As the sun shines brightly in the sky, it is this time of year we generally look forward to summer – holidays, shorts, flip flops, bbq’s, hanging out in the park with friends at weekends and there is usually a lot of sport to watch on TV. However, for those of us working in the events industry and sports specifically, our summers can be quite different to our friends not working on similar projects.
In the spring of 2012 our office was a buzzing place of 50 people working on sponsor activations for UEFA Euro 2012™ in Poland and Ukraine, plus the London Olympics. By the time summer arrived in June, the office had emptied and my colleagues were not found hanging out in parks but in stadiums and hotels. Many people didn’t see their friends or families all summer, nor did they get to enjoy any holidays until the autumn.
2014 is no different, another summer of sporting excellence which billions will watch on TV. The Kempster office is currently a buzz of people working on the World Cup in Brazil but by early June the office will start to empty as they head out to Brazil to deliver a project that has been 4 years in the planning.
This “empty nest” phenomenon is not unique to Kempster. However, planning for it and managing a large team of people relocating to another country for 2-3months is an undertaking that can’t be passed off too lightly. In addition, there are 100’s of people that need to be recruited, trained and managed locally in Brazil across 12 host cities to deliver a world class service to 1000’s of international guests.
I thought it might be worth reflecting on some of the tools Kempster employs in order to make this process smooth, efficient, well planned and executed to exceptional standards:
• We create a road map to success for staff outlining key objectives and necessary skills
• We ask team members to think about what the onsite experience looks like for their area of work and then work backwards to ensure no detail is left unplanned and there are no surprises onsite
• We develop a detailed logistics plan and brief the team well in advance of their departure
• We create an onsite Operations Manual for all staff detailing processes, procedures, contacts etc.
• We plan our onsite IT infrastructure requirements and employ specialists to support our onsite operations in multiple locations
• We conduct Skype interviews prior to running selection days for local staff. We then use a combination of online learning and face to face training sessions for local staff
• We create a closed Facebook Group for all staff to enhance camaraderie and sharing due to the geographical spread of staff. We want ensure a consistent message and standards for all staff regardless of the location or number of days they are working
• We train staff onsite, in location to ensure they understand the programme of events, expectations and guest profile
• We keep staff constantly informed onsite with schedules, daily briefings, group text messages and on social media
• We train staff on emergency response procedures and crisis management
• We conduct regular onsite reviews to capture learnings and ensure they are applied on an on-going basis
• We conduct a post event survey with all staff to feedback on their experience, relevance of training, use of skills, understanding of objectives and key highlights
• We produce a post event report which details all areas of the project deliverables as well as staff engagement and insights and share this with our clients
Delivering large scale events in foreign countries can be challenging and the adage of “failing to plan is planning to fail” was never truer in this instance. Ultimately, we want our staff to have an amazing experience and take something away for their future.
Let’s face it, the Football World Cup looks good on anyone’s CV. However, if we do all of the above well, the opportunities for people, personally and professionally can be incredible. We also have the opportunity to make life-long friends and get to enjoy the best events in the world.
The sacrifices may seem a small price to pay however, it’s worth acknowledging the teams of people who will be delivering the World Cup in Brazil are as well drilled as the players and capable of delivering world class performances off the pitch, which only a few of us may ever get to hear about.
The office may be quieter this summer but the intensity will rocket and I know the team will deliver a World Cup winning performance once again!