Last week I talked about the importance of training and educating your staff in order to get peak performance from your team. Today, I will discuss two other steps to managing busy days and getting the most out of your technical staff.
Build A Strong Freelance Staff Roster
Build up a strong freelance staff roster. The key here is to train up your freelancers to be interchangeable with your full time staff to the extent that you are able. Keep your freelancers busy. You want to give them enough working days to keep them available to you when you need them and to keep other companies and competitors from hiring them away when you need them most. It's a two-way relationship that keeps freelancers busy enough to make themselves available to you when you need them.
You will keep a bullpen of your A-list freelancers, the ones who are hired on a regular basis. You will also need freelancers that are available on an occasional basis. Your second tier freelancers won't necessarily be interchangeable with full time staff, but can be scheduled with an experienced full time technician in a secondary role.
The plus side of freelance staffing is that you have trained up personnel that you may end up eventually hiring full time to fill periodic staff turnover or for contract hiring expansion.
Know Your Limit
Planning ahead is important, but also another major challenge because you are dependent upon your counterparts to provide the event information you need in a timely manner and with enough advance notice. Book or put your freelance staff on hold ahead of time when you know about upcoming major events or unusually busy days. Provide notice to staff about full days and let them know if extra hours are necessary on particular days.
There are also ways to control the amount of service requests that come in, such as client deadlines for certain services. You could set a cut off day or time for premium AV services for example. There may be instances when it is better to say "no" than say "yes" to an event that would overwhelm your labor resources. You can offer up alternatives if staffing is tight such as an audio conference instead of a video conference.
Staffing on busy days has its challenges, but planning, training and utilizing your staff in the most efficient way will make your work-life easier and make the operation run smoothly.