Key Strategies for Event Staff Scheduling

A staff scheduling guide for event organisers and agencies.

Get the most out of your event staff by using efficient and strategic scheduling. Impress your clients and be the envy of your competitors with your totally Zen attitude to scheduling!

We’ve set out the three main areas we consider to be the most important to get right when it comes to scheduling event staff:

  1. Recruitment, Training and Onboarding
  2. Scheduling, Logistics and Planning
  3. Communication

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A staff scheduling guide for event organisers and agencies.

Chapter 1

Events are all about people

There are some things an online event just will never replace, the most important being human connection.

Making new friends with total strangers - even if only for a few hours, bumping into an old school friend in the queue for the porta-loo, hiding from an ex in the queue for the bar, (NB - not all human experiences need to take place queues, but for a Brit, most of them do). It is a connection that leads to an unforgettable experience.

It has always been the people behind the scenes that make the events work, invisibly making the magic happen. It is the event profs, the unseen unsung heroes of festivals, conferences, exhibitions, meetings, parties, sports events and more.

Staffing an event can be complex, time-consuming, stressful and chaotic! All events require carefully managed and scheduled staff in order to run smoothly.

Your event staff will come in different shapes and sizes- we’re talking:

  • Event temps
  • Event freelancers
  • Event profs
  • Fulltime and part-time staff

They may be brand ambassadors, greeters, stewards, catering and hospitality staff, they may be promo staff or covid marshalls. The bigger the event, the more staff you will need, possibly across a large area and over a number of days - and the more chance there is for error - or f**k up’s as is the industry technical term. There are a few things you can do to make your life easier and keep the grey hairs at bay.

Chapter 2

Strategic Event Staff Scheduling Tips

We’ve put together our top tips for successfully scheduling event staff, and keeping your event on time and on budget.

1. Quality recruitment, training and onboarding

The event professionals, temps and freelancers out there are second to none. These people love their job, with a capital L. We know because, despite the pandemic, our industry report found that despite the majority of event staff losing work, they still want to return to the industry. These are dedicated team players, make sure you position them correctly. The mantra for scheduling is: Right People, Right Place, Right Time

Make sure your team has the exact skills they need for the particular role you’ve assigned to them. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, being aware of these and assigning your team accordingly shows great leadership skills. Once you have identified the necessary skills for each role, check your applicants' qualifications. Even if you are using regular temps or familiar freelancers it is still good practice to check their skills and any certification they need- you know what they say about assumptions!

Spend time on training and onboarding - make sure your events team are fully up to date with company protocols, policy and expectations. This will reap its rewards later. To do the best job your team needs to feel comfortable and confident with the service they will be delivering. Make sure they feel involved and keep them updated during the recruitment and training processes.

2. Scheduling, logistics and planning

Start with your basic framework. When is the event? What is the run time? How many venues do you need to staff, or is it all in one place?

Once you’ve completed your framework, you need to break the day up into roles and shifts. Getting this right is extremely important, work schedules impact many aspects of your operation such as labour costs, productivity, compliance, and employee satisfaction and retention. Make sure you allow time for breaks or consider overlapping shifts by 10 minutes if there is hand over the information required. Do you need to move event staff between locations? How long will that take? Is there transport available? Consider all the nuances involved in the particular event and break it down into schedulable chunks.

Once you have planned out your framework, and broken down the shifts and roles needed, give your staff access to their individual rota in enough time for them to get back to you with any issues.

Flexibility is key. On the day things can - and will - change. Make a list of the things that are likely to change or have a margin to, and come up with a plan B and C - just in case. Be open and flexible to ideas and innovation. Know what are your negotiables and non-negotiables.

If there is anything that can be completed before the event day, make sure you get it done. For example, do your event staff need to wear a particular uniform or costume? Will you provide space for that? Will they need time at the beginning and end of their shift to get changed? Are you able to supply a spare? Anticipating tasks in advance will be your saving grace and allow for more time to deal with issues on the day.

3. Communication

This is absolutely intrinsic to the success of your event. You will need to communicate with your team well before the event to make sure they have all of the information required to do their job, but on the day communication is vital. Last minute changes, no shows, ticketing issues - all of this will require a team that can communicate effectively in order to deal with any surprises on the day. If you have prepped your team well in advance they should also know whom to contact on the day should problems arise. Utilise online communication tools like these can give you an audit trail of communication between your teams. Also, make a note of who did a great job so you can communicate that to them later - or for those who need improvement a bit of constructive feedback is invaluable.

Chapter 3

Post Covid-19 Event Scheduling Tips

At the time of writing (we will update as the pandemic continues) the UK is in lockdown with our sights on the end of February 2021 as the next possible easing of measures. With that in mind and  here are some tips on how to schedule an event in the UK.

  1. Check the latest guidelines from the government
  2. Double-check latest guidelines, cos, you know
  3. Use a Covid-19 Risk Assessment template to assess the safety of your event
  4. Invest in a lucky troll
  5. Re-check gov guidelines

Chapter 4

Ultimate Event Staff Scheduling Secret

Ok, it’s not a secret, it’s actually common sense! If there was just one core piece of advice for successful, stress-free event staff scheduling it would be this: Eliminate human error with Event Staffing Software.

Traditional event planning involves everything from whiteboards, spreadsheets, sign in and manual timesheets, lots and lots of emails and phone calls. The number one thing your event business can do to eliminate human error is to engage event staffing software. Event staffing software can handle the recruiting, scheduling, planning, management and even payroll of your event staff. Event Companies, venues and staffing agencies using event staffing software report a time saving of 80%! Not to mention event staffing software should be GDPR and employment law compliant - which means less red tape for your worn out event planners!

Take a look at our Bespoke Vs SaaS guide to staffing software to help make the best decision for your events business.