4 min read
Stagedge Team

Investing in Our Freelancers

Investing in Our Freelancers

How Stagedge Supports Independent Event Technicians and Producers

Did you know that freelance workers comprise over a third of the workforce?

It's true. As of 2023, there are an estimated 73.3 million freelancers in the United States and there is no sign of it slowing down. This figure has grown year-over-year by at least 2 million since 2017 and recent data suggests that there will be over 90 million US freelancers by 2028. Freelance work offers flexibility for workers and opens up a whole new workforce for businesses—but unlocking the potential of a freelance employee requires special work to integrate, train, and support this unique type of worker.

In the world of event production, it's common to hire freelance workers across a variety of disciplines, including event producers, audio engineers, audio-visual technicians, lighting and set design, and logistics. But many production companies make the mistake of treating these independent contractors as outsiders, neglecting to give them the training and access they need to succeed. This is a mistake that can carry through to the event itself, resulting in effects like low morale and missed cues.

At Stagedge, we do things differently. We deliberately invest in our freelancers, supporting their career development, offering training, and welcoming them into our culture and processes. By investing in our freelance staff, we are also investing in the success of our clients and ensuring that attendees have a meaningful and memorable event experience.

"At Stagedge, I'm a part of the team, but it's even more than that," says Liz Yacco, live streaming/freelancer with Stagedge.

"I know I'm a crucial part of the company's future because of how they've supported my career."

Here are a few important ways we support our freelancers at Stagedge:

1.) Vetting for Success

We know that freelancers are integral to the magic of event production, and we consider our contractors to be long-term colleagues, not temporary workers. Because of this, we take hiring seriously. Unlike other event companies, who often hire temporary workers via freelance apps without vetting their skills, at Stagedge, we put the same effort into hiring freelancers that we do for full-time staff.

"These are the people you're going to eat lunch with—and sometimes breakfast and dinner too," Bob Tripoli, assistant director of production/labor at Stagedge, explains.

"We meet with every potential freelance hire, face-to-face or over video, to validate that we have the right people for the right job."

It's essential to the event production team, the client, and the contractors themselves that they feel comfortable and confident as soon as they step on-site. Our vetting process verifies that freelancers have the necessary skills in place and ensures that, if hired, staffers will feel equipped and empowered to succeed in their roles.

2.) R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Event production is dynamic and challenging. At every event, we encounter new venues, people, and circumstances that require all of us to adapt. That's why we cultivate a work environment rooted in respect for colleagues and openness when issues arise. Respect starts with listening to our freelance staff when they have questions or concerns.

"Everybody is so helpful and supportive here," says Yacco. "I know there are no silly questions, and I can ask anything."

It's also crucial to be respectful of freelancers' lives outside of their roles at Stagedge. We keep event staff in the loop throughout the scheduling and planning process so they can book other jobs and travel accommodations without scrambling. Additionally, once our team is on-site, we ensure everyone has scheduled breaks and meals.

"We know firsthand that traveling for work is tough," says Tripoli.

"First and foremost, we make sure that everyone is 'looped in' early and often so they can plan. Then, we make sure everyone gets the rest and sustenance they need on-site. And, of course, we make sure there's good coffee in the morning!"

3.) Access to the Best Equipment

The first thing that struck Yacco when she started working with Stagedge was the equipment: "It was so high quality and organized—and, most importantly, on time."

Offering freelancers access to the best equipment is a morale boost, helping them feel valued. It also encourages innovation. We expect our workers to perform at their very best, and that's only possible if we provide the best equipment and technology.

Access to the best tech also means that equipment is there exactly when you need it. "At a Stagedge event, every single person who touches the equipment takes personal responsibility," Yacco notes.

"Everyone at the warehouse and every truck driver knows exactly what is in each box, where it needs to be, and when it needs to get there." Notably, many of our logistics staff members are also freelancers!

4.) Training for Success

As technology advances, it's crucial that our entire staff keeps pace. For that reason, Stagedge provides event production training for freelancers to learn new skills or technology—and to adapt to change.

For instance, Yacco's typical role as an events producer was flipped on its head during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since Stagedge needed live-stream technicians who could meet the swelling demand for streamed event content, it made sense for us to provide Yacco with the necessary training to become a live-stream technician.

"So much of my expertise in live event production translates to virtual events," says Yacco.

"I just needed some extra technical know-how so that I could maintain steady work during the pandemic."

Educating our staff is truly a business imperative. Training keeps our freelance team engaged in their work, helps us produce the most innovative events, and allows us to adapt even when faced with industry-altering circumstances.


Investing in Freelancers Pays Off for Clients

When we asked Yacco about what excited her the most about working with Stagedge, one of the things she cited was working with clients.

"Everyone on the team is so invested in making the event a success for clients," Yacco says.

"This is the biggest day of their year. This is their Super Bowl. It's really rewarding to be part of the team that's helping the client win."

Bottom line? By supporting freelancers with a supportive work environment, training, and technology, the clients come out on top.

"I feel very lucky to work at Stagedge," says Yacco. "I've even done a couple of events at Gillette Stadium. How's that for a Super Bowl?"

At Stagedge, we believe that supporting our staff—no matter where they are in their careers—leads to better experiences for our clients. We call it The Stagedge Difference. Read more about our amazing team members in our Q&A with Director of Sales Operations Richard Ferrera.


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