Promotional Staffing: How to Optimise the Process


Whatever the promotional event is there is always one thing for certain – there’s a lot of planning and management to conduct pre, during and post-event. I’m going to help you streamline and optimise one very important area which is the promotional staffing process.

Consider the entire process of hiring promotional staff for the event itself. It’s massive undertaking when you have to:

  • Create job posts.
  • Post out the job at various sites and locations.
  • Manually review applications.
  • Attempt to find the best fit via external and internal crew lists.
  • Interview them.
  • Book and schedule them.

Then you still need to prepare yourself for the potential problems that seem to happen every event.

Below are some key ideas and questions to consider when reviewing your entire promotional staff hiring process from beginning to end.

All of which is designed to shine some light on exactly what it is that you can optimise and streamline.

Promotional Staff Recruitment & Onboarding Process

The promotional staff are key to your event, without them the event will struggle to take off and ultimately fail, so it’s vital that not only do you hire the right staff but you also provide them with the resources so that they have the education and knowledge for the event.

The Onboarding Steps

To effectively optimise the promotional staff recruitment process you need to be certain of the steps that are taken by staff when they find, apply and engage in the event you are recruiting for.

You should consider the steps that are taken for:

  • Registering Applicants
  • Identifying Qualifications and Experience
  • Conducting the Onboarding/Training
  • Designating teams and Creating Communication Channels.

Upon laying out the steps and understanding what the entire process is you may be able to find instant fixes or areas that need more focus that others.

Finding Qualified People

To ensure you hire the right promotional staff with the right experience and qualifications there needs to be an element of transparency.

But this level of transparency requires either public profiles with professional details, CVs and phone interviews all of which inevitably takes a lot of time that could be used elsewhere.

Ask these questions to determine if you can optimise finding the right people:

  • How do I store crew records?
  • How do I access/filter/review these records?
  • How long does it take me to find 5 crew relevant crew members?
  • How long does it take for me to reach out, speak to crew and confirm availability/suitability?

These simple questions and the corresponding answers will again force you to think about your process and highlight problem areas.

An example would be the process of reviewing crew records with the most common solution – spreadsheets. Spreadsheets can be optimised, always, but they still have their limitations as records grow you have to maintain them and keep things tidy – this never ends well.

This was a massive problem area that we noticed here at Liveforce so we focused on streamlining the crew hiring process, now you can filter crew members based on qualifications and certain traits as well we read reviews and ratings.

Keeping it Simple, Stupid

The entire process for your staff from finding the role of communicating with you and the team should be incredibly easy to do. One of the biggest headaches for promotional staff is a lack of relevant jobs and communication with agencies due to a lack of technology or methods to support these requirements.

Review your process and ask some basic questions to determine if your process has some areas to improve. Some questions you could ask:

  • Does the staff need to send an email to apply or register?
  • How quickly do we respond to questions and emails?
  • How can we review staff and their experience without having to go through the interview process?
  • How will we manage payment and expenses?
  • Will we use an existing talent pool or sourced externally?

Easy Communication

A massive headache for promotional staff is the lack of communication between their agencies and their event. Facebook groups and WhatsApp chats are the standard but they prove to be effective for a short period of time and hard to track or monitor.

If staff are on a job there needs to be a dedicated chat for teams to discuss anything about the event such as how to get there, delayed trains and whatever else they need to discuss.

There needs to be a method of providing additional information such as bring a coat‘ or ‘entrance is actually door number 10 and not 11‘ as these seem like very minor problems but in reality cause bottlenecks on event day and makes everything feel a little unprofessional.

Steps to take to ensure communication is no longer a problem:

  • Set up dedicated chats for teams and events.
  • Communicate often – sharing as much information and often removes any doubt or uneasy feelings, especially if events are hard to get to etc.
  • Be analytical and review which channels work best for your team. SMS, in-app push notifications, email or WhatsApp. There are a lot of options out there so make sure you use them and you use the right one.

Staff Scheduling

Pre-event, there’s a good chance that there will be some movements with the schedule and as the event day draws closer there will inevitably be more confusion and stress with the editing of schedules.

Scheduling is all about planning ahead, understanding what might be a problem and have a plan B and C in place.

Customising Shifts

There are two ways to improve the shift creation process – visibility and automation. In most cases shifts are created behind closed screens where there’s only a photo of the shift or spreadsheet which hasn’t been updated, then there’s the back and forth to arrange times and availability.

Phew, I already need a sit-down.

The key to optimisation and trust building is to provide the crew with the ability to automatically apply for shifts, set their availability, automate your own job post and outreach process through filtering and easily engage via a chat module. Sounds dreamy, right? 

The truth of it is that the outreach and scheduling process is what eats up a fair share of your time, zero in on the mentioned problem areas and figure out a way to optimise this via a tech stack or updated processes.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Simple details such as crew entrances, clothing to wear, geo check-in’s and access to job notes and responsibilities are all examples of critical job information which crew needs access to at all times.

However, many crews say that this level of communication is often not available often hampering their performance and taking up your own time trying to fix things.

Automation of the details mentioned above will provide an easy reference point for crew without the need to phone around and wait for confirmations.

Promo Day Operations, Logistics & Communications

Upon the arrival of event day, there will be last minute changes and pre-planned problems. All of this means that you need to be agile and have systems in place to facilitate these changes without the event missing a heartbeat.

Below are some optimisation ideas for event day ideas which look to focus in on 2 critical and often disrupted areas of event day.

Schedule Planning

Whilst I’m advocating the use of technology there are some areas of scheduling that needs human thought and processing to ensure the technology will know what needs to be done.

Some questions to ask during the scheduling phase:

  • Has everyone been assigned full day duties?
  • Can tasks and roles be combined?
  • Is there anywhere that duty cross-over to too tight or far apart?
  • Do we have enough backup crew just in case someone cannot attend on the day?

Technology Will Save the Day

Again, on the day changes and customisation will always happen so it’s a case of expecting the expected and preparing for this.

Some last minute changes to prepare for:

  • Crew not turning up.
  • New entrances that need to be communicated.
  • Shifts that need to be filled last minute.
  • Delayed crew.
  • Running out of swag.

All of the above can and should be communicated in a real-time format ensuring there’s no cross-over of information and generally delays from inactivity as crew are unsure of various details.

Providing a mobile-friendly event day schedule will completely streamline the process, not only will you know which crew have arrived you will also be able to fix the last minute changes mentioned essentially in real-time.

In Conclusion

The hiring process for promotional staffing needs to factor in some considerations as mentioned in the article both.
With a mix of the process and tips above, promotional staffing software and gut instinct you will inevitably be able to optimise the promotional staff hiring process saving time, money and resources.