Showing up and sharing a laugh while syncing on ideas is what drives businesses forward. Just ask any road warrior: In-person connections allow people, ideas, and businesses to reach their potential.
Beyond closing big deals and securing partnerships, the ability to travel for business -- especially when it comes to learning opportunities like conferences and events -- boosts employee morale.
Morale is a significant driver of every business. Employees with high, positive morale have better attitudes towards their work, maintain higher levels of customer service, and are among the most productive on their teams.
On the flip side, employees with bad morale can shift the office atmosphere and drag down efficiencies within teams. Disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually, according to years of research from The Engagement Institute.
Morale is the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a person or group. And feeling valued and empowered is a key factor in keeping spirits high and focus in tact.
Employee morale leads to increased productivity, fewer absences, and lower employee turnover. According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace, engaged employees are more present and productive, more attuned to the needs of customers, and, more observant of processes, standards and systems. A highly engaged workforce can result in 21 percent greater profitability!
Companies can empower their employees by asking them to search relevant conferences, to choose and present which they are most excited about, and take ownership of the experience.
Conferences for professional development as well as educational opportunities are listed as two of the top 23 ways to improve company morale in Small Business Trends.
Meghan Biro, founder of TalentCulture, believes that companies can boost employee morale by providing opportunities for professional development, career advancement, and upward mobility by investing in growth opportunities such as resources and industry events. Biro ties these opportunities to fostering an “intrapreneurial” spirit among employees.
“The more engaged in work and in life your people are, the more their intrapreneurial impulses will be encouraged and nurtured. When we engage in activities and learning that feed our passions, we bring that passion to work with us. So pay for courses, classes, and activities that spark curiosity, build confidence, and may well lead to ideas and innovations that will boost performance and profits,” she told HR brand RISE.
Conferences serve a much different purpose than the standard business trip in which a meeting or deal are the sole objective. Conferences provide the flexibility in which to relax and take in different ideas and hear from dozens of thought leaders. The variety and speed at which different ideas are presented can provide the bedrock for creative inspiration.
Companies also show employees that they are valued and trusted by creating these opportunities, and afterwards asking them to share learnings with their team or provide feedback on current business practices.
A culture that supports continual learning and employee engagement helps keep top performers from looking around. Research found that 83 percent of employees with opportunities to take on new challenges say they’re more likely to stay with the organization. Employees who feel their voice is heard at work are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. The best employees are not happy standing still. Giving employees time and money to further their education is a great way to retain enthusiastic employees.
Fostering employee engagement can increase profits by $2,400 per employee per year, according to research from the Workplace Research Foundation. Engaged, empowered and satisfied employees build the bottom line!
Conferences can hold an especially important role when it comes to boosting the morale of remote workers -- that of building human connections. Although these employees execute independently on a daily basis, a conference is a terrific place to connect with the industry beyond their co-workers and make them feel that they are part of something much bigger than themselves and their home office.
For companies today that are completely remote, encouraging employees to attend at least one conference each year provides opportunities for stimulation and connection outside of team meetings.
“I have long held the belief that technology can never replace the nuance and elegance of human connection. Throughout my career, the vast majority of my most enriching experiences were in-person, face-to-face connections,” said Rashida Hodge, a vice president at IBM, as part of The Global Work Connectivity Study.
Of the 2,000+ managers and employees surveyed across 10 countries, the study found that almost half of an employee’s day is spent using technology to communicate versus in-person, and that slightly more than half feel lonely always or very often as a result.
“While remote workers gain freedom and flexibility, the study found that they are disengaged and less likely to want a long-term career with their company because of their lack of human contact. Today’s leaders need to use technology as a bridge to connection so that they can foster strong work cultures, where employee’s human needs are met and supported,” said Dan Schawbel, author of Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation.
Conferences can also be fun, and sparking a little joy might be exactly what your colleague or employee needs right now. With concerts and food trucks, incredible views and stimulating conversation, a well-orchestrated conference can lift spirits -- and intelligence.
For all these reasons and more, we are looking forward to hosting TRAVERSE 19, a travel + tech festival by TripActions, for the first time on October 2-3 in San Francisco.
There will be dozens of sessions that will cover travel policy, consumerization, artificial intelligence, travel program measurement, female travelers, and duty of care. There will also be food trucks, music and the opportunity to see the best of San Francisco.
If you think that TRAVERSE is something that you’d benefit from -- on any level -- we’re here to make it happen for you. We’ve even crafted an ROI letter that you can simply fill in to show your manager why TRAVERSE is worth it.