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Rethinking Talent Development for Your Events Team

Ari La Vache |

GettyImages-862201356In this article we discuss some common myths organisations believe when it comes to talent development of their event teams. The insights they provide will hopefully prompt you to re-think your talent acquisition and retention plan for your event management employees.

Myth #1: "Events are not our core business – it’s not a priority for us."

More than 98% of organisations using event management software (EMS) do not operate in the event management space. For most organisations, producing events is not their core business and yet these events accounts for, on average, between 20 - 40% of the client/customer engagement strategy.

For these organisations, event activities often sit within the marketing or sales divisions and the expectation is that a positive impact on revenue and lead generation through the production of client and prospect events is realised. It befalls the marketing and/or sales executive to have the right people and processes in place to meet this expectation.

Myth #2: "Our events team is highly skilled and experienced – they don’t need training."

Historically, attracting experienced event managers/planners or conference producers into these teams has never been an issue, most planners have between three and 10 years event management experience. But would it surprise you to know that most event managers/planners have little to no experience with an EMS? And they are less likely to tell you they need support and training in the new event management software you just implemented.

Finding suitably qualified and tech-savvy event managers/planners and producers to fulfill this important client engagement strategy is one of the biggest challenges facing executives, talent managers and people leaders.

Myth #3: "We have a Plan B – when the event is large or complex we use our event producer."

Would it also surprise you to know that more than 80% of professional conference organisers and event management firms don’t use an event management software system to plan and produce events. They still use a manual process made up of ring binder folders, excel spreadsheets and generic word processing software. Everyone knows the more manual a process is the more time it takes to complete it and the more money businesses and clients must pay for the privilege.

Developing a strategy

These common myths can sometimes fool us into thinking we don’t have any skill or knowledge gaps. They trick us into believing that there is no talent attraction or retention problem. Worst of all, they can make us overlook the professional development needs of our event teams.

That’s why having a capability strategy in place specifically targeted to your event production team(s) is paramount to achieving your EMS ROI, even if event production accounts for less than one percent of their job-related activities or responsibilities. Without a robust plan to onboard, develop, grow and extend their capability you could never achieve year on year growth and success with your client engagement strategy. A successful and robust capability strategy includes:

  • Alignment with organisational culture, values and mission
  • Alignment with job role and behaviour expectations
  • Linkage with role specific competency framework(s)
  • Clear benchmark milestones that indicate performance expectations
  • Identifiable professional development opportunities and support resources the employee can journey through to meet the milestones
  • Mechanisms to maintain knowledge and capability as the EMS evolves and changes over time

As the event management product owner in your organisation, you are not only responsible for achieving greater returns on the technology investment, but you also must equip and develop your team to utilise the EMS to achieve ROI and professional development goals.

Talk to your event management software provider today to see how they can assist you in designing and building a customised, strategically aligned, people focused capability strategy that will ensure you fill the capability gap, and set up your event team for ongoing success.

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This Post was Written by Ari La Vache

Ari is the Training Manager for the Aventri Professional Services Team in the Asia Pacific region. An accomplished change manager and organisational performance specialist; Ari partners with Aventri clients to identify performance requirements on...

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