How to Get Peak Performance From Your Staff - Part 1

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Michael Marcus
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As an operational manager at several TeamPeople staffing contracts including stints at CNN, Middle East Broadcasting Network, Channel One News, The World Bank and recently the UN, I come across the same type of challenges that many media and AV staffing managers face. The primary one being that there is always more event coverage required than there is contractor staff available, whether in the broadcast or audio visual environment.

This staffing conundrum is to be expected and there are several ways to meet this challenge. Today I will discuss the first and most crucial step in managing busy days and building performance.

The Importance of Training and Education

How you train up and educate your staff is crucial to successful event coverage. As with most staffing contracts, your technicians are hired based on their experience and they hold different technical positions with varying degrees of responsibility.

As part of your arsenal you will of course need senior technicians to be in supervisory and lead roles for events with complex requirements, but at the same time there is a need to have your newer and less experienced technical staff trained up as quickly as possible and to the greatest extent possible.

As a staffing manager you will be called upon to work your magic and put together the puzzle to create the ultimate staffing schedule on a day that at first appears to be the busiest, most challenging ever. Do not lose hope because there is almost always a staffing solution if you and your employees are prepared.

Ongoing education is key and can be implemented in formal classroom settings or on- site in real technical production locations.You can utilize your senior staff or outside experts as instructors for training with specific equipment or in a control room and production environment. And one-on-one training during events is one of the best learning settings.

You may also send employees off campus for training and testing or offer online courses from sites such as lynda.com. At TeamPeople we offer and sometimes require staff to take courses and obtain certifications from groups such as Infocomm, including AV technologist Certification and for Certified Technology Specialist (CTS).

It is important to offer appropriate level technical classes to all technical staff no matter their title or level of experience. It is good to open up some healthy, friendly competition regarding certification completion. We even post copies of staff certificates on our office bulletin board.

The ultimate goal is to have a well trained technical staff that is cross-trained and able to cover as many technical positions as possible. A well trained staff that is well versed to cover as many production positions as possible will give you the flexibility you need to cover the busy, over the top days. Some of your staff will have certain expertise in areas such as audio, camera and videoconferencing, but it is also key that your technicians are well rounded in all areas.

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