29 September 2020
Today is, apparently, “Ask a stupid question” day.
The point of the day is to encourage people to overcome their fear of asking questions to which everyone – apart from the questioner – appears to know the answer. So in the spirit of this day, I will open with a question that might potentially leave me similarly exposed to ridicule;
“Can a webinar be as good as a well delivered “in person” seminar?”
A sensible answer
Now I’m quite certain that many people reading this item are already answering that question with a resounding; “No!”. There may be many reasons for such a response, but I am fairly sure that over the last six months we have all attended at least one event that (if we are being kind) could be described as “less than impressive”.
And I would also like to add that, in my humble opinion, there is absolutely no replacement for a really well constructed and delivered seminar in an equally great venue.
But that doesn’t mean that organisations providing webinars shouldn’t try to do their very best to deliver well within the constraints of the technology currently available. And Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing’s first couple of trial webinars before the summer did indeed prove rather successful.
But we wanted to go one better with our first virtual Howden Employment Seminar earlier this month.
Our aim was to deliver an event that felt as close as we could make it to the “fun and informative” tagline for the physical events carrying that brand. Of course this was always going to be a very real challenge without the benefit of either a live audience or one of our excellent and interesting venues.
Yet I am delighted to report that we got very near our objectives in the event which featured Gina Ellis, Employment Lawyer Matt Jenkin, and myself on the subject of Employee Benefits.
In terms of delegate feedback from the webinar, 15% rated the event “Good”, but an overwhelming 85% of attendees said that the event was “Excellent”. Having delivered seminars for many years, I can confirm that feedback doesn’t get any better than that from a large audience.
And below are listed just a small selection of the many additional positive comments made by our delegates. Some are from attendees that we know well, others from people that have never attended a physical Howden Employment Seminar before:
“Absolutely fabulous as the seminars always are!! Excellent information imparted by both speakers!!”
“I have watched a lot of webinars during recent months and this stands out as one of the most informative. It's my second Howden EW and both have been high quality events. I certainly look forward to watching the next one.”
“I've been missing these seminars! Grateful for the webinar being organised.”
“I really enjoyed the session, I learnt so much and would really like the opportunity to join your future webinars!”
“I got so much more from this than other EB webinars going on currently.”
“Amazing as always, glad I signed-up.”
“It was an excellent seminar and thoroughly enjoyable and informative - your speakers are always very charismatic which makes standard HR topics so much more interesting. I couldn't recommend your events more, whether in person or by video link.”
“Informative and enjoyable - the 2 hours passed quickly which is a good sign! Thank you.”
“Thank you to you all for your continued efforts in putting on these events. They are always a highlight in my schedule.”
“You cannot improve on perfect!”
Which I hope demonstrates that Howden’s virtual events can be (very nearly) as good as our in-person attendance seminars.
This leads me to a second – again seemingly rather naïve – question;
“Can an Employee Benefits Consultancy still be really supportive when they are unable to physically meet with a corporate client?”
Before the pandemic I think most people would have answered in the negative to this question. Yet since the start of the lockdown period the Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing team have sought to provide new tools to support our corporate clients and prospects. Webinars, weekly Blog Posts, and most significantly our COVID-19 Hub, have all been made freely available to employers across the United Kingdom. And we are delighted to record that our work has now been recognised at the 2020 Health Insurance and Protection Awards, with the team claiming the “Best Coronavirus Response by an Adviser” award.
We also picked up another important honour in the same ceremony, and in the increasingly important area of Mental Wellbeing too. Our award here was for the “Best Adviser for Mental Health Strategy & Support”.
My final question
So, regardless of the limitations of both home working and an on-going pandemic, I believe the entire Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing team have evidenced that we are still able to provide the quality information, support, and advice that all our corporate clients and their employees have come to expect. So my final question of the day is anything but stupid;
“Why would you want to go elsewhere for your Employee Benefits consultancy services?”
For more information on any of the above topics, please speak to your usual Howden Consultant in the first instance, or visit our website for other contact options. For the latest details on COVID-19 & Employee Benefits provision please visit our coronavirus hub.
Steve is Head of Benefits Strategy, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing, and is an award-winning thought leader on Pensions, Employee Benefits, and Human Resources issues. He is occasionally accused of making Employee Benefits interesting.