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Staffing requirements for the national book festival

There are plenty of reasons why appropriate event and festival management is so necessary and significant. First of all, according to Yeoman (2004), events industry can be considered as a new form of tourism industry and therefore events happening in particular destination can function as a promotion to the place and herewith attract visitors from all over the world, who would be interested in it. Being aware of what size and profitability tourism industry is, it becomes understandable why management of the events is topmost important.

One of the crucial factors influencing events and festivals attendees’ satisfaction is the quality of the service they receive during the festival. Whereas service quality is dependant on the festival workforce, all the staff which is communicating to attendees directly or working behind the scene, but also contributing to the overall festival service quality. Hence, as Allen (2005) pointed out, planning and managing human resources before and during the event is a key task for making a successful event.

In relation to the human resource topic, this report assesses staffing requirements for the National Book festival in Washington, with the main focus on necessary staff roles and what different terms of employment can be offered for

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them. Afterwards paper presents possible recommendations concerning human resource strategy for the same book festival, including recruitment, selection and training of the staff. Bowdin (2011) claims, that events manager have just one main strategic decision to make in the area of human recourse management and that is – staffing.

In order to get the best workforce for the festival, various decisions have to be made theretofore. Such as: decide what number of staff members, including volunteers, will be needed to deliver the event; what qualifications should they have; if a previous experience is necessary; and eventually – at what stage of the event all these staff members will be needed (Allen, 2005). Talking about last-mentioned concern, it is most crucial decision to be made in events industry, as human resource planning here is different than in other industries.

As stated by Bowdin (2011) human resource planning for the events is unique and different from other industries, as most of the events usually have a “pulsating” organizational structure. To be more precise, this means that number of needful personnel grows as the festival begins and the necessary number drops down when festival comes to an end. This ‘pulsating’ mechanism involves not just different numbers of staff, but herewith during the festival cycle, in each stage of it, different staff categories are required, depending on their provided service (Hanlon, 2006).

Taking into consideration all these above-mentioned facts, which are necessary for working on staffing decisions, various staff roles and approximate numbers of them were determined for National book festival in Washington. With reference to Wagen (2007, Figure 3. 8 p. 48 ), managerial team of the book festival should consist of seven main members, who are assigned to plan details for the festival way before and then on the actual date co-ordinate remaining staff members and make sure book festival runs smoothly, with everybody who is involved being satisfied.

Those seven main members are: event director, human resource manager, administrator, marketing director, accountant, operations manager, who is in charge of visitor services and another operations manager, who is in charge of support services (Wagen, 2006, Figure 3. 8 p. 48). This group of staff should be hired and start operational planning at least one or half year before, as there are plenty of tasks that should be done before the actual day of the festival. All seven main members of managerial staff will be paid and will be required to have particular skills and qualifications, according to their role in the planning process.

Experience in the events or at least related field and references are highly expected. While estimating what number of employees will be needed on an actual day of the festival, formula for effective team building and maintenance was taken into consideration. Nancy Mcduff (1995) as cited by Allen (2005, p. 172) claims that effective team building and maintenance consists of 14-element formula and one of the elements says that a team should have between 2 and 25 members, with the majority less than 10 members. This formula was taken into consideration, because the biggest part of personnel on actual day of event are going to be volunteers.

Thus, 9 main teams of staff should be formulated for an actual day of the book festival (Wagen, 2007, Figure 3. 9 p. 49). Each team has a coordinator, who is responsible for smooth and efficient work of his team. Communication control centre team, which is working as a linkage between all staff members, authors, who are participating in the book festival and visitors of the festival. Traffic and parking regulation team, which main purpose is to make sure that visitors will find a place to park in the parking slot, also prevent traffic jams.

Security teams’ main purpose is to make sure there is no crowd crushes (crowd management) in the pavilions of the book festival, also to warrant that all the visitors are safe. This team will be hired as a contractor, likewise catering team, therefore will not be discussed in this report further. Cleaning and waste management team, which is responsible for taking care of cleaning the festival zone during and after the festival. Information team is responsible to provide information for festival attendees during the festival and be in charge of having lost and found section too.

Merchandise sales team is responsible for library’s sales, which included books, t-shirts, mugs, magnets and tote bags. Registration team is responsible for registering all participants of the book festival; therefore this team is needful just in the beginning of the festival. Ticketing team is responsible for ticket sales during all day of the book festival. Public relations team is responsible for communicating with the press and promoting the festival. Practically all teams will be working during all day of the festival; just registration team will be required just for the opening of the festival.

Also different amount of team members will be required at the certain times of the festival, as for instance – more people from ‘cleaning and waste management team’ will be required after the festival than during it. Majority of employees, who will be hired just for an actual day of the festival, will be working as volunteers and just small part of them will get paid for their job, for example security team. Each team should consist of approximately 10-15 people, according to the above-mentioned formula, therefore witl all the estimations around 120-130 staff members will be required to be hired for this national book festival.

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