Keep Going HR Conference


The morning in New York makes for a (very) late evening in Melbourne. So, how do we make sure guests of our online event engage from both locations?

The solution is simple, but not all might like it. We needed to organise two phases of our event. That's why, when I hosted an event for international firm, Miele, I began work at 7:30 am (for a 9:00 am kick-off) on the first day, with the second day beginning at 1:00 pm. 


Same event 'two days in a row?'

No. Although European guests could take advantage of the centralised time zone, and take part in both days' events. That's why, though, we touched on the same subjects, w invited different speakers. I also prepared a moderated discussion for both of the days. Meanwhile the agency responsible for the online event had prepared separate agendas.



Couldn't we record everything in the same day?

One might think that such an international (4-continent) event could happen at a time that suits the vast majority. The rest could then watch it later, recreating something that has already ended. No - I think that's a bad idea. Because if we really value our audience, we should offer everyone – regardless of the time zone – equally engaging material.

For this reason, I advised my clients not to record speeches. Invited to a specific hour, the audience will quickly realize that they are watching a perfect, but completely non-interactive message. Amidst the turmoil of the coronavirus, we stayed at home, but we still experienced a sense of the event together.


What do I particularly appreciate about Miele's people approach?

I value the organizers who had the courage not only to organize a live online conference, but even allow for two-way communication. As you can see in this photo, not only could presenters, but also the conference participants speak at any time and actively influence the course of the event.

When we enable mutual contact, virtual events take on a value of their own.


How do I draw people closer together online?

First of all, I prepare meticulously. I used a dedicated website that the organizers made available to participants. Such a simple thing as a list of names of dozens of global HR directors was essential. I often use LinkedIn - and this time it turned out to be just as invaluable. One employee celebrated 20 years of work at Miele, another shared a post about the importance of the work-life balance. This knowledge came in handy for me when engaging them at the beginning of the conference. This helped prove that I understand their world, and not someone oblivious to their work. Someone will say that it's just small talk. But my answer to that is it's special talk- building that essential connection.


What are organisers and participants saying?

We held a conference for heads of HR departments from around the world, and via his own initiative, Maciej collected more information about them. Throughout the online event, he skilfully minimised the distance between workers. He would, for example, ask about the weather in Melbourne, but also congratulate a person who had just celebrated 20 years of work. Interestingly, our employees at subsequent online meetings began to imitate Maciej's style and improve contact with each other.

Eliza Bernat

Organiser, Head of Human Resources Miele Global Services