Events is a very general term and can include a simple book launch in your local bookstore all the way through to a gala dinner to honour the president. While many event planners are so busy organising the content for the event, often the staff are an afterthought. Staff can make or break an event, as we know human connections & interactions are the most powerful messenger of all. A grumpy bartender can ruin someone’s evening.

 

1)     Understand your Client inside and out

 

What are their tastes and expectations? Get them to brief you thoroughly beforehand so you know every single detail – ask them specifically about staff and what roles they would like the staff to undertake. This will ensure you are able to decide what level of staff member to hire. Some roles may require large amount of experience and perhaps some certifications, whereas others may only require someone to provide legwork.

 

2)     Understand the goals of the Event

 

Do they want to make sales there and then, or acquire leads for future? Perhaps these are existing clients and want to give them an experience as a means of thanks. This will all determine the type of staff to hire. Also, how many attendees do they expect? This will determine the size of the staffing complement. Do you need staff that are capable of interacting with small groups or staff who can manage large crowds?

 

3)     Understand the Budget

 

Gala or VIP events will require that you dedicate a large portion of the budget to staffing. Whereas more casual events may require less skilled staff. It is important to know that there are often unforeseen costs at events that must be budgeted for beforehand – overtime is a cost that may be worth budgeting for. Transport, particularly at events that end late at night, is another cost that should be budgeted for when hiring event staff.

More event budgeting tips and a budgeting template

4)     Find great Event Staff

 

Ordinarily, this takes a lot of effort. Your interviewing questions need to be very thorough and don’t forget your checklist to ensure you’ve asked everything. Fortunately, there is technology that takes this hassle away. For many staff have found event jobs online through job boards, which comes with it’s own headaches. These days there are apps which connect you to reliable event staff that have been interviewed and vetted prior to being onboarded. This cuts down your hiring time to virtually nothing and allows you to focus on the event itself.

Here is a South African app for event staffing

 

5)     Sign a contract

 

We are by no means lawyers and it is recommended you chat to your lawyer for legal advice when hiring any event staff. It is always recommended you sign a basic contract with the staff to ensure you won’t be legally in the wrong. It will be a temporary employment contract and will be very standard, stating name of employee, dates of employment and wage among a few other details.