In our first guest blog of 2022, Sledge Managing Director Sarah Yeats shares her thoughts on how event industry leaders can prepare for the year ahead…
From shifting back to in-person experiences and grappling with staffing shortages, to focusing in on our company cultures and addressing sustainability as an utmost priority, there were many issues for leaders to consider in 2021.
Now as we enter a new year, it will be important to develop strategies that address these matters and more in the long term. Not only will this guarantee the ongoing survival of our industry, we’ll contribute to making the world a better place and boost employee morale in the process.
Creating cultures with conscience
Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2021 revealed that nearly eight in ten employees expect companies to act on societal issues. This highlights the need for our organisations to have a stance on key external matters, and invite employees to contribute to these initiatives, so that they too feel as though they are giving back.
Additionally, health and wellbeing will remain at the forefront in 2022, as it’s clear employees are seeking a better balance. While it’s not always easy to achieve this during busy periods, it’s vital that we make it a priority.
Formalised plans that highlight how employees can manage their wellbeing and prevent stress are incredibly valuable here, as is allowing them to have regular breaks in the lead up to and following a pitch or event. This can be achieved by, for example, developing clear timelines that ensure multiple team members are across a project, and ensuring there’s more than one point of contact for the client. That way, if a team member is off on a particular day the project isn’t impacted, and the employee will return revitalised and more motivated than ever.
Changing up recruitment strategies
Resourcing was no doubt an issue for the industry in 2021, as while we made our return, timelines were tighter than ever, some talent switched industries at the height of the pandemic, and those still in the sector were booked up for many months at a time.
This highlights the need to rethink the way we recruit, particularly when it comes to younger demographics. According to Deloitte, Millennials and Gen Zs decide the type of work they want to do, and who they want to do it for, based on their personal beliefs and ethics. This shows us they are incredibly in tune with the world around them, and we also know they are digital natives. Millennials and Gen Zs have a lot of value to add to our industry, as they bring a new perspective to the table and inject our projects with fresh creative thinking.
To attract these demographics, we should meet them where they are, by taking to platforms such as TikTok and Instagram Reels to create ‘a day in the life’ style content, and invite them to come to us by hosting regular coffee mornings and 1-2-1 catch ups, where they can learn more about the industry and the many varied opportunities available within it.
Ensuring sustainability is a must have, instead of a nice to have
Deloitte’s consumer sustainability report highlights that this is a key consideration for consumers, and it’s becoming more and more important to our clients. Even though a lot of them have their own CSR and sustainability teams, they look to us for insight around the best ways to create engaging experiences for their audiences, while minimising their environmental impact.
In 2022 it will be more important than ever that we educate all clients about event sustainability, and include sustainable alternatives in pitches even if this is not asked of us. By including sustainability as a line item in every budget – which could include strategic support, the cost of carbon emissions measurement and offset tools and more – we’ll bring this matter to the fore, while also highlighting how seriously we take sustainability.
Officialising COVID-19 health and safety
Not only has the omicron variant shown us that the pandemic is ever evolving, the health and wellbeing of attendees, employees and crew should remain at the forefront in 2022, and all of the time. We can achieve this by developing an industry-wide COVID-19 health and safety policy, and treating it in the same way as we do all of our other policies and insurances.
By including it in each and every event as standard, and evolving it as new technologies and developments come to the fore, we’ll place confidence in clients to move ahead with hybrid and in-person events, and importantly, ensure the safety of all involved.
A new year represents a time to refresh, reset and consider our priorities. While many challenges lie ahead, collaborating as an industry and delivering great work that also does good in the world, is why we do what we do!