How to efficiently plan your workforce for events.
event staff

Workforce planning for the event industry: what is it and how to do it?

Every event requires talent. Talent is a crucial aspect for your business. Making workforce planning a vital component in your company’s growth.

However, many companies don’t fully understand how to leverage workforce planning to plan their current and future workforce needs. Thus limiting your ability to reach key growth and revenue goals.

So let’s talk about how to align your business goals and your workforce to ensure you always have the talent you need at your disposal.

Here’s what we’ll go over.

1. What is workforce planning?
2. Key elements of workforce planning
3. Workforce planning tools
4. Who is responsible for workforce planning?
5. Example of workforce planning


What is workforce planning?

Workforce planning involves aligning your company’s priorities and needs with your employees. Then use that information to anticipate your organization’s staffing needs over the next year or two. The goal is to ensure your company always has the right people on hand to keep your business running smoothly.

To do this, you need to look at your current team and take stock of who might leave or what skills you might need in the future. By doing this, you can prepare in advance and avoid problems when crew members suddenly leave or when your company grows.

And don’t confuse workforce planning with workforce management which focuses on ensuring you have the right people assigned to the right roles. Workforce management isn’t just about scheduling, it’s a concept that encompasses elements such as payroll and time-keeping among other things.


What is strategic workforce planning?

Strategic workforce planning is a similar concept as outlined above, however, it looks further ahead. Instead of a one to two-year vision, strategic workforce planning looks like three to five years in the future.

Strategic workforce planning is about anticipating and preparing for future workforce needs and future company growth, while workforce planning is more about managing present and near-future resources efficiently.


Benefits of workforce planning

In today’s talent-based economy, the key element that keeps event companies running is people. And if you’ve ever experienced staff shortages, you know that not having the right talent in place can cause enormous strain on a business.

That’s why workforce planning is important. If your organization can look ahead and plan what roles, skills, and people will be needed to meet its business goals now, and in the future, you are more likely to thrive.

When done correctly, the benefits of workforce planning include:

  • Helping you further your business goals,
  • Improve your retention rates,
  • Discovering staffing gaps and opportunities,
  • A deeper understanding of your current industry’s needs and demand,
  • A clear recruitment plan and goals for the near future.


What are the key elements of workforce planning for the event industry?

Workforce planning supports the growth of your company. So, since your workforce plays a central role in your company’s future, here are six steps to create a workforce planning strategy for the events industry.

key elements of workforce planning for the event industry
  • Strategic direction: Have a clear company vision and define the direction and long-term objectives for your event company. Then ask yourself what crew and freelancers will you need at your disposal to reach those goals.
  • Workforce analysis: Analyze your current team. What positions and skills do you have on hand? How big is your network of freelancers? Make a list that outlines the current workforce resources you have on hand.
  • Supply analysis: What’s the status of the market? Are there any external factors, upcoming trends, and market shifts that will impact your business or recruitment efforts?
  • Demand analysis: Armed with this information, jot down the crew and skills your company will need to grow and reach your objectives. Also, note how many people you will want to hire in-house vs on a freelancer basis.
  • Gap analysis: Look at your notes and identify the gaps between the skills and people you now have at your disposal versus those that you need in the near and distant future.
  • Solution implementation: Brainstorm how you will bridge that gap. From offering additional benefits to retain your top talent to working with recruitment agencies to fill gaps, plan out a long-term strategy to attract the talent you need to succeed.


Workforce planning tools

If doing all of the above seems daunting, there are workforce management tools and workforce management software that can help reduce uncertainty in the process. They bridge your current workforce situation and where you want it to be in the future.

However, it depends on your company's size. Workforce management tools are particularly beneficial for companies with a large workforce, complex scheduling requirements, and compliance challenges.

Therefore, don’t feel obligated to implement new software if you’re simply looking to hire a handful of people over the coming year.


Who is responsible for workforce planning?

If you’re a larger organization, your HR department is typically responsible for workforce planning.

However, if you’re a smaller company and you work in the event industry, you won’t have many in-house employees. So senior management such as the CEO or the Project Manager or Crew Planner will typically put together such a plan.


What is an example of workforce planning?

Let’s say you’re an event company based in the Netherlands and planning to expand to the US. Currently, all of your crew members speak Dutch and are based locally. Use workforce planning to find out:

  • The number of in-house crew members and freelancers you would need in the US.
  • The various skills and knowledge you need your team members to have to successfully plan and execute local events.
  • Any language requirements (for example, do they need to speak Dutch too to make communication easier).
  • The desired location of your crew members.
  • The budget and resources you currently have to meet these desires.

A workforce plan will include a brief analysis of your current situation, highlighting your long-term goals, your future workforce needs (number of people, skills, contract type, salary), external challenges, and a plan of action that outlines how you will bridge that gap.

For instance, if you want specialized full-timers, what benefits will you offer them to retain top talent? And will you work with a recruitment agency abroad to find local talent? Or will you use Rentman’s job board so you don't have to manually pick and invite crew members for each job? 

Our job board and crew scheduling software make planning and communicating with your freelancers a breeze. No matter their location. Plan your crew with ease, knowing you'll always have the right people for the right job.


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