This article is the seventh installment in the How to Start A Successful Event series.
If your event series is something small that grows into something big, or if you put on large events from the beginning, you will need staff to help you run the events. In this article we’ll cover some strategies for how you can hire, train and manage staff to help you run and promote your events.
People Who Don’t Want To Pay Can Become Volunteers
If you charge for attendance, you can be sure that some people will contact you before every event to ask you whether it is possible for them to attend the event for free. Instead of turning them away, offer them to volunteer to help you as a staff member. They can be at the event if they can perform some tasks like being at the ticket desk, checking people in, providing information to other attendees, or anything else.
If You Can’t Get Enough Free Labor
Free labor is indisputably attractive, but you won’t always be able to get people to work for free. It is especially difficult to get people to help you for free in the beginning when you are just starting out. Plus, people who aren’t paid are typically less motivated than people who are paid.
If you can’t get people to volunteer, try to convince some friends and family to help you out. If you still need help after you have tried to get your friends and family to help you put on your event, you can explore the option of hiring affordable help. There are a couple of effective options. First, check out sites like TaskRabbit.com and other local concierge sites. With such sites you can hire someone for a full day or half a day. The labor isn’t free, but it is relatively inexpensive.
You can also work with event staffing agencies to help you recruit people whom you can hire to perform different tasks at your event. The cost to hiring a staffing company is also lower than recruiting on your own. Event staffing agencies have expertise and existing contacts with good employees, which means that there is a large chance that they will be able to find you top quality help. Plus, hiring employees who underperform will be more expensive. So getting some quality staff from an agency can actually help to save you money.
Uniforms For Staff
If possible, you should have basic uniforms (t-shirts and hats) for your staff. It will help attendees identify people who can help them while at the same time creating a number of walking billboards with your company name and logo at the event, which should help imprint your branding in the minds of the attendees.
Before You Invite Someone To Be A Part Of The Event Staff
Before a person can become a member of your staff you should meet them face to face and have a conversation with them. A bad or rude staff worker can cause damage to your event series by angering or irritating your attendees (some of whom paid to be at your event and deserve great treatment).
You should also let your other team members meet the person whom you are considering inviting to be a member of your staff. Make sure they are nice and get along with the rest of your team. The potential new staff member should also be eager to join, and not feel that the position might be below them.
You will only get a sense for these things when you meet people. So before people join your event staff, make sure that you and your staff spend some time getting to know them.
Additionally, it is also a good option if you can get your friends or business contacts to recommend potentially good candidates to you. There is less of a chance that people whom you know would recommend a bad potential staff member.
Make All Staff Members Feel Special And Valuable
When new staff members join your event series, and throughout their involvement with your events, it is your job to make them feel that their contribution is valuable and that you appreciate their work. This will help to keep them motivated and it will help to make them valuable contributors.
It is easy to neglect your staff, but don’t let that happen. Team chemistry is one of the most important parts of almost any project.
Training Your Staff
Training your staff is very important. Employees do a better job when they understand what precisely their job is, and what is expected of them. Spend the time explaining things to your staff and give them some procedure manuals if that makes sense for the tasks you need them to do. Giving your staff good training is a part of making them feel important, makes them more effective at their jobs, and helps to raise their morale.
Hiring Staff For Long Term
Over time, as your event series grows and you get a chance to work with many volunteers and temporary workers whom you find on temporary employment and freelance sites like TaskRabbit, you will find that some people are far more helpful than most. As the event organizer, you should try to retain the best staff members. To do that, you can hire them as regular contractors.
Hiring people will make them feel more like a regular and official part of your project, and they will have a set schedule which will help to make them more available.
At first, don’t hire staff as employees. Hire people as contractors. Employees are more expensive to hire because you need to give them some benefits, and legally you are required to do more for your employees than contractors. Once your event grows to be very successful, you can begin hiring employees if you want to reward your best contractors with extra benefits.
Establish An Internal Employee Hierarchy
If you put on large events, you will be very busy. And although you want to should time with your employees to show them that they are important, you ultimately want them to manage themselves, and not have to come to you with every question or problem. To help you do that, you can establish an employee hierarchy with one of the employees being in charge of the others so that if any questions occur, the questions do not get propagated to you, but rather get handled by the employee who is tasked to manage other employees.
Turn Your Event Staff Into Mini-Marketers
All your event staff should wear branded t-shirts and hats (if they want to wear hats) at the event. That will help your attendees easily determine who is part of the staff if they need help. And your company name and logo will flash before every attendee’s eyes many times during the event. That will help them remember your website, brand and logo for a long time.
Additionally, get your event staff to share your event on their social media profiles. Even if that doesn’t help to bring in new attendees, the increased social sharing will help the SEO of your web pages.
Some events need bartenders, kitchen or cleaning help, while other events need valet parking or some sort of heavy lifting or security.
One thing you can do is ask the owners of the venue whether they can recommend anyone. A venue holds many similar events. Over time, they develop relationships with companies or individuals who already employ the staff with the skill sets needed by your events. So talk to your venue contacts to see whether they can recommend people or companies to hire.