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Why Attending Conferences with Your Team Is Good for Your Business

Every year, more than 30,000 people attend one of SHRM’s industry-defining conferences and events for HR professionals and executives. But many attendees find that they get even more from these gatherings when they attend with their teams. Attending a professional event with your team has multiple benefits, but getting the most out of the experience requires some advance coordination and planning. You can maximize your team’s conference experience by emphasizing the following three benefits.

1.  Stay Up-to-Date on HR Trends and Best Practices

Attending conferences with your team offers an effective opportunity for qualitative research, helping you identify gaps in your organization’s benefits package and pinpoint strategies to enhance your HR practices.

For example, you can select conferences that offer opportunities for roundtable discussions where HR leaders can share insights and resources, providing a point of comparison for your organization.

Here are some questions you can ask other leaders to gain qualitative insights into current best practices in HR:

  • What tools or technologies does your organization use to facilitate collaboration among remote or distributed teams?
  • What challenges have you faced in maintaining a positive work culture, and how have you overcome them?
  • What unique benefits do you offer that have positively impacted employee satisfaction?

When engaging in critical conversations with other leaders, ensure that your team feels empowered to share their insights and questions as well. This demonstrates that you value their feedback and helps everyone operate from the same knowledge base, leading to a more streamlined and efficient working process when you return to the office.

2.  Enhance Team Performance

Attending conferences with your team is an excellent tactic for fostering team engagement and enhancing workplace performance.

“I recently took my globally distributed team to a Creators Summit in NYC,” says Brandon Smith, senior manager at Meta and founder of People Leaders Weekly, a leadership discussion forum about people management and organizational leadership. “During this trip, they were immersed in the state of the creator economy, met with internal peers, and got to hear firsthand from creators on a range of topics. They left the summit with new data to guide their work, new industry connections, and a renewed sense of purpose for their work.”

When introducing conferences to your team, clearly outline the benefits of attending, such as the opportunity to spark creativity, innovation, or professional development.

Conferences provide your team members with access to thought leaders and industry experts who can equip them with the latest research and industry-specific emerging trends. Consider attending conferences where your employees can participate in workshops and delve deeper into specific topics within their department to gain practical tools. Subsequently, they can apply this knowledge to their work to foster innovation in the workplace.

After the conference, assess your team members’ knowledge gaps to identify resources such as courses and certifications to further their learning. This assessment will also allow you to tailor your employees’ professional benefits package with the right resources for career growth.

3.  Boost Employee Engagement

HR professionals can easily get stuck in a rut and succumb to burnout when they lack motivation. Recent SHRM research found that 51% of workers say they feel depleted at the end of the workday, while 45% feel emotionally drained.

Attending outings such as conferences, where employees can share ideas, network, and socialize with other professionals, offers a refreshing break from day-to-day work interactions and fosters a sense of connectedness with like-minded individuals.

“Meeting fellow business owners [at conferences] leads to great conversations, ideas, and a general sense of connection that comes from someone who’s been in your shoes,” says Amy Jackson, founder and CEO of the public relations agency TaleSplash, who has been attending the SXSW Conference since 2010. "During conferences like SXSW, we've partnered with other female founders to host events and that’s a great opportunity to get our own team together along with our guests and remember why we’re so passionate about helping this community build their brands.”.

Attending conferences is an effective tactic for employees to gain inspiration, enabling them to return to work with renewed vigor and fresh perspectives derived from conference connections and insights. HR professionals see these kinds of educational opportunities as an investment in their future. According to Gallup, 71% of workers say job training and development increased their job satisfaction, and 61% say upskilling opportunities are an important reason to stay at their job.

Learn more about attending the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2024 with your team.


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