This post has been written by Kristi Sanders from Event Planning, a blog by Cvent.
There’s a triple bottomline to sustainability: people, planet, profits. The last two are pretty clear, but how are you supposed to treat people sustainably?
The answer is simple: Like human beings.
How often have you served a three-course banquet to your event attendees while serving your staff sandwiches? For that matter, how often do you enjoy a full meal while you’re onsite? That’s not sustainable.
People have limits beyond which they burn out and cease to be productive. If you want your employees to give you 100 percent, you can’t demand they always be “on.” You need to give them sufficient breaks to recharge, adequate nutrition on-site and enough hours “off the clock” that they can sleep more than 5 hours a night.
In order to do that, you need to stop yourself from:
- Sending emails after hours and on weekends. What’s work-related needs to be limited to work hours.
- Skimping on paying your staff the same courtesies you pay your clients and attendees. Do they have special dietary requirements? Do they have physical restrictions? Be as considerate in planning your staff meals and outings as you are when organizing your conferences.
- Requiring employees to work while on vacation.
- Denying yourself full meals, vacation time, and hours “off the clock.” Otherwise you risk falling into the “superman/superwoman” trap. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. And it’s no one else’s fault if you’re a workaholic. People need to have a life outside, too.
At the conclusion of every program, you and your staff need to take a break. Otherwise, your creative energy and enthusiasm will start to dry up.
Don’t limit consideration only to your staff, either. Speakers, exhibitors, vendors, and sponsors aren’t just commodities, they’re people, too. Avoid creating a conference “class system” where people who are paying money to be onsite with you are excluded from all the perks and basic human necessities (like food and water on an expo trade floor) that other classes of attendees get. If you do, you can be certain that they eventually will fail to see the ROI of investing in your future events.