When it’s time to hire temporary event staff, planners should think long and hard about their needs. These temps represent the company, interact with attendees and can have a great impact on the success of the meeting. Are these hired temps going to ensure the event runs smoothly? What reassurances are there about that? The last thing a planner needs is temp staff who could jeopardize the success of the event. It’s important to recognize that in our industry, there’s a rather large disparity between what defines “event staff” vs. “onsite professionals”. Choosing wisely is a key element in the success of the event and reflects on the planner.

With all the work that has been invested in an event; venues have been booked, attendees invited, and large and small details have been carefully planned, the orchestration of an event needs to run seamlessly, well, as seamless as it can. With today’s busy schedules, many times planners can’t attend and manage an event. When the event requires a team, where does that team come from? Who is on the team?  Let’s face it, often times the budget is tight and airfare, accommodations, and incidental expenses are just too costly. Plus, bringing in extra help from the office impacts regular day to day operations. Unfortunately, that’s when a planner may think, “I’ll just hire temp staff to assist me”. Bad idea.

“Temp staff” is a sort of a catch-all phrase that crosses all industries with various meanings regarding what the actual role of temp staff is. Whether someone needs trade show booth assistance, registration assistance, event managers, security guards, ticket takers, volunteers, manual labor, street teams, brand ambassadors, costumed mascots, or any number of other roles, most fall under the same term and description; Temp Staff. Now, don’t get me wrong, all of these roles are important and have their proper place in the mechanics of an event, but my suggestion is for planners to think deeper into what their exact onsite needs are. Is it the best use of resources to hire an expert in constructing and setting up elaborate trade show booths to be the person overseeing the BEO and all the logistics of a pharmaceutical meeting? The obvious answer is no.

So how does a planner find what it is they are looking for? Well, where do we all go, the internet of course. Once there it all depends on what important keywords are entered in the search box.  If “temp staff” is searched, it will likely return an overwhelming number of options, and most, if not all, will not pertain to exactly what the planner’s temporary event staff needs actually are.  Regrettably, there’s really no magic keyword that is going to deliver what you are looking for. (It would make life a lot easier if everyone would just search for “GCG Event Partners On-Site Professionals”!) However, if the search is keyed in on the planner’s specific needs, the pertinent results are more likely to find their way higher in the rankings. 

Next, I would suggest picking up the phone and contacting those companies which match the requirements and find out about how they operate. Here’s a look at some questions that may be asked when reaching out to these temporary staff companies:

  • Where do pull your temporary staff from?
  • How much experience does your staff have with working at and/or managing meetings, events, trade shows, or whatever it is you are looking for?
  • Do you have staff local to the city or town that I am looking for?
  • Do you have staff located in other cities, towns, or parts of the country? (if you have meetings in different places)
  • How do you select the temp staff once I have provided you with the role I need to fill?
    • Many staffing agencies will just have a job board where the first available person who happens to see the role can take it.
  • What are all the fees associated with using your company?
  • What are your policies and fees for rush orders?
  • What payment terms do you offer?
  • How far in advance of the event do you recommend I order temp staff?
  • How long have you been in business servicing the meeting and event industry?

Prompting questions such as these will assist with narrowing searches for the best matched organizations based on specific needs. Come to think of it, GCG Event Partners may pop us as you search for temporary staff. However, temp staff is not the title we refer to for the members of our network. We ascribe to using descriptive titles including On-Site Meeting Professionals and/or Trade Show Professionals which depict a more accurate description of the roles we fulfill as experts in our field. Manual labor, bar and restaurant staff, models, and clean-up crews are not our area of expertise, but until some new terms are universally adopted, everything falls under the umbrella “temp staff”.

If your more interested in learning what On-Site Professionals can do at your events, you can check our blog: “The Evolving Role of Temporary Event Staffing”.

As a bonus, see below to learn how GCG Event Partners would answer the questions above:

  • Where do pull your temporary staff from?
    • We have a network of over 3,000 members across the US.
  • How much experience does your staff have with working at and/or managing meetings, events, trade shows, or whatever it is you are looking for?
    • The members of our network have a minimum of 3 years of experience, but on average they have 11 years of experience.
  • Do you have staff local to the city or town that I am looking for?
    • GCG can provide staff for any venue in the US.
  • Do you have staff located in other cities, towns, or parts of the country? (if you have meetings in different places)
    • Yes, same answer as above. We have staff available nationwide.
  • How do you select the temp staff once I have provided you with the role I need to fill?
    • We have a placement team that hand-selects every On-Site Professional for every event based on our client’s requirements.
  • What are all the fees associated with using your company?
    • Unfortunately, I can’t answer this one generically. Every event has different times, requirements and nuances. If you need a quote you can enter your requirements HERE or give us a call at 781-279-9887.
  • What are your policies and fees for rush orders?
    • Placements needed within 5 business days of an event receive a rush charge of $79.99. Please understand this isn’t a punishment, it covers added expenses of having to drop other matters to attend to last minute needs.
  • What payment terms do you offer?
    • EFTs, ACH, credit cards, and good old-fashioned checks, however, we prefer EFTs, ACH and checks to avoid incurring those pesky credit fees which can really add up.
  • How far in advance of the event do you recommend I order temp staff?
    • The easiest answer is the longer we have to work on your request, the better. It’s important to remember that we’re dealing with people and their schedules fill up.  Hint: The best professionals schedules’ fill further in advance. As mentioned above, if you need someone in 5 business days or fewer, a rush fee will be incurred.
  • How long have you been in business servicing the meeting and event industry?
    • Gershaw Conference Group has been in the meeting and events industry for over 21 years at this point. Specifically, GCG Event Partners has been around for 16 years.

Paul Cunningham is the Marketing Manager at GCG Event Partners where he has been happily employed for 7 years. Originally in a sales position, he has learned many different aspects of the company and now enjoys sharing his insights with others interested in GCG. You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn here.

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