Retrospecting on the 2022 Cosmic Conference: Pits and Peaks
This article was part of our annual Cosmic Conference series and this year our focus was all about (re)Designing the Employee Experience. From Sept. 28th - Oct. 21st, 2022 we explored all things EX. Check out all conference sessions and insights here.
We just wrapped up our 2022 Cosmic Conference all about (re)designing the employee experience. This was our third year producing the conference - and this year, we did things differently. We explored a new type of conference; a conference sprint, which includes in-person and virtual events, long and short-form content, workshops, networking opportunities, insights, and resources. We also experimented with the session formats, and had live coaching sessions, reduced the number of panels, and developed even more asynchronous content.
As a learning organization, we value experimenting new ideas, and reflecting on them to do better next time. We know experimenting comes at a risk, but believe what we learn is worth those risks.
Below are a few of the honest takeaways from our Conference retrospective including both the pits and the peaks of this year’s event.
We used a new tool and it did not work out
In the spirit of trial and experimentation we gave a new streaming tool a shot for this conference. Although we did our research and tested it before we kicked things off, we experienced technical difficulties at some point including integrating slides or presentations during the live sessions.
LinkedIn’s inability to manage multichannel events LinkedIn is not the ideal platform to steam to multiple channels. Since the same stream is considered on the platform as a different event for each channel, it confused attendees who only clicked ‘attend’ on one. Additionally, using different channels lagged the speed and seamlessness of the stream.
A three-week gig is a lot of work We were very excited to try out new formats for this conference, and underestimated how much work it takes to do this conference over the span of three weeks! There were days we all had to work hard for long hours, but as always, we stuck to our values, which stayed engaged and motivated by a common purpose.
Our speakers were great! We’re lucky to have had incredible speakers from different backgrounds, who shared amazing insights with our attendees. From academics to CEOs, we learned a lot from our guests! If you missed out on a session, check all of their insights here, and check out what resonated with our team the most here.
The sessions were spaced out This year, we did not schedule the sessions back to back. This gave us a more accurate idea about when attendees prefer to tune in (early in the morning). It also helped us better prepare for the other sessions whereas in previous years, we jumped from panel to panel. Moving forward, we will use the learnings about when to air the lives to schedule the sessions at the optimal time per audience segment.
The theme was versatile The employee experience is an umbrella term that includes a lot of themes, and going with a conference sprint allowed us to cover a lot of ground: internal comms, employee engagement, flexible work, onboarding, upskilling, retention, culture & values, human connections , organizational strategy… We learned a lot about how to (re)design the employee experience strategically, how to execute it across different touchpoints, and how to nurture community and connections at work to get a great human experience.
The In-person opening event brought us closer together It was the first time we saw our community in-person! After 2.5 years of operating in a remote-first world and hosting virtual events, we got the chance to shake hands, hug and share an actual room with our community. We will definitely host more in-person experiences to bring our partners and collaborators in one space together.
Developing more asynchronous content made content more accessible We know time zones can be a barrier to attending conferences, so producing content that can be consumed asynchronously allowed attendees to learn when it’s most convenient to them.
There is no limit to learning together. As the content of our 2022 Cosmic Conference will always be available on our website, we invite you to revisit, rethink, and reflect on how to (re)design the employee experience