10 Best Practices for Staffing Your Summer Experiential Programs

Experiential agencies will soon be busy selecting their staffing partners for the upcoming summer season. Some agencies will go with who they know, while others will be doing their due diligence to find the right partner and help ensure that at summer’s end their awesome clients are still with them.

Here are the top things your team should look for and do when identifying the right staffing partner for your agency and client:

  1. Do your homework and create adequate briefs for each one of your projects. Describe all requirements: each role and function detailed, quantity, times, location. Share what each project is about, and what success will look like. This industry is more than workers just showing up on time.
  2. Budget accordingly. You get what you pay for, and with the lowest unemployment levels ever seen since this industry gained credibility, you bet you’ll have to pay more to get the right talent this year.
  3. Manage your timelines. Not a single agency out there has every type of staff in every market. Staffing oscillates wildly for some agencies and demand can be so high, that they may not even know what they have on hand if you come knocking two weeks before the event. Which brings me to my next point…
  4. Your staffing partner should have great technology. I’m not talking about google sheets or flimsy Brand Ambassador apps. I’m talking a robust client portal, where transparency reigns and you can check for yourself if that partner has the right staff. In today’s landscape, you should also be able to approve who works with you, see their geo-verified hours and track things like budgets, rich recapping content, performance and delivery.
  5. Respect your Brand Ambassadors and be inclusive. They are, even if momentarily, the physical representation of your client (and your agency) in the field. Instilling respect and inclusion across the board is critical to ensure they will perform and connect with consumers at their best. No one wants to be disrespected, harassed or be made feel inferior when they work. The world has changed for the better in this aspect, so your team should live up to this task every time.
  6. Train your staff ahead of time. If you think this is a mindless job, think again. No agency should allow Brand Ambassadors to show up to an event unprepared to represent your client’s brand. Sharing attire, speaking points, contact information, documents related to their duties, as well as videos are great ways you can interact with staff ahead of your events. Our platform’s agency clients offer this, and others do as well.  Ensure your staffing partners do too.
  7. Check your partner’s pay scales and payroll frequency. Clients getting calls about pay from staff should be a thing of the past. See to it that your premium rates correspond with what the staff is getting paid, and how often they get paid. Agencies should be truly transparent in this area, and you should be wary of anyone not willing to share this information with you.
  8. Diversify, diversify, diversify. Staffing agencies, historically, are better in some markets than others. This sometimes can’t be helped as many factors come into play. Having multiple agencies by region or expertise makes the most sense for a project of any scale. Check ahead of time and have at least three pre-approved agencies ready to go.
  9. Kindness goes a long way. Insider tip: Staffing reps will remain proactive and solution-oriented with clients who are respectful. Additionally, a little kindness in the field can make all the difference: access to water, power snacks, restrooms and a bit of reimbursement for parking are common. If you can’t provide these, be transparent upfront so your staff can come prepared.
  10. Give and receive honest feedback. Great relationships are fluid in nature, and constructive feedback should be given to improve your partner’s processes and staff allocations. Similarly, your field staff should be free and able to provide feedback on your activation and team to help you improve future iterations of your event series. It is your clients who benefit the most from this constructive exchange.

Best of luck to all agencies this summer! I can’t wait to see what you marketing mavericks come up with!


Note: We do not provide staff. The BookedOut by Shiftgig platform offers brands and agencies the right technology tools for field activation management, including: staff vetting, training, scheduling, asset-tracking and reporting in a quality-first, secure and scalable way.

About The Author

Carlos is an intrepid marketer, author and client partner with 14+ years of progressive, integrated marketing and technology sales experience. To connect with Carlos, add him on LinkedIn!