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Propared Blog

Tips and Advice for Managers, Planners, and Event Production Professionals

June 16, 2017

How to Not Screw Up Hiring Theatre & Event Managers

If you’ve ever had to hire a manager before you know how hard it is to find someone who is a good fit for your organization. Everyone dreams of landing that magic combo of skills, personality, drive, and teamsmanship. However, even when you think you’ve asked all the right questions and found the perfect person, the honeymoon doesn’t always last.

When hiring for management positions here are some considerations that will give you a better chance of hitting a home run.

May 10, 2017

How to Keep Your Head While Onboarding Seasonal Staff

It’s that time of year again! Summer theaters and festivals all over the country are gearing up for their seasons by adding loads of seasonal employees.

Onboarding new staff is not unique. Every company hires new people. What IS unique is the time we have available and the number of people we have to simultaneously onboard. Year-round management teams balloon from just a few people to a full troupe of technicians, managers, designers, and cast almost overnight.

March 22, 2017

When Managers Should Avoid Email

Not too long ago, a friend of mine was stage managing a dance performance at a university. During one of the final rehearsals, the lead dancer had to leave the show.

The director, who was also a faculty member, sent an email to the dancer expressing her sympathy and telling her not to worry and that they’d replaced her and gotten the show back on its feet. Understanding it to be a sensitive moment, the director even had the stage manager proof read the note.

All looked good, and away it went.

January 19, 2017

The Ultimate Guide to Getting Labor Management Right: Part 1

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).

November 10, 2016

4 People Operations Mistakes Your Event Company is Making Right Now

This post was originally published in October, 2015. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Last fall, I read about a live event design and production company in California that faced HUGE fines over improper i-9’s for their employees. Running an event production company for the last eight years has given me some perspective on the human resource challenges faced by live event companies.

People operations is always a complex task for a business owner. Small or large company, it doesn't matter. Labor laws have evolved in incremental stages over time. Mainly this is because they are meant to address issues as they arise. It's almost impossible to predict every challenge, especially in such a rapidly evolving labor market.

But when these sometimes starkly different laws are fused together, they present a challenging set of rules. Even well-established, successful companies struggle to navigate. Imagine the difficulty (and cost!) for inexperienced business owners and entrepreneurs. You could compare it to quenching your thirst by drinking from a fire hose.

April 4, 2016

6 Things Every Event Production Company Should Be Doing Right Now

There’s a well-known quote attributed to the writer, Hunter S. Thompson that reads: “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” (Technically, it’s a bit of a paraphrase of a much older quote from Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield but why quibble?) For production managers, this usually means more work (time!) and more money when executing an event.

In today’s competitive marketplace, those are scary propositions. Especially for smaller companies struggling to carve out a niche. As the stress of making ends meet grows, the idea of cutting corners becomes more attractive. Even if you know it isn’t the right choice.

March 11, 2016

Want to Build a Remote Team? Here's How We Did It

Working remotely has some fantastic benefits. Work from home, work on the road, work in your underwear, flexible hours, etc. However, it can have it’s challenges, from hiring, to building culture, to establishing means for effective communication. Here’s the story of how we installed a remote team at Propared and how you might do it at your company, too.

January 12, 2016

7 Things You Need to Know To Manage Volunteers the Right Way

One of the most challenging responsibilities an event planner has is managing a group of volunteers. On the surface, it may seem easy. It's all "People Management," so drop them into the same bucket with your staff and you're done. Not so fast.

January 7, 2016

How to Create an Efficient Event Planning Team

If you sat 10 event managers down in a room and asked them to define the duties of a production manager or event planner, you’d get 10 different answers. Why? For the most part, that doesn't happen in the corporate world.

December 18, 2015

Grow Your Event Business! Tips from a HR Pro on Onboarding New Managers

Bringing on a new manager to an existing event or production team is challenging. Especially if your team is running active projects with tight deadlines. But the good news? Normally, the need the hire means your business is growing! Even if you’re just replacing someone, you’re still opening up your company to different ideas, injecting some new energy into your team.

“Onboarding,” or organizational socialization is critical in setting the stage for a strong, long term relationship between you and your employee. It allows you to embrace feedback from an outside perspective and increases the effectiveness of your new manager. All while maintaining the consistency of your brand when working with clients.

It’s important to spend time thinking about how you onboard people. The event business is a lot about the people so make sure you get it right! It doesn’t matter whether you are hiring a full-time employee or a freelancer on a project-by-project basis. We’re talking about a manager here, someone with decision-making authority who is representing you on site. The more he or she understands and absorbs, the better. Here are some other suggestions for developing your best onboarding process.

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