By Ashley Keen, CVP
Like almost all of us, it has been nearly a year since I have been involved in a live event and it has been longer since I have been on the front lines, directly dealing with the public. A few weeks ago, I was given the amazing opportunity to work at a vaccine distribution center. It is rather fitting for the times that we are in, that my first reintroduction into the live events world would be an event such as this.
Due to the position I was assigned to, I quickly realized that I was the first face of the distribution center for our “customers.” I had been trained on the job, but had not been given all the information to answer specific questions not directly related to my job.
This made me think about front-line workers in a way that I have not thought about in a long time; probably since I was on the front lines myself. I have been reflecting on our front-line employees. Specifically, I thought about how we train them and how we set them up for success. Below, I have compiled a list of some do’s and do not’s of training front-line workers and volunteers as they come into your facility or on campus for your event, especially if it is their first time performing their job duties.
• Get to know your employees and volunteers.
o This can be a quick introduction! Even if you do not have time for lengthy intros, this can be achieved quickly by introducing yourself, asking their names, and getting some basic information about them. I found that the supervisor knowing and remembering even basic information about us as volunteers made us feel that our team was valued.
• Provide thorough training.
o One of my favorite training methods is the method of I do while you watch, we do together, and then you do while I watch.
o At this specific event, volunteers were tasked with training the volunteers on the next shift. I was struck by the complicated game of telephone this caused. Remember, an employee’s or volunteer’s training is only as good as the person training them. It is important to build in quality control and checks throughout the training and the shift, to help alleviate bad habits.
• Provide detailed written instructions.
o These can be referred to anytime after the initial training. This is especially important if the task your employees or volunteers are performing are varied throughout their shift.
• Periodically check in with your employees and volunteers.
o Checking in with your employees lets them know they have not been forgotten about. It also helps to remind the volunteers that the work they are doing is important and valued.
• Check out with your employees and volunteers at the end of their shift.
o Use this time to ask them about their shift. This can be a valuable way to gain feedback. This interaction will be the final way that you can leave your employee or volunteer with a sense of accomplishment. It can also help set the tone for the next time you see them.
Overall, this experience was extremely rewarding for so many reasons and I am so thankful I was given this opportunity to participate in something as important as public vaccinations. I was reintroduced to events in a way that I will remember forever.
Ashley Keen, CVP, is Production Supervisor for the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona.