If you plan to organise a major conference, you will realise that this is serious business. While you certainly hope that all attendees enjoy their experience, you know that they are there for a specific reason, and everyone will have their own goals and objectives. You’ll want to ensure that you put your best foot forward and pay proper attention to detail, but you will certainly need to focus on event staff hiring. As events are all about human interaction, you must have the best people on your team and should craft a conference staff job description to get the ball rolling. What else do you need to do to prepare the best staffing plan for your conference?
Why Conferences Are So Important
The conference and meeting industry is worth an estimated £18 billion to the economy in the UK, and while things may have tailed off during the pandemic, the industry is now roaring ahead again. You may want to bring a range of people together for your specific conference and may be fully engaged in the early stages of preparation. Now is the time to create your staffing plan so you do not miss anything, detail the conference staff roles, and get these essential people in place before the big day.
Planning It Out
Think about every single area where you will need a staff member — before, during and after the event. You may need to think about staff for the conference location but may also need to consider off-site requirements.
Begin by thinking about your attendees. You need to reach out to them in advance, and this may be a multistep process between first touch and final confirmation. Attendees may have their own specific requirements relating to arrivals, departures, dietary requirements or mobility. You will need people who can reach out to them, gather the information and collate everything. These team members should be detail-oriented and able to work with any management software you have.
Now that you have the pre-event staffing in place, turn to the venue. Here, you will need people who can set up the location, and everything will depend on your scale and complexity. Ensure you have competent people to help move heavy furniture, stages, booths or AV equipment. Should you be hiring some of this infrastructure, the providing company may cover these people — if not, or if you’re responsible for the finer detail, choose the most appropriate individuals.
Next, turn to registration. This is a crucial stage of the event as it represents the first real touch point, and you will need to create a great impression. Make it easy for people to register, and think about preregistration if possible, through the “pre-event” staff members mentioned above. Stage a satellite registration next to a hotel check-in desk if appropriate, but have a realistic number of people at the main registration desk at all times. It’s best to break every stage down into single steps and have a competent staff member responsible for just that stage.
Think carefully about those individual stages. They may include:
- Checking the database for attendee details
- Printing out ID, adding a lanyard and handing to the attendee
- Getting attendee signatures for disclaimers or other purposes
- Handing out conference collateral
- Handing out goodie bags
- Managing or supervising the entire process
Also, you will need greeters when people arrive and ushers who will steer people away from the registration room once they are finished to avoid congestion.
Will you be responsible for food and drink, or will you hand this over to the venue? If it is your responsibility to a degree and you need to work with caterers, allocate a senior staff person to liaise. Ensure that you plan your menu in advance with due regard to dietary requirements. Focus on how the meal will be prepared and delivered and how everything will be served. If you’re working with a hotel, they will have a conference services manager, but you will need somebody to liaise with them so that this crucial part of any event goes off without a hitch.
If you rely on a third-party organisation for food service, their provided staff are nonetheless public-facing representatives of your conference. While you may not have any direct say over their selection, you can discuss the importance of presentation and customer service with the organisation.
You may have certain keynote speakers, various breakout events and a specific structure during the conference. Ensure that you have staff members as needed. For example, you may need someone who can look after the main speakers or VIPs, and your staff member will need to keep everything on schedule. You may need one or two other people who can “hover” as attendees move from one stage to the next, answering questions or directing accordingly.
When the event is over, you may be responsible for teardown. Again, ensure that you have enough staff members on hand and that they are physically capable of doing the relevant jobs as needed.
Other Things to Remember
Timing and Shifts
If your conference is extensive and may be spread over many hours or days, you might have to consider shifts. This means that you may need to find more than one “ideal” worker for a specific task, so they can take breaks or hand over if a day is particularly long. Avoid gaps and shortfalls and plan contingencies in the event of no-shows or sickness.
Training and Dress
Finally, don’t forget training. While you may source temporary staff members from a reliable agency, they may still need training in specific areas of your event. You may also want to provide uniforms for branding purposes and to maintain a level of professionalism. Gather the relevant details well ahead of time and ensure that you have spare uniforms available.
Representing Your Brand
The larger and more complex your conference, the more detailed your staffing plan will need to be. You’ll want each person to understand their conference staff responsibilities and realise that they are all brand ambassadors, no matter how big or small their role may be. This is why you need to work with an experienced staffing agency like Eventeem. Reach out to us today for advice.