As the world returns to normality, live events are beginning to populate to pre-pandemic levels. Concert-goers and sports fans are setting record attendances as people slowly become more comfortable at outdoor and indoor venues. Despite the relief that we can now see our favorite entertainment live, event staff has been handed a greater set of demands. With that, an increased significance on how the guest experience is perceived.
Over the last 2 years, we’ve seen virtual events take the world by storm. However, now event planners have been tearing their hair out at the thought of rethinking the entire process. And during this unforeseen period, it’s clear that the virtual world hasn’t been for everyone. According to a Bizzabo survey, 95% of marketers believe that in-person events can help to achieve business goals. The importance of an in-person connection can never really be replaced. Corporate trainer and author Paul Axell stated:
“It’s much easier to ask for attentive listening and presence, which creates the psychological safety that people need to sense in order to engage and participate fully.”
In-person events are hugely important for many different reasons. However, before we can return to events at full capacity, the focus is entirely on making the environments safe to attend.
Conforming to new health and safety standards
People have really missed events and their desire to attend them has intensified in recent times. But for event staff, adapting to new standards while creating an entirely new guest experience has become a monumental challenge. Management have been forced to address the latest health and safety standards to comply with daily, weekly and monthly changes.
Incorporating new measures
The best health and safety measures provide a platform for event staff to improve their service. Due to the risk of COVID-19, the health and safety of attendees have become a preoccupation for event management. Before any company can look to improve its service, its priorities have been consumed by the many tasks required to ensure guests feel safe in the environment. Teams have had to work tirelessly to conform to the ever-changing health regulations set within their country, state or province.
Research from Oracle stated that despite the new health and safety standards, 50% of respondents are still adamant on abstaining from an immediate return to live events. Over half of the respondents also claimed they were keen to keep social distancing measures in place, even when mass gatherings are deemed safe again. Another report from Deloitte stated 84% of customers surveyed found personal control of cleaning to be important. Both upon entry and for their overall engagement with the experience.
An assessment of new measures
These revelations outline the correlation between the safety of an event and how much it can impact the customer experience. Regardless of how companies view their future customer experience, there must be a health and safety strategy in place. This is essential to cater to the ever-changing and wavering demands that the event industry continues to require.
So, we’ve established the guest experience and its dramatic change. Now, let’s explore how competent event staffing can improve your service.
Planning the right number of staff
Planning the right number of staff can be one of the most daunting challenges you will face. Largely due to the uncertainty of events going ahead and the safety risks they pose, inadequate staffing has become a chronic issue within the events industry. When it comes to events, many perceive that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Being moderately overstaffed is better than being a few people short of fulfilling your goal. But finding that happy medium is what can set a good event from a great event. Always remember:
“By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.”
For event planners, determining the size of your event is paramount to choosing the right number of people to work. Many use a rule of thumb. But one of the more common strategies to finding the right number of events staff is identifying the exact roles that are required. Managers can revert to employee scheduling software as a platform that not only supports their workforce management, but also provides the all-important analytics of previous events.
Employee scheduling software
Allocating the perfect number of event staff to cover your event has a greater impact that you can imagine. And so, having a platform that can provide knowledge of past events and help you deal with forthcoming change is exactly why so many incorporate them.
Although its almost a guarantee that no event will be a carbon copy of another, reviewing your previous events in your employee scheduling software will give you a platform to build from. Based on the success level of the previous event, you can gauge a balance of the event staff you will need this time around. But unfortunately, there will never be a guarantee that the event staff you scheduled will be available for the next one. And this is where your employee scheduling software will become your best friend.
Dealing with the inevitable change
If you’ve been involved in event management long enough, you’ll know that plans are rarely executed as first thought. Dealing with any workforce management change is essential in maintaining the right amount of staff for an event. Let’s explore some of the most significant strategies that you may use during an event planning period:
Self-scheduling and shift bidding
Self-scheduling and shift bidding ultimately gives the employee autonomy over the shifts they will work. The only difference is that a shift bid needs to be accepted for the employee to gain the shift. For event planners who are happy with the shifts they’ve allocated for an event, this process will save them a ton of time.
Autofill allows you to fill any number of open shifts with an available and applicable employee in seconds. You can customize your autofill to ensure the employee is the best candidate to fulfill the role. This tool is important in ensuring you have the most skillful team at your disposal. We’ll discuss this more in the next section.
Some event planners have a smaller and more trustworthy team to handle their events schedule. In this scenario, a shift template may be all they need. A shift template allows you to take any number of selected shifts (a day, a full week, etc.) and save them to re-use in future schedules. And should your template require any change, you can use Celayix’s find replacement tool or autofill to cover your back.
As we touched upon before, your preparation for an event is what will make or break it. And the same applies to the configuration of the tools above. So, in order for these tools to be used at their most effective, they must emphasize the skills an employee has and how it matches with a proposed role.
Skillsets and their impact
Providing the best service starts with having the very best talent available. Since the recent pandemic, the tactic for talent acquisition has changed. Rather than having a fixed mindset on finding a candidate with a particular skillset, 57% of recruiters have said their talent acquisition tactics are created to attract diverse applicants. By applying this outlook, event planners will gather a range of highly-skilled event staff who can work competently across a range of events. But if your recruitment team like to find raw talent that can evolve, there’s always the option of cross-training.
Cross-training employees isn’t just about adding a little extra to their capabilities. It is about enhancing their skillsets to provide a major boost to your productivity and improve your overall service. It is impossible and illegal to make your employees work 365 days a year. So, to improve and keep a high-level service year on year, you must have a decent number of employees and retain those who can perform in more than one specific area.
Building a fully competent workforce begins with identifying the major skills and tasks required for events in your specific industry. You can then compartmentalize the areas which each individual needs to learn or improve in their skillset in order to be used as support when it’s needed. Cross-training simply aims to build the skills of everyone in the company so they better understand exactly what it takes to run the business. We have listed some key benefits that you may find:
- Better collaboration between employees
- More agile workforce
- Improved efficiency
- Reduce boredom of repetitive tasks
Once you’ve refined your workforce to match the ambition of improving your service, you can then look to integrate these skillsets within your scheduling. But first, let’s discuss why an employee having transferable skills is a key factor in an event’s success.
Matching the skillset requirements for any event is just as important to the employee as it is the event planner. MyPerfectResume reported that due to the difficulties of event work during COVID-19, transferable skills have been vital in qualifying for ‘other roles’. We live in a time where event cancellations are no longer a surprise. So, working for a company that provides a myriad of different events means an employee must have a broad skillset to make them applicable for more than a select few. And by acquiring these competencies, they’re providing a viable option for an event planner at a time when they may need it most.
How can these skillsets be applied?
As an event planner using employee scheduling software, you’ll be looking to choose your most qualified employees for any given event. This can be achieved by applying qualifications at both employee or site level, and then choosing a shift processing order to fill shifts. For example, this means that an employee will need to be qualified to undertake certain shifts based on service or site experience. An event planner can utilize this information and define who they want to choose first by using a shift processing order.
Shift processing orders are used to define an order for assigning shifts if employees qualifications or certifications are the same. One of the most commonly used shift processing orders is seniority. Seniority is almost valued as a product of loyalty, and therefore many companies are likely to reward this loyalty over a newer employee. And despite the knowledge they have the same qualifications and certifications, they also have more experience and have known how to bring success to the company for longer. Some may question that this promotes inequality in the workplace. But most employees are capped by maximum work hours, which means there should be plenty of events to go around.
Improved employee experience
It doesn’t matter how good your workforce management tools are. You’ll never improve your service if your employees don’t buy into your workplace culture and what it offers them. It’s easy to believe that most employees are driven by salaries and other incentives. While is some cases it can be true, it’s understated how much a company who cares about an employee’s development and general wellbeing can be the tonic for success. For those event planners who are looking to improve their service every time, its important to remember the famous saying:
“Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.”
The continuous events and customer demands can make it difficult to streamline everything and focus on creating the best employee experience. Employees generally value a workplace that treats everybody equally, maintains high ethical standards, and supports their growth. By offering to grow your employees through cross-training and other development programs, you’re making them feel the value your company can offer them. So, you’re not only driven to provide the best possible employee experience. You’re creating a platform to improve your service.
Can event staff improve your service?
Not all superheroes wear capes. And some of the superheroes who don’t definitely work in event management teams. Event planning has long been known as an extremely difficult task. You’re constantly trying to plan an event that not only appeals to your audience but suits the requirements of your employees too. Juggling between creating a competent schedule, handling event tasks, and driving your business goals can be a lot to handle. Never mind improving your service. Yet, many event managers may be missing a trick. By focusing on improving your service, you’re more likely to achieve all of the aforementioned with flying colors.
Improving your service is all about understanding what you offer and what is stopping you from reaching the next level. So maybe take that extra time after every event to gain feedback from your attendees. Utilize technology to form analytics of the event. But most importantly, focus on your employees. Their satisfaction and their development. If you have the right people, you’ll create the right event.