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With Real-Time Hybrid Events, Are All Attendees Equal?

A recent survey about hybrid workplaces finds that many remote meeting participants feel neglected—and they're pretty unhappy about it.

While the hybrid-event format can bring together a much larger audience to participate in real time versus a strictly in-person affair, many hybrid-meeting hosts are falling short on engaging the virtual segment of their audiences. Not only can this diminish the quality of a meeting’s dialogue but it can also affect the motivation and loyalty of frequent virtual attendees.

The proof: A survey about the hybrid workplace that queried employees who often attend internal meetings virtually found this: Three in ten “struggle to be heard” during those meetings, while 56 percent feel that “meeting leaders cater too heavily to the in-person audience” when conducting interactive sessions. As a result, 30 percent of respondents say they would consider a job offer from another company that shows it has a well-defined hybrid-events policy and platform that each focus on virtual-attendee engagement, particularly for departmental meetings.

The summary of the survey, conducted in December 2021 by presentation-technology firm Barco ClickShare, accompanied the firm’s quarterly meeting barometer that tracks the shift in attendee satisfaction related to the quality of interaction during hybrid (a.k.a. "blended") meetings.

“Today’s general tenure is clear: We have settled into the hybrid mode, but discontent with the current way of working is just around the corner,” according to the firm’s analysis of its most recent barometer reading. In 2019, the barometer’s net score (the difference between those who were satisfied with meetings and those who were not) was plus 63. By late 2020, employees were still positive about meetings but the difference had shrunk to plus 17. By mid-2021, the score had descended to minus 25.

The most recent reading in early 2022 fell even further, to minus 38. This was “mainly caused by 71 percent of meeting participants finding the hybrid-meeting experience to be stressful. There’s a growing frustration with virtual meetings in general and on a technical, functional, and emotional level in particular.”

Results from the full survey can be found here.

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