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False start and restart fatigue : Are our event teams ok?



Any good skipper of a power boat will tell you that probably the worst thing you can do to your engines is to crunch them into reverse after running hard in forward gear. Just the thought makes me cringe.


The unfortunate reality is that our industry in Australia has been doing just that…….running hard to re-establish events and then having to crunch into reverse gear as we face more Covid related outbreaks and lockdowns.


On speaking to event industry leaders the recurring theme that I am hearing right now is one of fatigue. As we face continued lockdowns and a future where it is likely that only the immunised will be welcome at public events our industry is no better now than it was 12 months ago.


For how long can our leadership and loyal and passionate staff endure this uncertainty and frustration? Let’s face it, there are many industries that are doing really well right now. Our good people have choices and those choices are increasingly not in events.


Our industry is facing a ‘brain drain’ of talent having already lost countless thousands and facing a future where not too many parents will be directing their kids to an industry that has been battered and bruised as ours has. So, retaining the talents we have is pretty important right now.


So, what can we do to ensure we retain our people?


Here are a few thoughts on the matter:


1. Communicate, communicate, communicate: With more people working from home than ever before it is too easy to become disconnected from the team. Disconnection creates uncertainty and uncertainty creates anxiety and none of this is helpful when trying to keep a team together.


2. Working Hybrid: Have you thought about your ongoing policy on working hybridly (home/office)? Whether leaders like it or not this horse has bolted and progressive companies are getting ahead of the game on this. New recruits want to know what the ‘working from home’ policies are of their prospective employers. When is the time to fix these policies? It’s actually now, not post Covid…Covid is here to stay.


3. Well-being: Many of us have grown up in working environments where employers took little interest in your personal well-being. Sure, they would offer cheap gym memberships or yoga classes and ticked the box of ‘employee welfare’. Those days are over folks. The majority of leaders I speak to suffer from sleeping difficulties and many have related health issues. Taking a genuine interest in the well-being of our teams is so very important and can be easily facilitated by experts….. or just start a dialogue.


4. Staff Development: In an industry where the next day or week is uncertain it may seem peculiar to be talking of staff development at this time. Do you recall my earlier point about talented people having choices to move industries? You can rest assured that companies in growth industries have not stopped developing their staff. What better opportunity to develop the leaders of the future than to engage them in the problem solving and trouble shooting required in a crisis. Put them in the front seat and not the back and perhaps we will retain them and perhaps we will have helped them along the way to being resilient leaders of the future.


Just a few thought provoking ideas of things that are in our collective wheelhouses and do not depend on outside help or influence. If you would like to talk through your staff retention concerns and are thinking of implementing a strategy please just reach out.




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