Take Stock in Your People

As staging companies acquire or build the latest equipment, striving to deliver the most cutting edge techniques day in and day out , it's easy to overlook the most valuable investment of all: your people. In today's event staging industry, audio, video and lighting companies sometimes forget those on the front lines - the technicians who can make or a break a show with the flip of a switch.

It's the technicians who actually push the buttons that make the pieces of equipment work. They put in long hours to deliver a solid, successful show with little or no technical glitches. That's why it's so critical for companies to invest in their employees and, just as important, demonstrate the value they place on these important people.

Investing in your employees is important for two major reasons: 1) it enables you to deliver the best to your clients because your staff is well trained and knowledgeable about your specific equipment; and 2) beyond the show, it helps establish ambassadors for your company.

Staff for Success
A company's investment in its people begins with its business model. Owners in this industry must make a fundamental business decision: staffers or freelancers. Currently, some shows are staffed with freelance technicians while others companies may choose to utilize staff technicians. Sometimes it's a challenge for freelance technicians to get training and stay current with the newest gear, since most of their exposure is limited to on site. Of course, live events are certainly not the best time or place for a tutorial.

My philosophy: Staff technicians are worth the investment. Some technicians lack training and we invest in them to bring them up to speed. But training is a sound investment when you're in a live performance industry, and you only have one chance to deliver. At LMG, we provide our technical team with the tools they need to do their jobs well. In turn, they have more ownership of the job they do and a vested interest in overseeing a successful show. As a result, we've found that our staffers take better care of our equipment and interface with clients in a way that makes us look good.

I am by no means devaluing the benefit of using freelancers when there is a need. Given the peaks-and-valleys nature of our business, freelancers are often necessary and can provide a needed labor resource. However, I've found it extremely valuable to develop and "incentivize" a qualified staff. It's helped us grow and provide our customers with strong technical knowledge and experience.

At LMG, we recognize the value of the show technician who works long hours and travels frequently. In addition to providing them with the proper training, we make sure that the team assigned to the job has the technical support they need, as well as understanding the scope of what is required. This is harder to achieve when you're working with an all freelance crew.

Beyond the Show
Making employees feel as though they're truly engaged in the company's success is another way to increase productivity - with the added advantage of establishing their roles as ambassadors on the frontlines. Staff technicians have direct knowledge of our company structure to get any issues that occur immediately resolved. By communicating with and supporting our staff, we have created a technical team environment, which elevates our product to the next level.

It's also important to allocate funds for each employee to receive regular training. By taking these steps toward fostering your employees' pride and professional development, you're contributing to your bottom line as well as building your company's image as an employer of choice among skilled technicians. When employees are informed, empowered and grasp their role in the big picture, they're more likely to support the company's goals.

Invest and Reap the Rewards
At LMG, we realize that ultimately, the success of our product is driven by our technicians' performance. No matter how good our equipment is, how well we've prepared, or how successful our track record is our success rests in the hands of those onsite. The nature of live shows demands professionalism and experience from our technicians.