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Event Staffing: Understanding the Complexity of the Industry

By April 8th, 2022Event Staffing

The event industry is one that has long since struggled with unreliable staff. As an event organizer, you have no doubt felt the sting of rearranging a shorthanded event, or frantically calling a staffing agency to figure out where your servers are. We know we have. 

Event staffing - a waiter carrying a trayHyre has been offering event staffing solutions to businesses across the hospitality industry for years, giving us plenty of wisdom to share on the subject. The unpredictable tendency of people is one of the main challenges that event planning brings to your table, and we’ve come to realize that understanding the nature of event staffing in terms of mitigating risks ensures that your event is bound for success. Below we share our professional insight on issues that may come up with event staffing and how to effectively avoid them.

What we do know.

As previously mentioned, unpredictability is an inherent characteristic of event staffing. This aspect can be really tough to manage as an event planner, especially when it comes to staff cancellations or no-shows. 

Unfortunately, no matter how many times you confirm the schedule with your staff, someone is typically bound to cancel, or worse—not show up at all. If you’ve worked with event staffing agencies, you must have felt the frustration and concern caused by cancellations, especially if it happens shortly before the special occasion is about to take off. You’re not alone! Let’s back this up with some numbers.  The average no-show rate is 20-30% of staff booked. Why is this percentage so high?

Who’s to blame?

Speaking from our experience with event staffing requests, part of the issue appears to be a lack of attachment to the event organizers themselves. Without constant interaction, it can be hard to foster a sense of loyalty with contract staff who may very well never see you again. This is not an employee-employer type of relationship where you can impose extra supervision—communication is key.

Even when Hyre first launched and we had the practice of calling staff a few hours before their shifts to confirm, we still had the occasional person not show up. If you tune back in in a few months to check our Blunder Blog, you can read some of our early horror stories. Unfortunately, there are a few—but they’ve helped us better understand the challenges of the industry and how to address them.

Event staffing done right.

Having staffed thousands of events, we’ve come up with different features for our platform to successfully mitigate risks related to event staffing—and have added new features and processes as incidents occurred. For example, since implementing a monetary penalty for cancellations and no-shows, the rate has decreased dramatically! Now, a very small percentage of staff cancel/do not show up to their shift. And if they do, you, as the event organizer, have the final say whether to charge them a shift cancellation fee, or let them go with a warning (if they have a legitimate excuse). The choice is in your hands, as it should be. 

Wait staff setting up a banquet tableAll in all, we love the event industry and channel our passion into overcoming any difficulties that event staffing brings. Is it possible to avoid all problems related to staffing? Truthfully, probably not. But, we understand how important it is for you as event management to make sure everything is perfect, so we’ve gone the extra mile to learn what we can about staff behaviour and offset as many risks as possible. We have successfully applied what we’ve learned to the features of our platform and it has been (and continues to be) a blast! We know the nature of the industry—we’re not trying to hide it, we’re just trying to make it better. 

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