11 best employee engagement conferences to attend in 2023

HR professionals have plenty of employee engagement conferences to choose from. Here, we list the best across the US, UK, and beyond.

What we'll cover

HR and employee engagement conferences are more than educational forums for people management insights (although that’s absolutely one of the benefits of attending these events). They are also a gateway to exciting, lucrative networking opportunities — it’s no wonder that huge businesses are built on running conferences for HR and people leaders.

Which employee engagement and HR conferences are best for you to attend in 2023? We’ve put together a list of the events worth your time and the speakers you should be lining up to hear from.

The importance of employee engagement conferences

Every organization strives to engage its workforce, making employee engagement investments and running employee engagement programs. And yet, the latest surveys illustrate that 79% of employees don't feel engaged at work meaning that we’ve still got work to do. 

Disengagement is widespread — particularly when it comes to frontline employee engagement — and every business can take bold steps to improve.

Employee engagement is about inspiring your staff to be the best version of themselves. It requires a proactive attitude, one that picks employees up and motivates them to find their feet and climb higher. 

But the opportunity to engage employees can only be achieved by seeking out the tried and tested advice of experts. And that’s where employee engagement conferences come in.

What's the link between employee experience and employee engagement?

This is a topic we see come up a lot, but there’s an easy way to remember where employee engagement fits within employee experience.

Employee engagement is the target you're trying to hit and employee experience is the means to get you there. 

Employee experience covers everything an individual sees, hears, feels, and believes while at work. It’s made up of countless interactions (or ‘moments that matter’) across the employee lifecycle, from the initial onboarding process to daily tools and responsibilities. Employee engagement, on the other hand, is how demonstrably committed a worker is to their role and your organization.

What are the 4 Cs and 3 Es of employee engagement?

Driving employee engagement is easier when you have a simple guide to follow. Here are the seven key points that will take center stage at employee engagement conferences in 2023:

  • Contribution - employees need to feel they have an active role to play in your company and that their work is making a notable impact
  • Connection - whether working remotely, on-site, or on the frontline, it's important to avoid working in silos by forging meaningful relationships with co-workers
  • Communication - having a management team that’s accessible and approachable offers employees the means by which to speak up and take part
  • Confidence - members of staff need certainty in their role, to allow them to perform to the highest of their abilities, without worrying about the health of the company or if their job is at risk
  • Empowerment - instilling employees with a sense of trust and authority gives them the motivation to go that extra mile
  • Enablement - in order to improve productivity, every employee needs to have the right tool for the job, so ensure their technology needs are met
  • Energization - give your staff a reason to act, in an age of unmotivated employees resorting to quiet quitting, incentivize your workers to go above and beyond

The challenges and benefits of frontline employee engagement

Frontline employee engagement challenges

When it comes to frontline employees, there are several unique challenges to consider. And all too often courses, articles, and guides don't feel as relevant or relatable — as if they've been written with one (office-based) employee model in mind.

Frontline workers feel disengagement more acutely than most other professions. For one, there’s the disconnection inherent in their line of work, separating them from their co-workers and the wider organization. This deals a heavy blow to morale and productivity in the process.

The trick is to find an employee engagement solution that suits the frontline’s needs and requirements. It should speak to their inconsistent sense of belonging with the company and offer clear development to help employees build careers with your organization, rather than ‘just jobs’. 

This goes beyond empty investments and initiatives. Frontline employees want to feel listened to, recognized, and included in strategies that directly affect them, rather than being an afterthought.

Frontline employee engagement benefits

The truth is, we all know the benefits of an increase in engagement. Employees that are committed, motivated, and engaged at work deliver more and perform better — and that means your bottom line improves across each and every level of your organization.

Absenteeism and health and safety incidents fall significantly and employee turnover plummets as staff engagement soars. With this, your competitiveness in the industry and attractiveness to prospective new hires is solidified. For CHROs, this is what makes the job feel great and it's understandable to see why employee engagement conferences are so appealing.

Learn more about how frontline organizations can improve employee experience and engagement through Blink’s customer case studies.

Active participation is essential to get the most from employee engagement conferences

11 must-see HR and employee engagement conferences for 2023

UNLEASH America 2023

Priding themselves on securing top industry names, you can expect to see representatives from Amazon, Deloitte, Capital One, UPS, Microsoft, and many others, all sharing their invaluable talent management insights.

With a strong focus on HR tech, UNLEASH is the ideal opportunity to explore how technology is changing the future of work across all industries — and the investments you can make to elevate efficiency. It's a must for those in HR and employee engagement.

CIPD Festival of Work

This convention is not to be missed. One of the biggest of its kind, the CIPD Festival of Work boasts an impressive roster of guests. Organizations with frontline workers will be particularly interested in hearing from Danny Mortimer, CEO of NHS Employers, Tunde Agoro, Head of ESG at Hydrock, Fiona Brunskill, Chief People Officer of Transport for London, and Toby Culshaw, Global Head of Talent Intelligence at Amazon.

And for that specific focus on employee engagement, CIPD has two keynotes lined up: ‘Maintaining engagement through periods of change’ and ‘Employee listening — the key to retention and employee engagement’.

SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2023

Energetic, vibrant, and fun — SHRM's annual conferences are well-known in the HR world. SHRM’s mission is to offer the widest possible reach with its events, covering ways to improve every facet of working life.

This gathering of industry professionals from all walks of life guarantees that every organization has something to gain from the expansive four-day HR conference.

HR Summit

HR Summit is the UK’s home for HR networking. Understanding that your time is precious, their goal is to pair you up with professionals that can answer the burning questions you have and provide the solutions you need.

They achieve this by organizing pre-arranged, face-to-face meetings between delegates and key industry suppliers. The event also features an array of cutting-edge technology, as well as HR products and services, all presented without a pushy hard sell.

HR Vision

Technology is a main talking point at many HR conferences. The tools we use to manage staff and improve business practices are growing exponentially — and HR Vision dives into the tech that’ll revolutionize your workflows.

The aim of this HR conference is to empower your workforce with the right HR technology and connect People leaders to an impressive set of speakers. Look out for Brady Pyle, Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer at NASA, Stephen Pierce, Deputy MD and CHRO of Hitachi Europe, and Cath Possamai, CEO of Recruiting Group, British Army, and other big names on the HR Vision agenda.

CHROs particularly interested in HR technology should also look at HR Technologies conference in London on 3-4 May.

Western Cities HR Conference 2023

The idea of a sprawling event can feel overwhelming for those new to the employee engagement conference scene. Thankfully, there are more intimate options, such as Canada's Western Cities HR Conference 2023. 

This event is made up of personal interactions with like-minded professionals and is designed to help managers gain a better understanding of their employees’ challenges. And with a focus on improving employee experience to drive employee engagement, this year's Western Cities HR Conference may be the best option for those looking to dip their toe into the HR conference experience.

HR Technology Conference & Expo

Delivering the best HR tech on the market is what a lot of HR conferences pride themselves on. But for companies looking ahead to the horizon, they want to know what the next leap is, several years down the line — and how they can get in on the action early.

For those businesses, HR Technology Conference & Expo is where it's at. The organizers certainly know that having your finger on the pulse and investing in HR technology is a reliable way to improve your company’s HR standing.

Gartner ReimagineHR Conference

  • Date: September 11-12, 2023, October 23-25, 2023, and December 4-5, 2023
  • Location: London, UK, Orlando, USA, and Sydney, Australia
  • Ticket Price: $3,700-$4,250

While still too far away for an agenda to have been published, we’re expecting more top-quality content from Gartner’s ReimagineHR Conference in 2023. Attendees of this employee engagement conference will learn how to tackle pressing issues within talent management, such as attrition, while keeping one eye on what’s coming further down the line.

What's more, this is a great opportunity to explore leadership development, culture building, and improved strategic decision-making — all to help your business operate at its highest possible level.

Workday Rising and Workday AMEA

  • Date: September 26-29, 2023 and November 14-16, 2023
  • Location: San Francisco, USA and Barcelona, Spain
  • Ticket price: TBD

Workday’s online employee engagement content was available until April 2023 and it’s bringing the in-person experience to San Francisco and Barcelo towards the end of the year. 

With a rallying cry of “It’s time to rise”, Workday Rising’s conference content is always inspiring — and helps deliver more than a few of those employee engagement 4 Cs and 3 Es. It’s energizing and empowering, designed to enable People leaders to excel in their roles. You’ll also connect with fellow leaders and gain greater confidence in the work that you do.

How to get the most from an employee engagement conference

With so many options in mind, having a clear game plan will result in the best takeaways and ROI from your experience. Here's what you should focus on:

Research and planning

What are the particular challenges your organization is facing? Will improving retention have the most impact or do you need to create a culture of communication? Understanding where you’re at today and where you want to be in the future is a great way to prepare for employee engagement conference season.

While it might not look like it on the surface, each HR conference will have its own niche angle. Research the speakers, investigate the talking points, and read reviews of how engaging and effective their output is. What you want to see are the success stories, so you can become one too.

Organize your time

HR conferences are designed to wow you. There are multiple stands, panels, and events that will draw your attention, but having a clear itinerary will keep you on track. Keep the exact timings and locations of must-see sessions marked down to avoid disappointment. But don't overload yourself either. Make sure you schedule breaks and allow for chance encounters, too.

Network before, during, and after

Speaking of encounters… The best thing about employee engagement conferences is that you’re with like-minded professionals. Hunt down the group chats or hashtags on sites like LinkedIn to build those connections in advance, then make time in your schedule to introduce yourself in person.

And, perhaps most importantly, keep the fire burning. Maintain momentum and keep in touch to convert that conference acquaintance into a strong business connection.

This is particularly important for HR leaders from frontline organizations. As we know, there are very few conferences that cater specifically to the frontline employee engagement challenges, so use the events listed above to find your allies. You can support each other from there!

Meet Blink at an employee engagement conference near you

Here at Blink, we don't just talk about HR conferences — we attend them too. Take a look at the exciting employee engagement conferences we'll be attending this year. And whether this is your first time or you're a seasoned pro, come and say hello.

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