Running events is a high-speed and oftentimes high-stress beast, and that's kind of why we all love it. It does come with some inherent risks, though, like a staff that burns out quickly and delivers a subpar experience for the customer.
A stressed staff isn't just a bummer to be around, it's costing your company billions of dollars (yes, billions). $7.5B to be exact. Poor customer service results in $7.5B in business losses every year, and is continuing to increase.
So how do you staff, schedule, and lead your team to have a seamless event day, you ask? Keep reading for 6 things to keep top-of-mind of event success!
1. Create easy access to plans and procedures
When you have new or temporary workers on your team, make sure they can easily get the information they need to be successful. Making it as easy as possible for staff to get ahold of key contacts or management is key. Consider having walkie talkies or setting up a group text to allow immediate communication. Staying in the know with technological advances, like event automation and wearable technology , will help event managers as well!
2. Communicate clear expectations
Well-planned communication before events and at the start of shifts is critical to reducing stress and enhancing the team experience. If your team knows what the picture of success looks like, they know what goals to be working towards. Clear communication points can include:
- What you expect of each particular staffer
- Assigned roles/ expectations
- Who to escalate issues to
- How to best represent the brand
Wade Williams is a celebrity party planner and founder of Picnic Events, and has executed events for some of Hollywood’s and New York’s most demanding guests. He says, “The outcome of a successful event is a team effort. The first hour before an event is always high-pressure. I make sure my team is informed.”
3. Hire the right number of qualified staff
People remember events that they had to wait 30 minutes for a drink, or the food takes just under an hour to prepare. Plan smart when you're bringing in staff, and remember that cutting corners on those numbers could risk the entire experience of your event. Short-staffing leads to longer wait times, frustrated staff, and frustrated attendees. Call us crazy, but these all sound terrible.
If you're staffing full-time, make sure to hire not only for experience but also for culture. Bring people onto your team that are eager to learn, work well with others, and embody your company's core values. The more aligned they are with your company vision, the less likely they are to get overly-stressed when things get crazy.
Our platform allows for companies to compensate for seasonality that requires extra staff, like a huge sports game, the holidays, or peak weather seasons. As well, using a staffing platform allows you to "try before you buy," which means you can really vet work ethic and culture fit. We wouldn't be around if we didn't think this is a great way to reduce workplace stress (both for management and for a team).
4. Be ready to step in
Being an event manager is basically a combination of knowing how to avoid metaphorical fires but also knowing how to seamlessly put fires out. This means being able to step in and help out when needed.
That sentiment is reinforced by Stacey Ruiz, Founder & CEO of California-based Stacey Ruiz Events. “It starts with you as the planner. You yourself must be prepared, confident, calm, and stress-free first. Pretty much, have it together.”
Ruiz also stresses that being a great leader involves getting your hands dirty at times. “Don’t just demand. Do! If a glass breaks or you see trash lying around, don’t just walk by and wait for someone to pick it up. Take initiative and do it yourself. When your staff sees you working hard and fully invested, they will follow.”
5. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
Despite your best efforts, things will go wrong. It's raining at an outdoor venue. Someone calls in sick. Your keynote speaker cancelled due to last-minute scheduling issues. The list, unfortunately, goes on and on.
Of course, with great planning and preparation, you're ready to handle anything. But assuming that it will all go seamlessly is setting yourself up for day-of failure. Mentally prepare for everything to go wrong, and you'll be ready when something does in fact go awry. Additionally, prep your staff for how to react when something goes awry, so you don't have to be the only one putting out fires.
6. Be positive and encourage staff.
Although reality TV shows love to portray F&B environments as hectic, demoralizing, and outright insane, that environment doesn't go quite as far in real life. By encouraging your staff, providing constructive feedback (instead of screaming), and offering up praise when a job's done well, you're creating a positive environment that impacts both the professionals and the attendees!
In the end, great experiences keep customers happy.
Try as we might, we'll never be able to control everything in the F&B industry. We can, however, eliminate the unnecessary stress by organizing, communicating, and staffing proactively. Responsiveness of employees is the single biggest factor in customer satisfaction among diners and one in eight diners now posts a review after eating in a restaurant. This means human experience you deliver is critical to business success and longevity.
Have another helpful tip that you'd like to add to the list? Leave it in the comments below!