Creating an extraordinary experience for attendees is your goal for any event, and event staff plays a big part in that. So, once you've planned your event, you need to hire the right people to run it. Sometimes, a hotel or conference center will have their own personnel for coat check, food and beverage, etc., leaving you to fill only a few jobs. Other events, however, require an entire staff. And not just anyone — you want experienced professionals who understand your goal and how to bring it to life.
No matter what positions you're hiring, here are five tips to make sure your event goes off without a hitch.
Do Not Hire Relatives or Friends
Willing as they may be, and as much as you love them, hiring people who are personally close to you can put you on the road to you-know-where. It’s too hard to “boss” them, they may expect special treatment, and their presence could diminish your professionalism in the eyes of other staff. Above all else, you need a smooth-functioning team, so there’s no point in creating potential points of conflict.
All that said, your existing staff might know people who would make excellent additions for this specific event.
People with hospitality training and experience are ideal because they know how to deal with people positively even when things get hectic. Specific experience working your type of event can be especially valuable, too. You won’t have to spend as much time (or any) explaining your plan, what to do, how to do it, etc. Look deeper, though. Just because someone has “experience,” does not mean they did their previous work well. Find out.
You know the old saying, you get what you pay for. Since the people you hire can literally make or break your event (and your attendees’ overall experience), this is not the place to cut costs. You can save money elsewhere.
Along the same line, budget to bring on a few more people than you anticipate needing. You don’t want to get caught short at the last minute if someone gets sick or bails on you, and having a few extra folks “in your pocket” allows you to add an activity or otherwise alter your plan, should the need arise.
What Will The Job Entail?
Job descriptions are as important for event staff hires as for anyone else. Of course, you’ll want to outline tasks they'll be performing, but intangibles can be even more telling. So, include personal traits you’re looking for.
Does the person take initiative or wait to be told what to do? Are they friendly and outgoing? If they’ll be plating food in the kitchen, that may not matter, but if they’ll be serving guests or interacting with attendees in some other way, a smiling face and welcoming attitude are critical.
What Else is Critical?
Flexibility and reliability are also critical. Events are fluid by nature, and things happen that aren’t planned. People who are willing to step in and do whatever is needed without batting an eye or bitching about it are golden. They’ll be pure platinum if they are also willing to work weird hours, past their shift-end, or otherwise rearrange their schedule to accommodate your event’s unique needs.
Event managers need reliable people to count on, no matter what. You don’t have time to worry that someone might not show up on time or follow through with every detail.
People work best together when they feel a sense of camaraderie. So, once you’ve assembled your dream team event staff, do everything you can to introduce them to one another before things get underway. Given the nature of events, this isn’t always possible, but it is always worth a try. And when the event is over, remember to thank those fabulous folks. That way, they’ll be excited to work your next event.