Category Event management

Human Resources in Successful Event Management

Human resources play a crucial role in the planning of an event or conference, no matter how big or small the attendance is.

This specific department are the go-to team for organisation and support on a number of elements that all contribute to the smooth-running and success of an event.

Many debate the importance of budgeting for a dedicated HR team when it comes to an event, they assume it’s a job that can be managed by one person or responsibilities can be delegated throughout other departments – but that simply isn’t how it works.The market is healthy — meaning more hiring for more companies

We at events management company have been responsible for the management of a number of successful events throughout the UK and from our years of experience, we absolutely value the need for dedicated HR before, during and after events have taken place.

For example, let’s imagine that you work for a conference centre that has admin, sales, marketing and an events team all on site.

It’s the HR professional’s responsibility to ensure that all of the named departments have the right support, training and facilities needed to perform in a safe environment which all contribute to the smooth-running of an event. It’s useful to use a virtual project management tool for scheduling, allocating work, tracking time, and handling finances. This frees up time for critical tasks like building relationships and holding training sessions, especially in the initial stages which are often so important.

What is the Role of HR in Event & Conference Planning?

Whilst the basic functions of a HR team will always exist for event planners, there are a number of specific aspects that only apply to event and conference management.

Having worked with a number of HR professionals, we decided to make it easy and list what we deem to be the most important duties that human resources contribute The top 10 responsibilities that apply to HR in this industry include:

> Developing Job Descriptions

Creating accurate job descriptions is an imperative part of recruiting either permanent, contract or voluntary staff for an upcoming event.

A job description holds many purposes which include:

  • Helping people to understand the job role being advertised
  • Providing the correct objectives and guidance needed for the people who take on the work
  • Ensuring consistency in performance for people who take on the job
  • Helping the event managers to find the right person for the role

But that’s not all.

Depending on the type of staff required and the type of work being offered (permanent, voluntary etc) the descriptions many need to be altered significantly each time, which will help to speed up the applicant process, especially when being assisted by third-party recruitment.

In a competitive hiring market, recruiters are facing a talent shortage

The typical sections of a job description would include:

  • The type of employment being offered i.e. full time, part time
  • Transparency in relationships e.g. applicant would report to the events coordinator
  • The purpose and objectives of the job role
  • The main duties involved in the job
  • Criteria that will be used to assess successful applicants

> Advertising New Positions

The human resources team recruit applicants for open positions and help find the right employees for a given position.

According to a survey of 1,600 recruitment and HR professionals, 65% claim the biggest issue in hiring new staff is the lack of talent available, which adds more pressure to HR professionals to not only find the right candidate but to be creative in doing so.

Only 10% of recruiters say their companies plan to automate jobs in the next 2-3 years

A few examples include:

  • Financial incentives for current employees who can recommend a successful candidate
  • Inviting the help of current industry friends and contacts
  • Eye-catching social media advertising (think a whacky 30 second YouTube video)

Most human resources teams will invite the expertise of a recruitment agency to widen the chances of finding the right candidate, but this option is often avoided for the events industry as budgets will vary depending on the size and structure of your event.

> Conducting Interviews

Once the HR team have collected a number of potential candidates for the job(s) being advertised, it’s now up to them to arrange and conduct a number of interviews.

Many jobs in the events industry require both specific skill sets and experience in a number of areas.

To hire the best people, recruiters are changing their ways

For example, if you’re hiring a sound technician for a music event, it’s important that specific questions are asked and this would involve quoting specific equipment, which would mean the HR team having to brief the events coordinator first and almost having to educate themselves in some cases (depending on time limits and the size of the department).

> Training

A key area for all HR professionals is providing the right training for the correct employees. Basic introduction courses (think health and safety) are to be handled by the department.

Job seekers aren’t off the hook, though — especially when it comes to soft skills and social media

What about the roles that require a specific set of skills? Perhaps the event taking place requires more volunteers than usual?

In these cases, it’s the job of human resources to organise that an expert in this field or a person of experience conducts the training.

> Work Allocation

Many assume that the event management team will allocate the work, but human resources often work very closely with coordinators to ensure that:

  • The budgets allocated for third party involvement aren’t exceeded
  • Departments are aware of their objectives leading up to the event
  • Tasks are allocated to the right employees

Not to take any credit away from event organisers, but without HR staff, the smooth running of an event before, during and after is never 100% guaranteed – which is why experience always pays off.

> Managing Performance & Expectations

We touched upon it very briefly in the last section, but managing both the performance and expectations of employees is crucial to a winning event.

It doesn’t matter if the event involves 50 members of staff or 500; the HR department have to make sure they work together with other relevant figures to ensure that performance levels are managed correctly.

Talent is the lifeblood of every organization

In order for a lighting technician to improve upon setting up times or to ensure that the head of catering is properly managing their team, performance needs to be monitored realistic expectations need to be set.

HR professionals are the ones that plan and maintain performance management along with working closely with employees and their authorities to create expectations that are challenging and that will help them to further their skill sets and enhance their experience within the events industry.

HR management software is fast becoming one of the most popular ways of managing the performance of employees, setting new goals, managing employee leave and much more.

> Payment & Rewards

Although research by the Harvard Business Review states that the majority of employees are not money driven, ensuring that employees or contract workers are paid fairly for the work they produce at events is important for a number of reasons.

The reputation of the event, the company associated and the reputation of sponsors could be tainted if employees aren’t paid on time or with the correct amount.

The association between salary and job satisfaction is very weak

HR professionals therefore have to work closely with an internal finance department or third-party to monitor that employees are being paid the amounts they’ve been quoted.

For permanent employees of a company, rewards are often used as a way of acknowledging and thanking team members for their hard work.

Human resources are counted on for creating the right prizes for the right departments, using their judgement based on employee interests.

> Time Keeping

Often events are allocated a very strict time allowance, depending on the venue or the nature of the gathering.

This means that schedules and patterns are created for employees to make it clear where they need to be and the tasks to be carried out at given times.

In order for this to be a successful process, labour laws have to be adhered to which includes:

  • The limitation of hours that employees are allowed to work
  • Any overtime requirements for staff members

If hours are not correctly delegated and regulated, the company in charge of the event could face legal action either a.) Working employees for too long or b.) Not giving them the appropriate compensation.

> Event Safety

Safety at en event is particularly important and takes careful consideration and months of planning.

For examples, the use of heavy equipment and large displays are often utilised during events, which could mean the need for forklifts or other forms of transport to move equipment to different locations.

Event statistics show that there were 66,000 reported injuries at events in Europe within 8 years due to crowd safety failures, which makes it just as important to be on top of the expected attendee numbers.

If an event is likely to be overcrowded, using ticketing has become a popular way of monitoring the progress of sales, which in turn makes it easier for HR professionals to hire the right amount of security and first aid staff (in case of an emergency).

Crowd safety failures (2002-2010): 2,321 deaths confirmed, 66,000 injuries reported

Issues like these raise several safety concerns that have to be reduced to ensure employees are safe and free from harm on the job.

The HR team are heavily involved in creating a number of safety processes and handling risk assessments to ensure that injuries aren’t incurred during an event, for participating staff and event goers alike.

To summarize, this article has been created to give a greater insight into the important role that human resources play in the successful running of events and conferences along with what their overall role entails.

This includes:

  • Developing accurate job descriptions for permanent, contract and voluntary staff
  • Advertising new job positions with 100% creativity
  • Arranging and conducting interviews with potential employees
  • Providing or organizing training in key areas for all departments across the business
  • Allocating work to employees and coordinating progress
  • Managing employee performance whilst setting realistic goals
  • Ensuring workers are paid accordingly and on time
  • Devising work schedules and patterns that safeguard time allowances
  • Producing concise safety processes that protect both employee and attendee.

New Event Planning Trends

The new year is well under way, and all of us in the event space are watching out for the new trends that’ll continue to influence our work throughout 2019. So what’s changed, and what can we expect to see going forward? At all ends of the spectrum – from shrinking budgets to investment in advanced technology – there are several trends you should add to your watch list. Here are the five I’m paying attention to this year:

1. Shrinking Budgets

You’d think that, given that the Oxford Economics and Events Industry Council reports that “meetings generated $1,294 of spending per participant,” event and meeting planners would be given budgetary free rein to produce the kinds of events needed to generate these economic returns.And yet, according to a new survey conducted by Event Manager Blog Editor Julius Solaris and released during his “Event Trends for 2019” educational session at IMEX America in Las Vegas, 55.5% of respondents cited “shrinking budgets” as a concern in 2019 – the highest response rate out of any concern reported.

It could be that shrinking budgets are occurring because events are being asked to compete against the greater number of channels in today’s marketing landscape. Or it could be that organizers haven’t yet succeeded in reporting their ROI or justifying their impact on a company’s bottom line. Regardless, it seems likely that planners will be asked to do more with less in 2019, which makes selecting the right event technology tools even more important than before.

2. Event Personalization

Those event planners facing shrinking budgets won’t want to hear this one, but event personalization is likely to continue impacting meeting and event organization and outcomes in 2019.

For an example of just how extreme event personalization can get, consider the C2 Montréal 2018 event – attended by more than 7,000 participants. Cramer reports that “Between the Conference Blocks, Conference Sessions, and Labs, there were literally 11 different ways for every attendee to experience every hour of the three day event.”

Event personalization extends beyond offering multiple sessions and tracks so that attendees can customize their own experiences. An increasing number of events are adopting non-traditional layouts and session formats as part of their personalization efforts. For an extreme example of these alternatives, take “silent conferences,” which make use of technology so that multiple speakers can present in the same space while attendees toggle between the audio feeds of each according to their own preferences.

3. Adoption of Advanced Technology

While I’m on the subject of technology, it’s worth exploring the explosion of advanced products and systems that have the potential to influence events in 2019 and beyond:

  • Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), which could make it possible for event speakers and exhibitors to present experiential learning experiences beyond simple lectures or presentations.
  • The expansion of 5G networks, which could facilitate new forms of technological connectivity as their adoption grows.
  • Increased use of RFID systems for everything from cashless payment systems at events and on show floors, to attendee data capture at every stage of event participation.

These three forms of advanced technology barely scratch the surface of what I expect we’ll see in the event space in the next few years. I’m keeping an eye on these trends (as well as how practical they actually are), and I recommend you do the same.

4. Events as Experiences

Perhaps in an effort to differentiate themselves from others, meetings and events appear to be taking inspiration from experiences such as movies and music festivals.

As an example, Event shares the emerging idea of “Emotional ‘Un-Themes.’” In an article on event trends for 2019, the team reports that “The rise of un-themes involves focusing the event on an emotion or feeling rather than a tangible concept or idea.” The authors describe an event with a “dream theme,” which combined “different dream stages and elements to create varying atmospheres for the event and allowed greater freedom in the planning stage for color schemes and ideas.”

Or, take the example of Forbes’ 2018 Under 30 event in Boston. Rather than simply introduce a musical act, the event transformed into a fully-fledged music festival, featuring performances from acts like Marshmello and Wiz Khalifa.

Certainly, going to these extremes isn’t appropriate for every meeting, and the scale of each event must be taken into consideration. Think about the personalities of your attendees as well, but don’t be too quick to pigeonhole them into limited sets of experiences. Even the most traditional and buttoned-up of audiences may enjoy elements of experience-building at their events.

5. Going Back to Basics

Having said all that, I’m particularly interested in a trend predicted by the Rapier Group: going back to the basics.

Essentially, the Group reports, it’s fine to go all out if you have the money for all the technological bells and whistles available to planners today. But all the technology in the world won’t make up for failing to get core event principles right. The Group explains, “Don’t overthink things – don’t overestimate what you need to offer to create a great event. If you can get the visitor experience just right – which doesn’t need to include flashy tech and an over-amped budget – and delight delegates at every turn, you’re sure to succeed.”

In particular, the Group calls out “ensuring amazing website functionality, a straightforward ticket ordering process, an effortless journey to and from the venue, a strong WiFi connection, and comfortable networking spaces” as the basics organizers should be concerned with. And although Attendease can’t rig up your venue’s WiFi or arrange car service for your attendees, we can help with the first two basics – effective website and ticketing solutions – on the Rapier Group’s list.

Event planning tools

Event planning is a stressful business. In fact, on CareerCast’s annual list of most stressful jobs, event coordinator lands just after police officer, airline pilot, and firefighter. You might not be saving lives or fighting crime — but it certainly feels like it sometimes.

Getting an event out the door requires serious multitasking and a Ninja-skill level of organization. Which is why there are so many apps on the market today — tools that can help you with just about every aspect of event organization.

Too many, in fact.

You want to spend your time focusing on doing great work, not on managing tools. The goal is to figure out which problems you’re trying to solve for, and use the right tools (and only those tools) to make it happen.

Here are the four tools you can rely on to simplify event management and become more productive. They work on their own, and they’re even better together.

Salesforce & Hubspot: Organize attendee information and maintain strong relationships

There’s no more important tool than a CRM (customer relationship management tool) for any business that cares about customers — which is every events business. With a world-class CRM like Salesforce or HubSpot, you keep all your attendee information organized.

Your CRM is particularly critical if one of the goals of your event is to generate sales or fundraising leads. Once you have customer information stored in your CRM, you can track and manage each customer’s journey over time.

But a good CRM also helps you manage vendor, sponsor, and partner relationships. So this tool can be your central hub for organizing every human aspect of your event.

Eventbrite: Simplify your ticketing and registration to drive attendance

Chances are you’re already using an online platform to sell tickets or collect registrations — but not all solutions are created equal.

Your online ticketing platform should go beyond transactions to help you manage your event end-to-end. It should also supply you with valuable data and reporting you can use to make strategic decisions at the right times. And it should help you drive attendance by integrating with attendees’ favorite apps like Facebook and Instagram.

If you use Eventbrite, you’ll get detailed insight about the people attending your event with access to visual analytics, charts, and reports. Plus the Eventbrite Organizer app helps you track ticket sales on your phone in real-time, facilitate mobile event check-in, and stay up to date with live attendance tracking.

Your event management tech should also sync automatically with your entire event planning toolkit, including…

Emma & Mailchimp: Engage potential attendees with email

73% of event professionals say email is a top marketing strategy to improve in 2019, according to a new Eventbrite survey. To get (and stay) in touch with potential attendees, there’s no better channel.

At the same time, 52% of event professionals say they think it will be more difficult to drive sales via email in 2019. That’s why an email marketing platform is critical to track your efforts and improve your sales.

Emma and MailChimp are two of the best email marketing services out there. Using them, you can:

  • Create on-brand, well-designed email campaigns
  • Organize your email contact lists by category (potential attendees versus registered attendees versus repeat attendees, for instance) and target customized messaging to each group
  • Schedule and automate the sending of emails

Bonus points if your email platform syncs with your event ticketing platform, as both Mailchimp and Emma do with Eventbrite. That way, when people buy tickets to your event, they’re automatically added to your email lists, saving you an important manual step (and preventing mistakes or the risk you’ll forget).

Asana: Manage every single detail of your event planning

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our go-to tool for tracking all the moving parts of event planning, Asana. Asana is a work management tool that helps users plan better projects, track what’s important to their team, and produce better work, faster.

Use Asana to create a project for each event you manage and populate it with every step in your workback schedule. Then, share the project (and it’s workflows, roles, and deadlines) with anyone within your organization who touches the event, so they know who’s doing what by when, and can monitor progress as you plan.

Whether you’re in a big organization or a team of one, Asana even has a customizable event planning template to track to-dos and progress specific to event workflows. You can also integrate the tech with your other go-to tools like MailChimp and Salesforce.