Human Resources Today posted an article this month discussing how to run virtual HR events.

It’s specifically intended for the volunteer leaders of the various HR organizations. After reading it, we thought it as useful for HR professionals who organize training programs, virtual group meetings, and, of course, the upcoming open enrollment presentations.

Unless you are a program leader for a professional group, the sections about finding sponsors and getting people to pay won’t apply. What you will find helpful are tips about meeting length, archiving the virtual presentation so people can review it later, and the differences between live and virtual presentations.

For instance, the author, noted speaker and HR leader Ben Eubanks, says research into video events shows our attention begins to flag right around 40 minutes. To counter that, you could keep the program short. Few participants will complain.

For events that need to run longer, Eubanks advises to “add a layer of interactivity… to boost attention and interest.” That could be a Q&A done live or via the chat function most video meeting programs offer. Speakers might also ask for a show of hands, or provide a live link to a quick poll. Anything that involves the audience will keep them engaged. Just make sure the activity adds value as well.

Another technique is to use more than one speaker. A panel discussion with give and take makes the program more lively.

Anyone who has ever hosted a virtual training program that was presented live and then recorded for viewing later, knows that one big challenge is the fast-forward function. This is especially a concern if the program is for certification or continuing ed credits.

You may not be able to guarantee someone was present for the entire session, but Eubanks says there’s at least one service that will archive the video program and disable the fast-forward function. Thinkific allows you to both prevent fast-forward and include certification codes at the end of the session for attendees to register their credits.

Zoom may be the current gold standard for virtual meetings, but don’t overlook other options. Eubanks suggests livestreaming to Facebook or You Tube as an alternative. There’s no charge and many of the features in commercial webinar software are available in livestreaming, including commenting. You need streaming software – Eubanks says he uses StreamYard, which has a free option. For a few dollars a month, you can customize the look and record the stream.

Reading the article will help you become comfortable with organizing virtual events. Though it doesn’t answer all the questions, it’s a good primer.

Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash


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Green Key
Jun 6, 2023

This Year, the Office Party Is Going Online

Like so many other things this year, the annual office holiday party is in danger of becoming yet another COVID casualty.

But it doesn’t have to be. There are alternatives, says the Society for Human Resource Management.

“Managers are finding other ways to help their workers celebrate this year,” reports an article on the SHRM website. Virtual parties and gift exchanges, online team cooking experiences, wine tastings and corporate gift-giving, are some of the ways companies are showing their appreciation for making it through a challenging year.

“While nothing can entirely replace an in-person experience,” says Taylor Paone, senior manager of employee experience and culture at DailyPay, speaking to SHRM, “These initiatives give employees the chance to bond and have a little fun.”

According to the promotional products firm IPromo there’s been a surge in corporate holiday gift orders. Instead of spending on the traditional office party, companies are opting for more expensive gifts employees will use all year.

“Employees may appreciate a high-value gift that they will use often,” more so even than “a once-a-year party,” says iPromo CEO Leo Friedman.

Another option is to host a virtual holiday party. Preciate Social built a platform especially for parties and social events. Different from virtual meeting platforms like Zoom, Preciate Social enables multiple conversations to take place simultaneously. Participants can circulate among others attending the event, striking up conversations similar to how they would in person. There’s even the background murmur of other conversations. Musicians and other performers can provide entertainment.

You can also use Zoom to throw a virtual party. Since the pandemic, YouTube and Instagram have seen hundreds of virtual event how-tos uploaded. This one, explaining how to host a virtual happy hour or party, has been seen 64,000 times and has more than 100 complimentary comments.

Rouxbe, an online culinary school, provides recipes and video instructions for a virtual dinner-making event. Coordinators select a menu from the hundreds of recipes for a three-course meal. Companies can opt to mail the ingredients to each employee or send them a supermarket gift card. At party time, everyone gathers on Zoom to cook together and even enjoy a cocktail.

For companies that have been holding regular Zoom meetings and hosting virtual social events, a holiday gift employees might value even more is time off. Paone says, “Zoom fatigue and the solitude of working remotely is an ongoing challenge and we must encourage staff to step back from the computer and spend time doing activities that re-energize and recharge them.”

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash


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Green Key