HR Summit Registrants
HR Summit Registrants / Attendees
151 / 126
Number of Hg Attendee Locations
Head of Community & Events
Hg is a leading software and services investor and one of the largest private equity (PE) firms in Europe. In part, their success comes from a willingness to do things a little differently. “A traditional PE fund will acquire a business, may change the management team, and provide minimal operational support—they’re a bit more hands-off,” says Jessica Greenhalgh, Head of Community & Portfolio Engagement. “Hg is committed to building organizations that change the way we all do business, through deep sector specialization and dedicated operational support. We partner with our portfolio businesses and see management teams as our peers. It's very forward-thinking.”
A big part of this partnership model involves fostering community and learning opportunities between the companies in Hg’s portfolio. That’s Jessica’s domain. She not only runs Hg’s online community—“Hive”—a platform connecting over 2,000 C-suite level executives and managers, but also hosts events throughout the year where people come together to network and exchange ideas. These events range from monthly hangouts, Data Analytics forums, to HR and Talent summits, to roundtable events for CEOs. “We facilitate peer-to-peer collaboration,” says Jessica. “This allows Hg to foster an expert community that shares our collective Hg IP and activates a world-class support network of collaborators that delivers tangible value impact to our portfolio. It then becomes a desirable resource to prospect management teams.” But when the pandemic struck, she had to completely rethink her events strategy.
When everything first shut down, Jessica leaned hard on her existing online resources, setting up a COVID-19 community on the Hive platform and hosting webinars. But by summer 2020, she could tell she was beginning to lose her audience’s attention. “Everyone had video call fatigue,” she says. “Initially in the spring when people joined our webinars, everyone had their camera on, everyone was present. Now their cameras were off. They were multitasking, so we did not have their full attention.”
“We wanted to make it an experience—not just a virtual event.”
With a big HR and Talent Summit on the horizon and other virtual events soon to follow, Jessica knew she wanted to do better. “These summits are longer, so we knew we needed to make them more engaging,” says Jessica. “We wanted to make it an experience—not just a virtual event. I was on a mission to find a really differentiated virtual events platform, continually trying to raise the bar even in a pandemic, and lead the way for our portfolio.”
To find the best solution, Jessica evaluated 36 (yes, 36) different virtual events platforms. “What I was finding was a lot of them had nice user interfaces, but they were all more or less the same on the inside when it came to the video experience,” says Jessica. Nevertheless, she kept up the search, and her persistence paid off.
“When I landed on the Welcome platform, I knew it was a game-changer.,” she says. “When you first get there, you've got a slick entry point, really nice looking user interface and flow to the site. You then go through and you've got the main auditorium where you come on stage. You can feel the anticipation—it’s like when you go to the cinema and there’s the pre-roll announcing the feature presentation.”
“When I landed on the Welcome platform, I knew it was a game-changer.”
She loves how easy it is to navigate inside the Welcome platform. “It’s really user-friendly,” she says. The graphic overlays were also a big selling point. “I liked that you don’t have to do a typical slide show,” she says. “The graphic overlays look like a fantastic finish, making it feel like a sleek, professional summit, rather than something more DIY.” Other hits included the ability to white-label the platform to make it feel like Hg’s brand and the photo booth (“obviously, that’s a lot of fun,” she says).
But what really clinched it for her was the attendee experience. “With other video conferencing platforms, people were turning off their videos when they came on,” she says. “I think the reason was, even though we're not all presenting, we all felt like we were on stage and it wasn't relaxing or easy to watch. The thing about Welcome is, we don't have people on camera all the time, which means that it's nice for them to come and have a TV experience and watch the show—and participate when they want to.”
Jessica’s pursuit of the best virtual events platform paid off, big time. “The users and attendees absolutely love Welcome,” she says. “Our HR and Talent Summit had the best NPS score I’ve ever had across online and offline events. It was eighty percent.” For Jessica’s global audience—with attendees spread across the UK, US, India, and Australia—going virtual also meant that more people than ever could attend and be a part of the event.
And it wasn’t just a great experience for the attendees, but for the speakers too. “When we had our first summit, the HR leaders thought it was really cool going into the green room,” Jessica says. “And it's so silly, because when people are on camera, nothing changes when you go from the green room to the stage. But you could tell they felt a rush when they went on stage—it made it feel real to them.”
“People wanted to attend because it was fun, not because they felt obligated.”
Jessica chalks up her success to having the support of a platform that allowed her to think outside the box. “It’s a combination of hitting the right tone with the content and the format, and everything the platform enabled,” she says. “I think what I keep coming back to is making it feel like an experience. People wanted to attend because it was fun, not because they felt obligated.”
Her conclusion? “There’s a lot you can do to make it go right, but having the right platform enables the overall experience.” For Jessica, there’s no doubt in her mind that the right platform is Welcome.