Whether you work for a production company or any other organization responsible for managing events, you have probably found yourself in charge of booking and/or paying people.
Over the coming weeks we’re going to bring you a series of blogs that address the process of labor management in live events and how to get it right! Today, we’ll start with an overview of benefits and challenges and from there move into the two major parts of labor management: Booking Labor (everything before the event) and Tracking Actuals (everything after the event).
Managing labor can be tricky and time consuming. There is a lot of information to keep track of - staff, schedule conflicts, hour tracking, pay rates, overtime, meal breaks, paychecks, taxes, holidays, unions, and the list goes on. It’s critical that you get it right, for the sake of your staff, and your business. Paying people correctly and on time has a huge impact on establishing trust with your team and ensuring you are in compliance with state and federal laws.
Besides, there are a lot of benefits to putting a good labor management process into practice:
You’ll have a better handle on your budgets
With a system in place that tracks information quickly and accurately you’ll be in a much better position to see how overages and last minute changes are affecting your budget. You’ll look better too because you can give your client or boss updates in near real-time.
You’ll be in compliance with laws
By incorporating all the legal requirements into your process you’ll sleep easier knowing that if any legal entity comes knocking you’ll have no reason to worry and be able to provide them with all the information they need.
You’ll look better on site
Like it or not, overhire labor is often the face of your company running shows on site and interacting with your clients. When your crew knows that they will get paid correctly and on time, they will be better focused, more positive, and better engaged while on site. They will care if you care.
You’ll retain your top talent
Training new employees is time consuming, so finding ways to cut down on talent attrition is critical. Through consistent pay policies, good record-keeping, and payroll accuracy, you’ll build trust with your employees and encourage them to continue working with you in the long run.
So why does this all fall apart sometimes? Why is it so challenging to keep up with the logistical demand? Well...
Managing labor is expensive
It’s expensive because it takes a lot of time to do all the things necessary to book, manage, and pay overhire staff. And it can’t just be done by one person. Office staff and on-site coordination are both necessary components in getting it right.
It’s easy to make mistakes
The shear amount of tiny details involved in tracking and managing labor makes it nearly guaranteed that mistakes will be made. Every time you transfer information from one document to another or find yourself relying on someone’s recollection for accurate timesheets you open yourself up for mistakes. Paying people correctly is an area where there is no margin for error. Either it’s right or it’s wrong, and often fixing payroll mistakes can be time-consuming and can add additional costs.
The plan changes
We like to think that our plan will always work out, but it's rarely the case. With labor, we can often expect personnel drop-outs or last minute changes. Call times may also extend or shorten based on the realities of what comes up on-site. All of these aspects mean that someone has to be able to pay attention to these changes, which can be difficult when competing priorities are at play.
In our upcoming blogs we’ll take a deep dive into some tried and true processes for navigating these challenges and improving your organization’s labor workflow.