Thursday, February 08, 2007

Staging Connections – the inside story

by Jon Smith – Creative Services Manager – Staging Connections Melbourne

There has been a fair amount of media surrounding Staging Connections over the last twelve months. While I can understand that a company as large as ours is always going to be a talking point I am somewhat amazed by some of the things that have recently been written about us.

While it is true to say there have been many changes at Staging Connections over the last 12 months, it has remained very much business as usual for the majority of staff. During this period we have expanded our Australian operations with offices in Fiji, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai and while some staff have left a lot of talented people joined our team.

As a current employee who has been at Staging Connections on and off for 15 years I can honestly say that I am continually amazed by the passion and dedication of our staff and crew. While there may have been ongoing changes at senior management level our staff have remained focused on delivering high quality events and I believe our standards are better than ever.

Contrary to popular belief it is a great company to work for - with great clients, great staff, a wide variety of projects, heaps of career opportunities, and most importantly a fun place to work. While some staff have left as a result of change many leave for other reasons – in our industry with the stress and hours we hours we work there will always be a fair amount of natural attrition. We actually encourage staff to what’s best for them – most leave on extremely favourable terms and are welcomed back when the time is right - that’s why so many are returning as I did a couple of years ago.

I’m not alone. People like Bill Kneebone who was with SC in Victoria and SA as General Manager for over six years is now working within the ETG SC Chinese operation; Fraser Watkins is back as Sales Manager at Staging Connections in Melbourne and then there’s Nigel Taylor returning to head up the sales team in Sydney, just to name a few. Our senior management team now includes highly regarded event specialists such as International Creative Director Paul Kenny who’s worked on many large scale sporting and corporate events around the world as well as Philip Black who is Director of Venues, Keren Southgate – Director of Business Development, Rob Vass – Director of Sales, and Nic Allum our Director of Communications.

So there is already a substantial amount of IP within the business and with the calibre of people like Bill Kneebone, Fraser Watkins and Nigel Taylor returning to Staging Connections our experienced event team is once again in a league all of its own.

It seems that as long as Staging Connections remains such a palpable force within the local events industry we will continue to be the focus of criticism from certain sectors of the industry. It has always amazed me how positive our clients are yet how negative the industry is towards us. How come the majority of our staff are well liked within the industry but as a whole the company is despised?

People come and go – that’s a fact of life. But from my perspective most of my colleagues are really excited to be here, and work on all the great events we do every day. Yes as an organization we are continually trying new things and implementing changes - some have worked others have been less successful. What is most encouraging is that as a company we are embracing change and we are prepared to take some risks in order to grow and improve.

The fact is as a company, Staging Connections puts its money where its mouth is. Just look at how much we have invested in becoming an RTO and how far we have developed our internal training systems. Under public company ownership and with the total support of our management team we continuously review our systems and processes and train our people to make sure that our service delivery is the best. There is a real atmosphere of collaboration. And our recent acquisitions only strengthen the company and provide more opportunities for our staff.

Our board is extremely positive and encouraging and again contrary to popular belief they view our staff as the companies most valued asset and I can personally add that the future looks really bright – there has never been a better time to get on board as we continue to develop and grow through the passion and commitment of our Management and staff.

Some will tell you we are loosing business but I can tell that we are winning more and more new clients every day. You only have to look at some of the very large events we are now working on to understand that although we are seen negatively by some parts of the industry, in the marketplace we are still considered to be leaders. And again while the industry has had mixed reactions to our new branding, it has been very positively received by our clients.

So while many might scoff about the branding we are still delivering what we promise, creativity, service, and reliability.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a "loyal" employee of 4 years (without leaving then comming back) i am astounded by your oversight of some very basic issues. Staff are leaving staging connections. They are going to competitors, and they are taking their hatred of the company with them. I was once told by a senior "staging connections is mocked in the industry due to our tardy roadcase management" on a setup. I personally think it could be the fact that all the other companies setting up that day were wearing boots, shorts, singlets, and a hardhat, whilst staging showed up in 38 degree heat in collar and cuffs, long pants, all black, and had to loan hardhats off another company. Staging connections isnt winning back business, we're receiving it back from companies like Jack Moreton Intl like a handout, giving them a stronger market position. Almost every PCO has at least one terrible experience story with staging connections. but what can you expect from a company that operates on an average crew age of 24 with average experience of between none and 3 years.