Events are not exclusive to any industry, business, or group of people. Every year, from sports and weddings to big banks and marketing agencies, all kinds of people have events. As event professionals, they employ specific skills to plan and engage that audience. Should HR core competencies be a part of those skills?
On today’s episode of the Event Brew, the Brew Crew shares their thoughts on HR competencies and the event professional’s skillset. What does it look like for an event professional to employ HR core competencies in the events industry? What impact could these competencies have on your career and the planned events? Let’s find out.
Should Event Professionals Learn HR Competencies?
To begin today’s discussion, Thuy starts with the central question: do event professionals need to learn human resources core competencies? Yes or no?
“I think it’s a yes, if…” says Deanna. “If you want to align your career to be more about internal events, company culture, and employer brand, then that’s a way to specialize and not just be a generalist at events. But I don’t believe all event professionals should tap into HR core competencies. Do you need it for the work you’re trying to do? That’s my asterisk.”
Thuy agrees but takes it even further. “I don’t even think it’s just for event professionals,” she says. “I think all employees should know the company’s mission, vision, and core beliefs. In interviews, I ask, out of all the core beliefs, which one do you resonate with? That helps me because that’s your blueprint. I think event professionals designing experiences should tap into those HR core values because you’re designing for the audience, and that audience is the internal team.”
“I’m a little bit on Deanna’s side; no, but with an asterisk,” adds Will. “I’ll say no initially because knowing that you need to have employer posters for equal opportunity in your common spaces is not important. However, we need to think about how events create more alignment with the company. How do they create a better culture? How do they help us recruit more people to work at the company? But I also feel planners have so much on their plate right now; how can we expect them to learn another thing?”
Nick adds his response now, saying yes, people need to learn HR core competencies. “I think what matters is, do you understand, from an HR perspective, where organizations are coming from, their goal setting, how they metrically score, and what they’re trying to accomplish? That stuff should be core competency for an event planner because our job is to show our worth and value. Events make a huge impact in communities, but we don’t do a great job of communicating all the differences they make within organizations. So for me, it’s that holistic approach of the HR core competencies, of understanding people and what makes them valuable and treating them as valuable resources.”
Event Professionals Have a Lot to Offer and a Lot to Learn
Deanna raises an interesting point; HR competencies can play an essential role in creating various kinds of content in and out of events. “I think there are a couple of core competencies within the HR area that would benefit all event professionals,” she says. “When I think of learning and development, a lot of times that fall under HR. If you’re training your workforce and creating programs, some of those core competencies are really key when you’re building content for people to learn, connect, or for inspiration.”
Thuy adds to Deanna’s point. “For me, it’s also about strategy. Not only do I want to know what success looks like in HR, but I also want to know what success looks like in sales and operations. Create a strategy. That’s how I look at things,” says Thuy. “I want to know what every individual’s success looks like, and then how can an event professional add to that?”
“I think the biggest thing that hasn’t snapped back now that we’re out of covid is the idea of a split-up workforce,” adds Nick. “The things that are taking a hit are the things that we really know how to make an impact on.”
For Nick, many event planners already use skills like HR competencies to build extraordinary events. “When you think of culture, the idea of creating purpose, identity, and safety, these are the things you can accomplish in a shared experience; it takes intentional experience design as opposed to incidental clashing and meetings in the same building. That level of intention is the kind of thing only we know how to do.”
In conclusion, Nick summarizes how the Brew Crew feels about HR competencies as an additional thing for event professionals to learn. “I guess we came down on the line, for the most part, on should event professionals invest in HR competencies. It depends solely on your specific occupation in the broad umbrella of events,” says Nick. “But, it seems like we have a consensus on having a better understanding of where HR is coming from and that it has a lot of value in what we do.”
Nick compares learning HR competencies to learning marketing terminology. “Moving forward, I think it’s similar to how, over the last 10 years, event professionals have learned more about marketing terminology and where they fit in the scheme of things,” he explains. “It’s probably time to look at HR similarly, especially in a world with a bigger need for intentional experience design. To me, it’s super exciting to talk to HR professionals because we’re so uniquely qualified to be helpful in this area. I’m very much like, how do we use the things we know how to do in as many ways as possible to always be of value to people.”
Of course, we want to know what our listeners think. Do you believe event professionals need to learn HR core competencies? You can use #EventBrew or email us to share your thoughts. Thanks for joining us. Until next time!