The power of authentic and rewarding interactions
FCM Meetings & Events’ client, WorkPac, is Australia’s largest privately owned workforce services business, with a national network of recruitment industry specialists. Their annual Leadership Conference, not held since 2019 due to the pandemic, is an important way to recognise and reward their leaders and high achieving staff.
In 2022, the 2.5 day event was held at Crystalbrook Byron Bay from October 28 to 30, with a full day board meeting held on the 27 October. WorkPac employees, and partners, attended from Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and West Australia. The event agenda included a board meeting & dinner, welcome reception, conference, gala dinner and recovery breakfast.
To facilitate the annual WorkPac Board Meeting at a venue away from day-to-day distractions, where the focus could be fully on the business and its strategic goals moving forward. Gathering the board members and key stakeholders before the main conference allowed management to set the tone for the event and share their insights.
The overarching goal of the Leadership Conference was to acknowledge the commitment of high achievers in a unique setting with an exclusive feel. To encourage connection and to maintain engagement, the agenda was designed with a bare minimum of ‘talking head’ presentations. Instead, a more informal format created space for a variety of interactions, the exchange of ideas and hands-on activities.
As the conference was a postponed COVID19-impacted event, the challenge was rebooking a suitable and unique venue with a premium offering in the current tight market. The FCM Meetings & Event team also worked to manage client expectations while dealing with limited, high season availability for both venues and suppliers.
While Crystalbrook was secured as an ideal location, it also presented logistical issues as the closest airport at Coolangatta was an hour drive away. Meanwhile some delegates arriving from South Australia and West Australia could only fly into Brisbane two hours away – a situation that was managed with a door-to-door private coach transfer. Adding to the complexity was the challenge of attendees travelling from across four different daylight saving time zones, yet needing to arrive at similar times to manage the coach transfers. All at a time when domestic flights were still relatively expensive and airline schedules were limited.
The event provided the perfect opportunity for delegates to feel valued for the contribution they’ve made to WorkPac’s culture and success. The FCM Meeting & Events team drew on the iconic Byron Bay location to create an engaging and interactive agenda in a setting that fuelled collaboration.
By dispensing with formality, the focus was turned to providing a platform for attendees to meet and engage with each other in a meaningful and authentic way. The customised program incorporated personal downtime, while organised events outside of Crystalbrook embraced local notable producers and restaurants, including Three Blue Ducks.
To complement the theme of personal achievement, the conference guest speaker was John Maclean – an extreme wheelchair athlete, mentor and Olympic medallist. John’s inspirational story of pushing beyond physical and mental barriers to achieve goals and overcome adversity was a standout highlight for all delegates. FCM Meetings & Events also arranged for delegates to receive a copy of his new book to take home. Feedback included “John was easily the best speaker that we have had at a conference!” and “very inspiring – also appreciated the book to be able to take in his story again at my own pace.”
Another highlight was the Big Picture team building activity, chosen to introduce an element of fun and creativity, while focusing on the importance of planning, communication and time management. Working in small groups, each team was responsible for painting several canvases that were to form part of one larger artwork. For the project to work, the teams needed to share a joint vision of the ‘Big Picture’, to ensure their paintings worked seamlessly with each other. The reward and highlight was seeing all of the paintings joined together, to reveal the final collaborative artwork.
FCM Meeting and Events scheduled the full-day board meeting prior to the star of the conference, to give members dedicated time to focus on the business, strategies, objectives and goals before the delegates arrived.
To streamline event management, a dedicated registration website was created to capture delegate data and to allow attendees to self-register themselves and their partner. In addition, an EventApp created by FCM Meeting and Events was launched six weeks out from conference to efficiently coordinate all travel logistics, manage changes, provide agenda information and to communicate with attendees in a timely manner. In total, 87% of attendees downloaded the app and found it to be a vital source of information and useful for providing notification reminders throughout the event.
Extensive post-event feedback gathered by FCM Meetings & Events indicated that everyone enjoyed the program and the break down of the conference into two sessions. Attendee comments included “it was really enjoyable, a good mix of planned events and downtime” and “great content, location and timed well throughout.”
WorkPac event staff appreciated the efficiency and consistency of having access to the same space for the whole event, allowing for the space to be easily refreshed and changed for each session. By holding the majority of the activities on site at Crystalbrook, attendees enjoyed the opportunity to relax and recharge during breaks in the program for lunch and between the conference ending and the gala dinner. The cohesive event seamlessly aligned with WorkPac’s objective of valuing, supporting and inspiring their people – as their greatest asset.
This was the best conference that I have attended. The event was well paced, not too busy and had plenty of down time to relax. - WorkPac attendee