Gary Fitz-Roy on staffing, associations and the future.
We all know that planning and preparation are the cornerstones to effective performance, and there are several things you can do to increase your chances of being more successful when connecting with clients and prospects, the question for many in our industry is have we used our time wisely?
Seeing this bigger picture allowed you to plan ahead and identify the shortcomings prior to lockdown but equally what new things we need to implement and what new events may have emerged as a result of COVID.
I know as much as anyone what it’s like to reschedule events multiple times whilst trying to remain positive and upbeat. By doing this, not only do we have greater control over our time but its gives us the best chance to rebound and rebuild.
If companies only plan for the reopening day (whenever that is) or January next year, it’s going to be all too late. Some companies may be in a false sense of being on top of it. However, the new norm is coming and if you haven’t changed, doing what you did in 2019 won’t cut it!
There have been two main things I have noticed over the last month, staffing and associations.
First to associations; who have all had, or about to have, a form of awards followed by upcoming elections and membership renewals.
Whilst I believe we need to pump ourselves up to keep positive, how can anyone take awards from 2020-2021 serious when each state has been disrupted and not many companies have had the resources and time to devote to awards rather than focus on the survival of their business – are we that vain we need to hold superficial awards? And if they are not superficial I would love the associations to come clean and release how many entered and how that compares to 2019. Some national event awards were put off to next year due to the lack of events.
The second part to this is membership renewals. I can’t see any association that has picked up the batten from last year and ran with it. Most have recycled announcements from other groups and none can say they have been proactive off their own bat from the outset – reactive rather than proactive has been the norm. However in media and sector releases some of the “spin” is certainly entertaining.
Now they want money or to be re-elected. And if the industry sectors renew membership and vote for people who delivered nothing, maybe we deserve what we get! Again there has been no release of fully paid membership numbers eligible to vote and from what I hear at least one group has dropped half off the membership they had in 2019.
I would have hoped over the various bodies would have been focussed on communications and plans to get exhibitors and visitors back to business events. However, not one association has released any roadmap, strategy or vision to how they will be supporting the sectors they represent (they so far have attached to Tourism Australia’s Business Event campaign), so membership fees and revenue is about a secretariat to do what?
We need reform, stop the excuses, drop the egos, stop the wild uninformed commentary and form one body with one united voice. Excuses are easy, action takes work and if any group was serious this would be achieved now not in some pipe dream somewhere down the track and not blamed on COVID. On this will COVID be the new excuse for everything, don’t we need to stand up and take ownership and change the picture, or does that take effort and accountability?
The second part of the above however is crucial and that is how do we recruit staff and people back into our industry? What have the bodies done to work with courses and run a development program around attracting people back to our sector? We need a catalyst to do this and maybe that’s where the Federal Government could assist, should we develop a trainee style program and ramp it up with support from government?
It is clear we have a task ahead of us judging by the number of industry jobs listed on LinkedIn alone. Without the security of employment and confidence if you moved from a company to join what was seen as a “sexy” industry. Why would they whilst currently enjoying the safety net of $750 tax free pay to do nothing until that tap is turned off. Maybe it’s going to be hard to get the right people. And to add to the issue so many now looking to recruit staff had previously let staff go and in some cases were very ruthless about it. While I again appreciate the need to put the organisation’s survival first given we are a people industry, some of the decisions made in 2020 and again 2021 are now not helping with selling our sector as one to join.
We have to approach each day with the right mindset.
As we count down to reopening, although it does seem to change shape and what it means on a daily basis, we need to treat each day as a new opportunity for to choose what our attitude will be and how we build confidence. Venues, organisers and suppliers need to work far closer on this plan. We need to plan how we are going to be our best self today and make positive changes to attract clients, visitors and staff back to the sector.
I would hope organisations like BECA are using their position wisely and working to implement a national way of working as an example so events don’t have different rules in different states, these basic essentials seem to get glossed over, and again if they are doing it why are they not communicating?
If we as a sector start today with realism about that which can be accomplished, with positivity on key issues we, can make it work and then agree on messaging and focus.
Control the controllables and put the attention on what you can and will do to make it all work.
In the end I can’t see a lot will change as there are too many conflicting self-centred focusses and egos. But the one thing that is clear is even as individual companies we need to make sure we make each day count to reform, change, and proactively sell and deliver LIVE events.
If you have sat back feeling sorry for yourself make today the day you kick into gear, no one will save us, we need to save ourselves and it starts today so make it count.