The FM Professional

The business case for attending conferences

Darin Herle
April 30th, 2019
Speaker giving a talk in conference hall at business event

Facility managers have a wide breadth of responsibilities and often work behind the scenes to get the job done. The work of facilities management is constant, but as in any industry, it’s important that FMs take the time to engage with their peers and learn from leaders in their field in order to maintain their competitive edge. Conferences provide an opportunity for facility managers to capture valuable updates for their company in a short amount of time, letting them get back to the work of facilities management better equipped for the task at hand.


As companies rush to keep pace with the changing requirements of cybersecurity, remote work and health and wellness, conferences can become a vital way for FMs to stay up to date on the latest technologies and emerging best practices. When making the business case for attending industry events, take note of the following advantages.

1. Get a fresh perspective on the industry

Facility and workplace managers who want to stay current and competitive will find the tools they need at large facility management conferences like WORKTECH and the summits hosted by IFMA and Corenet. These events offer FMs the opportunity to hear from invited experts, who often share their research and facilitate discussions about where the industry is headed. The topics covered can range from IoT implementations to commercial real estate market dynamics, and FMs can use what they’ve learned in a handful of days to better help their executives make major decisions within the organization.

It’s important to note that the type of research unveiled at conferences isn’t always easy to find, as it’s the kind of intel often kept by a company for internal use or expensive reports. Facility management summits not only make this type of data more accessible, but also give it context, as professionals from many different backgrounds discuss the research on the floor.

2. Develop team specialization and job satisfaction

Business people taking notes in conference room

One of the greatest challenges of facility management is its variety. FMs and their teams need to be well-versed in topics like innovation, team management, business best practices and legal frameworks. It can be hard for managers to develop highly-specialized skills when there are so many responsibilities to juggle.

Conferences provide the perfect venue for facility management teams to build out much needed skill sets. 

Conferences provide the perfect venue for facility management teams to build out much needed skill sets. Attendees get the chance to take workshops and earn certifications in crucial categories like sustainability, cybersecurity and regulation compliance while also learning from their peers.

As they identify their knowledge gaps, FMs can pick the specific conferences that match their organizational needs. Many events cover highly-specialized topics or provide unique insight into a specific region of the world. A facilities management summit can be a great place to address an organizational weakness with strategic learning.

Lastly, by sending staff to conferences and workshops, companies stand to gain a return on investment in the form of employee retention and performance. As noted in LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees would stay at their company longer if it invested in their career. Businesses can show their team members that education is a leading value for the organization, and that personal development is available to interested employees.

3. Meet talent and discover new services

Arguably the most obvious benefit of conferences is convenient networking. Having hundreds (if not thousands) of industry professionals congregated in a space offers FMs the opportunity to meet new people, uncover fresh solutions to old problems and sign up for valuable services. Managers can compare different services quickly and consult with professionals before making a high-investment recommendation to their C-suite. Doing all of this at a conference can save precious time and energy when the alternative is contacting each vendor separately.



Recruiting is also a selling point for conferences: workplace managers hiring for new positions or seeking out specialty skill sets have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with many talented attendees. Expanding your network and building connections can often be the first step to finding the perfect hire.

4. Build your company’s brand

Audience at a conference event in office

Facility and workplace managers with a particular area of expertise can use conferences as an effective way to build their company’s brand equity. FMs can establish their company as a thought leader in the industry by giving presentations, highlighting their research or learnings and hosting panels. Landing on a panel requires planning and networking in advance, but the result is stronger relationships and better brand visibility.

The true value of attending industry conferences isn’t any one of these benefits: it’s in the convenience of having all of them packaged together. FMs can use conferences as an opportunity to inspire their teams and ramp up the pace of change in their organizations. Proactive FMs will be able to build their company’s reputation, bond with their team, develop their skill sets, create new partnerships and gather essential data in the span of just a few days.

Can’t wait for the next industry event? We’ve compiled insights from the top facilities management thought leaders on the Workplace Unplugged blog, so you can start your conference prep today. Meet the OfficeSpace team in person at IFMA’s World Workplace event this October in Phoenix, Arizona.

Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Matej Kastelic, Shutterstock / Rido, Shutterstock / wavebreakmedia