7 Top Tips to Manage Temporary Event Staff and Volunteers

Managing event staff is a bit like herding cats. It can be tricky enough to know whether everyone is doing exactly what they are supposed to when you are relying on a loyal team of permanent workers. But throw a few temporary workers and volunteers, a tight schedule, and a particularly busy event into the mix, and things have the potential of going very wrong.

We’ve put together 7 tips to help you stay in full control of all your event staff and volunteers and produce a successful event or conference.

It is unlikely that event staff will be allowed to walk through the front door and report for work. Most venues have designated staff entrances and often require complex entry and security clearance procedures to be passed as part of their incidents and emergencies plan.

Make sure all your event staff – permanent, temporary and volunteers – are fully aware of what to expect, carry the appropriate authorization and personal ID, and know to leave enough time so as not to be late for work. 

Notwithstanding the venue’s security requirements, your business should have its own internal procedures for knowing exactly how many members of staff or volunteers are on duty at any given time, and the identity of every worker or volunteer. 

Based on the work plan that you have designed for the event, introducing a sign-in process is highly advisable for this. Using staff management software is particularly useful, as it enables you to record who is present, and at what time they arrived for work. Research also suggests that introducing this sort of tech can improve motivation and help foster a stronger team ethic, as employees can monitor their own working hours in much greater detail. 

Recent developments in facial recognition technology tied into event management software can help in secure staff check-in or even deny entry to certain areas of a venue. 

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Every event and every venue is different, so it is understandable that your event staff may not know where to report upon arrival. It is your responsibility to make this crystal clear during your pre-event briefing. Whether permanent, temporary workers, or volunteers, they should be told exactly where to go (mark up a map of the venue if necessary) and who to report to on site (the name of the relevant supervisor or manager) so that there is no confusion or excuse for being late for work.

Once your temporary staff member has arrived, s/he should be formally introduced to your event team and any supervisors they will be working with during the event. This provides an important opportunity for unfamiliar workers to understand who best to direct any questions at in case they need help. In terms of management, it adds a valuable personal touch that makes your company appear a friendly and approachable employer.


Effective communication is the key to every smooth running, successful event. Before the start of the event, call the team together and let them know exactly what will be expected of them throughout the event. Share the schedule, including precise tasks and exact timings, and your level of expectations when it comes to carrying out the task. Make sure you allow time for questions to enable everyone on the team to feel confident of the job they need to perform. 

Rather than repeating the same instruction to each team member, save yourself time and energy by dividing your event staff into smaller teams or groups, each supervised by a team leader. Give your instructions to the team leaders and authorize them to oversee the implementation of the tasks, making sure they are the point of contact for any questions, which in turn frees you up to give attention elsewhere. 

At the end of the event, the sign-out procedure for temporary and permanent staff, and volunteers should mirror the sign-in process. In addition to satisfying venue security requirements, it also gives you accurate financial information of how many hours each person worked and will be paid for. Finally, it is important to thank all your staff for their effort and contribution during their shift. A little recognition goes a long way and it is important to convey your appreciation in person.

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