LinkedIn's Top 3 Dos and Don’ts for Planning Hybrid Company Events
— July 8th, 2022
As organizations welcome employees back to the workplace, they have to relearn how to communicate with today’s hybrid workforce—a workforce split between remote and in-person employees.
And one of the most challenging parts of this is learning how to host equitable hybrid company events and meetings.
This has been top-of mind for LinkedIn as they nagivated the return to in-person events—with a dial-in option for remote employees—over the past few months.
In this blog, Aoife Kearns, LinkedIn's Senior Director of International Communication (EMEA, LATAM & APAC), reveals the top dos and don’ts that she and her team have learned on their recent journey to the successful hosting of equitable company events.
Dos of Planning Hybrid Events
1. DO consider your desired outcome
Hybrid events can create a ton of value, but it’s important to remember that the outcome is going to be different from an in-person event. When planning a hybrid event, it’s critical to consider employee sentiment, the goal of your event, the audience’s expectations, the mix of presenters, and how you’re going to create a meaningful connection with your audience.
By understanding what all employees want to get out of the event and how it should impact your business, you can create a more equitable experience for everyone involved.
2. DO engage in-office and remote attendees
Employees are going to join your event from everywhere, so you have to make sure the content and information being communicated is relevant and engaging for all audiences.
By mixing in live elements (with preparation), including engaging music and video content, and offering opportunities for interaction and Q&A to both remote and in-person attendees, you can help ensure that everyone feels connected, engaged, and valued.
Make sure that the audience understands that they can participate from anywhere—and make it easy for them to do so.
3. DO prepare a run of show
Preparation is the key to any good event—and preparing a run of show is particularly important for running a hybrid event. By having one source of truth with every detail—including the agenda of presenters, topics, speaker transitions, technical support, video, audio content, and more—you can help identify any potential problem areas and ensure that everyone is aligned on how the event should run.
As part of your preparation, you should also set up virtual clickers for all presenters, brief presenters to turn off notifications and stay present throughout the event, and have in-person and virtual moderators ready to answer questions and monitor Q&A.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to run through a dress rehearsal prior to the event to troubleshoot any technical issues and make sure all speakers are ready to go.
Don’ts of Planning Hybrid Events
1. DON’T create an imbalance
The most important thing to avoid during a hybrid event is an imbalance between your virtual and in-person presence.
Remote employees dialing in should get an equivalent experience to in-person attendees, and they should have the same opportunities to participate and contribute.
If possible, try to include a balance of in-person and remote speakers, and encourage all employees to join in the way that works best for them, whether they are in-person or remote.
Over-indexing on in-person attendance can make remote attendees feel left out and undervalued, so it’s important to balance out virtual and live elements as much as possible.
2. DON’T say yes to all content
People from across the organization are going to send tons of content to include in your event, but it’s up to the employees running the event to determine what is relevant for the audience. Think back to the goal of your event and what you’re trying to achieve, and make sure that the content you’re presenting aims to reach that. The information you communicate should be clear, compelling, and relevant to the entire audience—not just those joining in-person or remotely.
3. DON’T reward in-person attendance (unless remote attendees are similarly rewarded)
People are going to join your event from everywhere, and in order to make the experience as equitable as possible, you should avoid rewarding in-person attendees.
Offering food, merch, and other physical prizes to employees that attend in-person can disincentivize remote workers to join in and make them feel less valued.
Make sure that remote employees are being heard and that you aren’t prioritizing questions, comments, or other participation from in-person attendees.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll likely say it again—hybrid work is here to stay. But engaging a hybrid workforce can be extremely challenging, especially when it comes to planning equitable events and meetings.