In early August, we welcomed over 1,000 clients, partners, and staffing professionals to our annual user conference, CONNECT. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s conference was held virtually. This new format enabled clients and partners from across the US and Canada to participate safely and free of charge. Avionté CONNECT serves as an opportunity for us to build stronger relationships with our customers, educate the industry on our latest releases, and offers a platform for customers to help drive the future of the product. This year’s conference was the 11th annual CONNECT in Avionté’s history, and the largest one to date!
Avionté hosted CONNECT 2020 on August 4-6, 2020. It consisted of over 33 hours of content, including 32 unique breakout sessions, main stage addresses from the Avionté CEO and product leadership, and virtual booths for live Q & A. This year’s conference was sponsored by eleven Avionté integration partners who contributed breakout session content, offered virtual booths and activities to learn more about their product offerings, and helped give away hundreds of prizes and gift cards to attendees. Sponsors also hosted evening entertainment events, such as a trivia night and a live-streamed dueling pianos show, to make the conference fun and memorable. A special thanks to our sponsors for helping make CONNECT 2020 such a success!
CONNECT Conference Highlights
CONNECT 2020 kicked off on Tuesday, August 4th with an address from Avionté CEO, Karl Florida. Over 600 attendees joined live to hear Florida’s optimistic view for the state of the staffing industry, despite the economic uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. “As we look ahead at the rest of 2020 and try to peer into 2021, we see tempered optimism,” Florida stated in his address.
Florida also took the opportunity to make a major announcement. Along with Daren Jackson, Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Florida introduced Avionté CHANGE, a new staffing paycard solution. Avionté will release the CHANGE card in late 2020. It seamlessly integrates with the Avionté system and is the first paycard designed specifically for the staffing industry. CHANGE serves to address the unique challenges of staffing firms. It incentivizes employees for good behaviors that benefit both the employee and the staffing firm’s bottom line. The CHANGE card is a product of continued efforts to innovate for our customers and deliver unique solutions for the staffing and recruiting industry.
Tuesday morning was packed with plenty of breakout session content for users of all roles and levels. Some highlights included a sneak peek into our upcoming BOLD Back Office and an informative presentation lead by Avionté sales reps about increasing sales and building a winning workflow. Attendees also had the opportunity to learn about COVID-19 legislation from American Staffing Association’s Toby Malara and Brittany Sakata. They shared valuable information about recent workplace policies and business relief available to small businesses and staffing agencies.
Day one wrapped up with a little friendly competition. Essential StaffCARE sponsored a trivia tournament for attendees, partners. The host randomly split participants into teams and competed to accurately answer trivia questions from categories such as 90’s music, pop culture, geography, and U.S history. Team Five’s Company took home prize and the title of trivia champions!
Day Two of Avionté CONNECT began with an inspiring message from Avionté founder, John Long. Long encouraged the industry to seize the opportunities brought on by the global pandemic, rather than feel discouraged. Then, Long proceeded to host a panel with Avionté product leadership. The panel discussed the goals and strategy of our product and development roadmap to support our clients in the staffing and recruiting industry and continually innovate for our customers.
Wednesday’s breakout session content focused heavily on educating customers on our CLASSIC generation about migrating to AviontéBOLD. Attendees flocked to presentations like the CLASSIC to BOLD Transition Process session and the client transition experience panel hosted by Director of Client Experience, Aaron Armstrong. Clients were able to gain valuable insight on the transition process from Avionté experts on our transition team as well as customers who already took the leap.
We also presented many ways to engage with Avionté integration partners on Wednesday. Each sponsor offered a virtual booth where attendees could log in, view demos of their product, and ask questions. Many partners also offered engaging and informative breakout sessions about their product’s benefits to the staffing and recruiting industry. We ended day two with a Dueling Pianos show sponsored by integration partner, Sense. This event was a conference highlight and attendee favorite. Clients, staff, and partners were able to log in to the live stream show, performed at Bobby McKey’s Piano Bar in Maryland, and request songs via chat. This performance had all of our attendees dancing at home to oldies, 90’s pop hits, and even “(B)old Town Road!” Listen for yourself:
The final day of CONNECT 2020 invited attendees to one last round of virtual Q&A stations with Avionté teams and integration partners. There were a number of popular breakout sessions such as Maximizing Efficiency with AviontéBOLD, Adobe Sign Document Configuration, and Staffing Industry Insights with Tom Erb. Tom Erb, staffing industry consultant and President of Tallann Resources, shared Florida’s hope for the industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “There are always silver linings in every downturn,” Erb shared in his session. Erb cited examples, such as the thinning out of competition; the accessibility of candidates, clients and prospects; and the value of recruiting expertise in an economic downturn. Attendees praised Erb’s staffing industry insights session and appreciated his take on the state of the industry.
The conference closed with a review of the week and prize giveaway, hosted by Rachel Graff. Each conference sponsor hosted a giveaway. Attendees who attended sessions live were rewarded with gift cards sponsored by EmployStream, Adobe, ADP, Asurint and Equifax. We also hosted a Scavenger Hunt and Video Contest sponsored by WorkN and Choice Screening. We gave away awesome prizes to nine lucky attendees, including an iPad, Bose headphones, a Ring Doorbell, and more!
Various themes emerged from CONNECT 2020: seizing opportunities during an economic downturn, adjusting to a “new normal” of remote work and onboarding, and adopting and implementing new products and innovation. The virtual format of this year’s CONNECT conference allowed for a drastic increase in attendance and participation. We welcomed over 1,000 attendees to this year’s virtual CONNECT staffing and recruiting conference. That’s more than double our typical attendance at our in-person CONNECT event. We are so thankful to our clients and partners for their participation, ideas, and feedback. Many attendees and speakers expressed their desires to gather together again in St. Paul for the conference as normal, but look forward to next year’s conference and better months ahead.