, interactive event, whether the output of the research may have been different.
Perhaps to engage this audience with well engineered and executed events is the next step for us as an industry!
Interestingly, there was a clear disconnect between the CEO’s views of internal events and the views of the rest of the company, so the quicker the boardroom’s views on events catch up with those of its audience the better, not only for our industry but the organisations we serve.
Any comments? Email Zoe Vernor