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8 Myths About Event Staff

Myth One - It's Easy to Find Good Event Staff!

Don't get me wrong there are a lot of great people out there but finding them for your event is not that easy. Let's think about what you need in a great event person - are they super friendly, do they have life skills, are they competent under pressure, do they have an understanding of risks, hazards and emergency management and are they knowledgeable about the event and the event schedule.

Finding casual staff who have all these skills is not that easy especially if you are looking for large numbers of employees. And whilst it seems like the easy option to hire people who work at other events or venues it's a risk because they may cherry pick the work between the venues and not be available when you need them. Recruiting the right people who are available when you need them is a real challenge.

Myth Two - It's not rocket science they should know what to do!

Sure it's not rocket science but being an event employee is not that easy, although the tasks themselves are fairly simple - scan a ticket and let someone in or read a ticket to direct someone to their seat. Those tasks are simply but when you throw in dealing with people that is when the work gets really challenging! And this is where things can go terribly wrong without competent staff.

Employees will interact with hundreds or thousands of people at your event - and despite most of the directions or the questions being asked will be the same each interaction is unique. Most customers are fantastic but some are not so easy to deal with! Very often event employees under deliver on customer expectations not because of their attitude or skill level but because of factors that are out of their control. Ask yourself are you setting your employees up for success by creating processes that support rather than undermine their work?

Myth Three - They never do what I ask them to do!

If you believe Myth Three I will put you in the "but I told them that" category. If people are not following through on your instructions or communications it's because you haven't communicated it in the right way, it is up to the communicator to make your audience has understood the message.

So just like in Myth Two ask yourself are you giving your employees enough information to set them up for success? Is your training comprehensive enough for staff to be able to understand how to make the best decision for the customer and the event?

Do you give them a briefing on the day so they can ask questions and get clarification? Do you have an event summary or App so staff have the information they need at their fingertips? If your employees are ill-informed it's your fault, not theirs.

Myth Four - They don't need to know what I know

Once again ask yourself are you setting your people up for success? (Are you seeing a pattern here?)

Of course event staff need to know what you know. Sure they haven't been working on the event for months or years as you have so they can't possibly have that depth of knowledge but you can enable staff to make informed decisions by giving them information and structure. Not only do they need to understand policies and procedures but you need to teach them how to work within the confines of these procedures and still deliver on the event's vision and where possible the customer's expectations.

Myth Five - They can't resolve customer service issues without management involvement

So here is another question to ask yourself why do staff have to get a supervisor or manager to resolve customer service issues? If you have provided them with the right structure, comprehensive problem solving training and enough information what is you issue?

Is it because you don't trust your staff? If you have recruited the right people and you have given them the right information and training why can't they make the decisions you make? Why have customers waiting for staff to find a supervisor or a manager before they can make a decision and keep a customer happy? Good customer service is more than just happy smiling faces, it's about having skilled people who can answer customer questions and resolve issues as soon as they arise.

Myth Six - They are only casuals they don't need feedback

Everyone needs feedback but people also need to know how to deliver feedback effectively and how to receive it graciously.

Receiving and giving feedback can be difficult but hopefully you have had a situation where you have taken feedback, even if it was unwanted at the time, and objectively applied it to your own performance to find yourself improved.

Every time you give an employee positive feedback you will reinforce the behaviour and by giving negative feedback in an objective non-judgemental way or by modelling the behaviours through training or coaching employees will come to understand your expectations of them.

Myth Seven - Gossip doesn't need to be managed

Regardless of how you engage your people - full time, part time, casual or volunteer you as the employer have a responsibility to ensure work occurs in a safe environment. An environment that is free from inappropriate behaviours.

Gossip is just one example of inappropriate behaviours that need to be managed. If your employees are not having regular training related to inappropriate behaviours then you just might be not meeting your obligations under health and safety legislation (check your relevant legislation for more information)

Myth Eight - They know what to do in the case of an emergency

This is the area you can't take for granted as events of all sizes are subject to the possibility of an emergency. Does your organisation understand all the event risks? Are your people ready to respond to an emergency and do you have procedures in place for recovery?

A framework that is used extensively in emergency management training is the use of tactical decision games (TDG), which are designed to enhance the decision making, situation awareness, communication and co-ordination, teamwork, and stress management required for emergency management.

Do you need help with any of the eight myths?

The good news is that Event Operations Australia in conjunction with our partners On Board Training can help you with all of these issues just send us an email to find out how we can help.