Involve research shows CEOs to be skeptical over value of internal events

The Involve Insight 2014 survey, published today (19th November), has found that almost half of all CEOs surveyed see internal events as a cost, rather than an investment.

London-based communications agency, Involve, commissioned Illuma Research to carry out the survey during June and August this year. The research is based on responses from 199 HR, Marketing and Communications Directors in large corporations with an events budget of over £100000, who are responsible for – or significantly involved in – the management of big internal conferences and events. 100 events managers in large corporations were also surveyed.

A distinct disparity between the views of CEOs and employees was noted from the responses; only half of CEOs (51%) see internal events as an investment, while two thirds of employees (67%) see their inherent value.

CEOs in low spend organisations (between £100,000 to £250,000 a year on internal events, as defined by respondents) see events as more of an investment than those in high spend organisations (with spend of £250,000 to £1m a year).

Employee engagement (84%) and revenue & profit (81%) were found to be the two critical measures that respondents expect to influence with internal events.

Although events are used to influence ‘business critical’ measures, corporates are not consistently measuring whether they are achieving goals. Just 54% of directors claim to measure the ROI ‘extremely’ or ‘very robustly’. This figure is much higher among event managers with 62% saying they measure ROI ‘extremely’ or ‘very robustly’. Not surprisingly, perhaps, those with larger spend claim to be better at evaluation (61% as opposed to 46%).

Most companies opt for conventional evaluation methods often focused on collating feedback. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of companies use post-event delegate surveys; 46% use direct feedback and 31% use ‘happy sheets’ on the day. Event managers collect much more direct feedback than their bosses, 61 per cent compared to 46 per cent.
Jeremy Starling, Managing Director of Involve, commented: “There is a clear disconnect between the CEOs view of internal events and the views of the rest of the company.
“A prime cause of this has to be a lack of proof that internal events are delivering long-term behavioural change or hitting other indicators of success. The long-term growth of this industry depends on securing buy-in from CEOs across the board. Using robust measurements to track ROI is vital to determine whether internal events are truly effective and successfully delivering against an organisation’s ‘business critical’ goals.”

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