This Event Expert article focuses on your event day team and the ‘how to’ of recruiting and working with event teams that really do deliver. These guys and gals are vital and any time spent getting the right people on board is in my book, time well spent.
Aren’t you lot supposed to be helping me run this event: Am I not paying you enough?
Your event planning team will always be smaller in number than your event day team. You will therefore need to recruit more people to help you actually deliver an event. Ensuring events are adequately staffed with the right people, who are appropriately trained, motivated and organised, is something all event planners need to do. And it’s not necessarily that straight forward. All of us have no doubt made the odd bad casting decision!
The number of staff you require will depend on the nature and complexity of your event, the audience profile and numbers attending. Getting the right event staff will take time, but the sooner you start thinking about whom you need, the more likely you are to get the people you want.
So what to do:
- Identify all tasks associated with delivering your event
- Determine how many staff, volunteers and team leaders you will need
- Determine if they need any specialist skills, experience or qualifications
- Create a very brief job description and person specification
- Seek to recruit or persuade, then interview, select, contract, and induct or train them
- Create a “family tree”- listing “who does what” and reports to whom
For most of us, this process can be completed with a quick chat and the writing a few basic briefing notes. Please do not however forget any necessary legal employment requirements, if appropriate. You will of course also have to sort out any required training or briefing, shift patterns, payroll and or expenses and possibly staff uniforms. This process will be simpler if you are working with your own colleagues. However, you should still be trying to match tasks to talents.
The types of people or roles you may require on event day are as follows:
- Event day car parkers, traffic marshals
- Welcome, reception, registration
- Ticket office sellers, supervisors, programme sellers, food servers
- Ticket or pass checkers, ushers
- Security (inside and outside, and ideally security industry-trained)
- Information area or stand
- Event stewards, site or floor walking
- Events set-up and breakdown crew
- Clean-up crew, litter pickers (before, during and after the event)
- Event managers and Assistant Event Managers
- Programme managers to run the programme
- First aiders (private medical providers, NHS, Red Cross, St John Ambulance)
- Catering staff
- Press officers
- Exhibitor or stallholder manager
You are not necessarily looking to fill every one of these roles with an individual(s), as many of these roles can be fulfilled by the same person or a small team of the right kind of people. And clearly some events don’t need some of these roles.
You event day team is likely to be a mix of professionally qualified staff and volunteers. However, your team on occasions can be made up entirely of volunteers. This will depend on the event.
And in addition to your own event day team, you will be adding specialist personnel such as caterers, electricians and audio-visual staff.
You expect me to do what?
What should expect your event day team to do?
- Know who’s who on site
- Control traffic movements on site, in and out of the car parks
- Carry out fire and no smoking patrols
- Keep emergency routes and gangways clear at all times
- Deal with enquiries and logging accidents
- Give advice on the event programme
- Learn the site layout and the location of key facilities, entrances, exits and first aid points
- Keep an eye out for any overcrowding issues, particularly near entrances and exits
- Monitor the audience, guests and crowds
- Be aware of the location and be able to use fire-fighting equipment
- Know what to do in an emergency
- Keep the site clear of litter
- Concentrate on their duties and only leave their post when told to do so
- Wear clothing that clearly identifies them as event personnel
- Remain calm and courteous towards visitors and members of the public at all times
Above all else, look for people with a genuine passion for events, those who enjoy the live and somewhat pressured environment of event production and who have a “can do” attitude. Similarly if you have previously worked well with a colleague, friend and or contractor then do your best to get them onto your team. If they good: get events: then they are worth there weight in gold.
The right “on the day” event team will ensure that your audience will have a safer, more relaxed and enjoyable time at your event. And you will feel less stressed.
Top staffing tip: Always do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
It is a good idea to create a briefing pack for all staff. In most cases, this can be a couple of sheets of A4 outlining all the key event information they need to know. It is also helpful to include a list of the main players’ mobile phone numbers. I would strongly recommend that the event manager also hold a full staff briefing prior to doors opening, to remind everybody of their duties and to answer any last-minute questions.
Your event day team will often be a mixture of volunteers, paid staff and contractors. All of them require clear guidelines as to what it is that you want them to do. For smaller events, this might be a short staff briefing meeting and some notes containing information such as:
- An introduction, overview of the event
- Roles and responsibilities on site, your staffing family tree (who they report to)
- Expectations of event day staff: previously mentioned
- Who the other contractors and key people are on site
- Event and venue emergency evacuation procedure
- Event programme
- Site plan
- List of mobile phone numbers or radio channels (or both)
You should also create an event day sign-in and sign-out sheet to include their name, mobile phone number and or radio call sign or number. It is always useful to know exactly who is ‘on site’ and when they arrived and or left. I would also recommend that the sign in sheet also includes a column – titled ‘briefing notes read’. The reason: so an event manager can demonstrate they have done everything they reasonably can to provide staff with the information and support they need to do an effective job.
On final comment: The right “on the day” event team will ensure that your audience will have a safer, more relaxed and enjoyable time at your event. And you will feel less stressed.
Do you have any tips or techniques you use to inspire your event teams? Please do share.
What next? Want to ensure you have great people around you on event day?
- Start trying out some of the suggestions above: adapt them to your events world. Which ones do you think: with practice you could adopt
- Once you have come up with your event team recruitment process – stick to it and refine as you go. Once you have done it once it is easy to recreate again and again.
In my event management courses I do of course cover how to manage your event teams along with all the over stages too!
Author Chris Powell, Director The Event Expert
I run an event management training and consultancy company delivering in-house and on-line bespoke event training courses and consultancy services to accidental, occasional and professional event managers.
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