Helping Staff to Understand the Bigger Picture

Here is a confession: when I first started as a brand ambassador, I was rubbish. All of a sudden at 18 I was being hired to work these random shifts with super fun co-workers and no helicopter manager around. It’s not that I wasn’t doing the job, it’s just that I didn’t understand my role nor value its importance.

Fast forward a few years and I was better. I showed up a few minutes early and handed out all the samples, delivering my lines as memorised.

A few years even later? This time with experience as an account executive, I got it. Suddenly I understood the dedication, the extreme planning requirements and the delicate client relationships that all boiled down to the moment that the brand ambassadors were in action. Now when I was booked on field work, I showed up early. Handed the samples to the right target demographic. Understood the brand message and how they wanted us to represent them.

If only every temporary staff member could come with this experience already, a huge hurdle would be overcome in the often crazy world of booking staff. Based on my experiences, here are some ideas on how you can be helping staff to understand the bigger picture:

Encourage field staff to work in the office

Have a bit of extra, straightforward booking that can be done? Or even some general admin work? Encourage your field staff to come in and experience the office. Not only are many field staff looking to gain more permanent, office work meaning this would be a great opportunity to give it a try, but just being there in the hectic environment, listening to the conversations with clients, picking up on just how much work bookers put into each shift – it’s guaranteed to leave an impression.

Host social events between managers and field staff

Create links between the field staff and the managers. Not only will friendships be built, but a sense of wanting to do good for another person and loyalty will follow. A sense of trust between each end will help to provide better results.

Provide thorough briefs with fresh text

Reading the same brief with a different <<client name>>  and <<briefing details>> inserted each time gets dull. It also conveys the message that each job is the same just for a different brand and we all know this isn’t the case. Each event is unique, each client has different requirements and this needs to be translated for staff and communicated clearly.

Follow up with specific feedback

Whether from an event manager, yourself, a mystery shopper or even the client, personal feedback will show the value each staff member has to your business. Specific comments – whether good or reflecting the need for improvement – will encourage staff, help them develop their careers and show them that you’re willing to invest time to help them better themselves.

Help yourself – and your clients – by showing staff the grand picture. They are the final step in a very long process involving hundreds of people and huge sums of money, and all this effort boils down to their efforts in those crucial hours of work. Only by involving them in the process and valuing field staff as individuals can they also invest as much energy as you do.

Recruiting University Staff

Fun, flexible work requires employees who match the job description. Universities are a fantastic source of temporary staff, keen for non-rigid schedules and with enthusiasm to boot, students fit the promo model brilliantly.

[custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h4″]So, how exactly do you go about recruiting university staff?[/custom_headline]

First let’s think about what they want:

  • To represent cool, fun brands. When advertising to students, think carefully which clients you’ll want to splash about campus to attract a keen eye
  • University classes can happen at odd times, any day of the week. Trying to find work that fits in nicely with that type of schedule is – simply put – a pain in the butt. Promotional jobs offer various days, times and roles to suit each type of person and schedule, so remember to shout out loud that you’re offering shifts that will suit their schedules.
  • What happens when the studying ends and it’s time to get a job? Consider offering an Event Management scheme through which graduates with a great track record (you can always check their sign off score with Watu) receive additional training followed swiftly by management experience, not to mention great pay.
  • Set up internship opportunities with clients for your top BA’s or EM’s to win spots with. Nothing says ‘awesome agency’ like providing an internship at a company like Red Bull or Innocent.

[custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h4″]Now how do you go about relaying this info to them?[/custom_headline]

  • Student ambassadors are a fantastic way to spread the word, with an inside position in clubs, closed groups and wide social circles; an agency rep can grow your books quickly and with great quality employees. Not only that, but they can keep you up-to-date with fresher’s fairs and other relevant activities which you’ll want to be there for.
  • Be active on social media by engaging, connecting, sharing, liking and +1ing – whatever it is, your agency name will be spreading through the booming communication between managers and staff
  • Have a clear website with a dedicated staff section and a simple sign up process. Your staff are crucial to your business’ success, so show them that they matter. Include staff testimonials, client names and relevant info on the staff page to keep them informed, engaged, and enthusiastically signing up. Already signed up with Watu? Link your Watu URL to your registration button for a clean and clear way for staff to register and sign in.

The key with recruiting students is to put yourself in their shoes and think through their priorities. In the short term things like the fun-factor, meeting other like-minded people and flexibility may rank highly, but help them to consider beyond these by providing longer term opportunities. Internships, summer placements, training, various experience and added qualifications will soon become valuable as the uni days come to a close and finding steady work is on everyones’ mind.

Transforming Your Search in Watu

Following on from how to make the ideal staff questionnaire, some of you brought up specific cases that could do with more detail. You asked, I’ve answered. Here are two features within Watu that can make the difference to your bookings by transforming your search:


Creating a Group or Shortlist of Staff to Search

What if you want to search your top 10 staff? Or search within only the specific group of people who have worked for a client before? If you want to create a searchable shortlist, here’s what to do:

  1. Email with the title and what answer options you’d like. For example: Dear Watu, I’d like a manager’s-only section called “Santa Clause Lookalike” and the answer options to be tick boxes ‘yes’ or ‘no’. 
  2. We’ll add that question in to the profile template but only visible to managers
  3. You select your staff members who are rather round and very friendly, hit ‘edit’ within their profiles and tick ‘yes’ or ‘no’
  4. Come Christmas season, type in ‘Santa Clause Lookalike: yes’ and receive focussed results

This is a really flexible feature and allows you to create all types of lists, groups, and searches. Answers aren’t limited to yes/no either – have multiple tick box answers, text answers, URL’s or even files to upload. Just remember that it takes our developers a day or two to make these changes within your system.


How do Internal Roles Work?

This is a really connected feature within Watu and can change the way you book staff. Again, a step-by-step guide keeps things simple:

  1. Within the feature ‘Roles’, choose to add the roles that suit your business
  2. Select the appropriate staff member, hit edit and select the roles that you know they are appropriate for
  3. Searching for staff? Enter the role name to focus on that group. Advertising to staff? You have the option to advertise ONLY to those people whose included roles match that of the shift you’re advertising. Just look for the little tick box in your advert
  4. After a job, you’ll also have the option to automatically add that role to a person’s profile

Again, these roles are only visible to managers so it’s a way to quietly control which staff are suitable for specific jobs. And even better, ‘Roles’ is completely within your management so any changes you make are instant.


Best of all, these changes can be made whenever you want, for free. Either individually, or working with both these features, provides you with a more powerful search and focus for your jobs, ensuring you find the most ideal match for what your clients are asking for.

Portfolios: Lending a Helping Hand

As a company who is looking to hire temporary staff, you do so with the expectation that the staffing agency will fulfil your requirements with suitable candidates in terms of qualifications, appearance, personality, or whatever else your staff needs may be.

But what if the agency could fire across a portfolio containing all the details you’re asking for in a neatly summarised package? Photos, measurements, education – all accessible through the click of a link. Sounds rather helpful, right?

That’s why Watu created ‘Portfolios’. Let the staffing agency know what details of the team being booked you’d like to have sent across, and they’ll be able to send this over with ease.

Here’s a peek at how it looks:

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Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 10.19.14


As for having Will, Henry and Penelope sent over as potential staffers…well, we can only dream.

Creating Your Perfect Staff Questionnaire

Do you relish the thought of a simple, streamlined recruitment process?

Free from the likes of ‘join-us@’ email addresses and the tedious process of reading CV’s in various formats, before saving them in the depths of your company files never to be found again. Not to mention the 50 (or is it 500?) “you forgot to send us 3 photos…no you can’t work before you are approved…we’ll email if you’ve been accepted…” back and forth messages. Time for a change.

Now, with Watu, you log on and check who is pending. Approve, decline. It’s all done in 1 click with your canned messages ready and waiting.

But before you reach this step, it’s worth putting thought into what recruitment questions you’ll be asking your registrants in their staff questionnaire.

Here are guidelines for creating your form:

Titles: These are what a manager will search for. For example, if you’re asking if your staff have tattoos, you would want your title to be ‘tattoos’.

Question: This is the exact question you will be asking your staff. For example ‘Do you have tattoos?’

Answer: This is the type of answer you’re after. For example, ‘yes / no’

Statement: Do you need to statement to explain the question first? For example ‘We ask if you have tattoos as some clients specifically request that staff do or do not have them.’

So, when explaining to our developers how you’d like your profile template form to look, remember to include a title, a question, an answer type and optionally, a statement.

And what available answer types are there?

  • yes / no (a staffer will select one of these)
  • multiple choice tick boxes
  • uploading a file
  • entering free text
  • selecting one answer from a drop-down of options

And finally, remember to let us know if the question is mandatory for staff to answer.

As for brainstorming what questions to ask, here are 5 points to consider:


Are you after a specific physical trait? Do you need to send a large variety of photos to clients? You can up the minimum requirement to ensure you have the resources you need, as well as staff members ready and willing to show all their different looks.

URL Links

If you’re after performance talent, you’ll want to see them in-action first. Inviting bands, MC’s, dancers and so on to add URLs of their videos will save you hours when it comes time to search – urgently, of course! – for your client’s Christmas party’s performing elves.

Tick Boxes

A simple yes/no tick box question can go a long way for managers. Ask your question: “Can you beatbox?” Let your applicant answer and when you get that call for a beat-boxer…and with brown hair, you say?

Search: “Hair: brown / beatboxer: yes” and rock on.


Some parts of Watu should be for the managers only. For example, while many of us out there may wish we were Angelina Jolie lookalikes, sometimes another party’s discretion is best used. Enter ‘Celebrity lookalike’ with answers of your choice and discreetly mark as internal. Think outside the box and apply to what suits your agency, be it security clearance or role experience.

You decide for which roles staff qualify

Document to sign and submit

If you have a few documents you’d like staff to read, sign and upload, here’s a suggestion: host the document as a hidden page on your website. Send us the link and we’ll provide it as well as a space to upload the final product. Bish bash bosh, done and dusted.

Being creative and thorough with your questionnaire will pay off in the long run. Save yourself hours of back and forth communications, last minute emails requesting information and trawling through your books searching for an appropriate employee. Instead, focus your searches and source the best results for your next event.