Convention centres across Australia are continually investing in staff training and developing new initiatives to reward and recognise the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) general manager Adrienne Readings says the centre’s team members are its most valued resource.
“As a team, GCCEC strives to deliver event best practice for our clients and guests, but also internally to ensure we evolve our processes, improve efficiencies and maintain a strong level of engagement with our team members,” she says.
As well as formal, mandatory training, GCCEC offers specially-crafted training to meet the nature of the industry.
“The training methods used largely depend on the topic, people’s roles and available resources. Therefore, our tailored approach to events also extends to training with no ‘off the shelf training programs’ so to speak,” says Readings.
She says when the centre introduces a new product or service, new training needs are analysed and developed.
“A great example of this has been the work conducted in shaping a more robust safety and security culture at GCCEC,” she says.
“We’ve invested in overhauling our operations to include additional resources, who have streamlined all event logistics to assure the safety of our clients, exhibitors and suppliers.
“We’ve been able to create a benchmark for workplace health and safety and I believe our practices have resulted in a more seamless experience, from event bump-in to bump-out, for all parties. This is what good customer service is all about.”
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) takes a similar tailored approach to its training and offers a high potential program for those who perform above and beyond.
MCEC director of people and culture Helen Fairclough says the program is designed to identify high performing employees that show a high level of potential, and then build an individual development plan for them.
“Their manager then works with them on that development plan and the idea is that it gives them opportunities and exposure outside of the regular work roles and training,” she says.
“They might attend high profile events, or be selected for working groups or leadership dialogue with members of the trust or board.”
MCEC’s Unity Program outlines principles and underlying values that all staff members work towards. Employees who exceed in the principles of excellence, innovation, integrity, respect, and working together, are recognised with quarterly awards.
One of the most recent recipients of the award compiled a pocket guide for staff and visitors to the centre.
“One of our employees from customer service could see that there was a need for our new employees, agency staff and customers to really understand our venue,” says Fairclough.
“It’s a rather large venue and if you’re a new employee or customer, it can be difficult to find your way around. She took the initiative to create a pocket guide, which contains maps of both the convention and exhibition centres, that’s now being used across departments and is available at our customer service desk.
“It’s a great example of an employee who understands the needs of both her colleagues and the customers, and has come up with a new initiative to meet their expectations.”
Ahead of its opening late last year, International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) announced a partnership with TAFE NSW – Sydney Institute in order to foster professional development within its team.
“Through a $250,000 partnership with TAFE Sydney, our people are able to receive accreditation that can be counted toward their diplomas as a result of their onboarding at ICC Sydney,” says ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy.
He says the centre’s successful opening was “in no small part due to our world-class team”.
“During our opening events, I even had one visitor tell me that ‘the smiles of your people are the soul of this building’ and I agree – it’s the team that truly brings a venue to life and will deliver extraordinary experiences for clients and guests,” he says.