STAFF UP TO ENHANCE EXPERIENCE
Sports is not exempt fom the global staffing challenges, a critical element to any experience. For premium, staffing considerations are two-fold.
First, there are suite attendants, ushers, ticket takers, parking personnel, and others involved in the premium experience from entry to exit, often as the first, last, or only point of contact. The number of people interested and available to work in the premium areas of public assembly venues has significantly diminished, explains Richard Andersen, CVE, Chief Illuminations Officer of Venue Solutions Group (VSG) Advantage Training, adding that few situations have evolved with greater impact on our ability to open and effectively manage our buildings.
Secondly, numerous full-time premium seating personnel faced furloughs or left on their own accord when live events were shut down. If a silver lining revealed itself, it was giving teams time to evaluate proper benefits and flexibility to attract and keep the best talent, and it encouraged deeper exploration to find senior sales and service leaders with the innate propensity to serve, even if they cut their teeth in different industries.
Venue Solutions Group recently published an article on event staffing outlining simple yet effective pillars. An overview is laid out here:
Listen to event staff. They are people, not commodities.Understand that the cost-value relationship of working in our venues has changed. People may be less motivated to come to work in our premium positions if they must pay for things like parking, meals, and uniforms. They want to be properly compensated, both in rate of pay and potential rewards. In today’s fast-paced business world, we frequently speak in terms of return on investment (ROI), focusing on dollars and cents, when in fact we should measure in terms of human impact. Get to know event staff, address them by name, ask how things are going, and say thank you.
Build a customized program addressing event. staff desires. Show your premium event staff you’re prepared to deliver on relevant needs such as parking areas, special parking rates, free or discounted meals, increased pay rates, signing bonus, training, uniform cleaning, or allowance. Additionally, as safety is priority as event staff considers their return, there must be clear and supported policies and processes around cleanliness, safety, and handling guest issues and concerns.
Implement the plan and regularly communicate it. It’s critical to remain regularly engaged with premium team members. Says Andersen, “There is an adage that if you want someone to remember something, tell them five times, five different ways.” Present your information in live full premium event staff meetings, smaller premium team group meetings, via video or virtual presentation, or personalized email. Moreover, a media release, in multiple languages, outlining what is being done to make your venue a great place to work keeps everyone accountable.
Photo courtesy State Farm Arena