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Staffing Requirements at Wimbledon

1. Define and discuss staffing requirements.
2. Analysis and proposal strategies for good HR practice.

Wimbledon tennis championship, which started in the year 1877,is one of the four grand slams in the world of tennis and is held by All England lawn tennis club (AELTC). England hosts the event every year where the grand slam is divided into 5 main events- men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. The singles prize money for the event increases every year by an average of 7 % with 2015’s prize money being around 1900000 pounds (Germain, 2015).

 The venue along with the hospitality needs is prepared in advance in an event of such a large scale where the key to a streamlined event is human resources at the core of the event. With the main event witnessing ever increasing audience and security parameters rising exponentially, Human resource management assumes a central position in an event such as Wimbledon.  Spanned over two weeks, human resource productivity, staffing as well as sources of recruitment are some of the challenges that a HRM is struck with.

Wimbledon, which has a seating capacity of 15000 in the centre court, needs a well-rounded staff to handle the event. The staffing of the event is mainly cornered around the security staff, technical staff, customer information agents, caterers, special requirement assistants, servers and other miscellaneous staff (Apostolescu, Antony &Srinivasan, 2015) . To effectively manage the crowd as well as the event in general, the various staffs at the Wimbledon are divided into specific functions such as security, hospitality, technical team, food service and other assistance teams depending on the requirement. Security is further bifurcated into various levels depending upon the importance of individuals that the security is securing. VIPs and players need high-levelsecurity whereas the crowd can be managed effectively using ordinary security standards. The food management teams are divided into the catering services meant for crowd visiting Wimbledon courts, catering service for high profile visitors and food service for the players. The technical teams are required to manage the event broadcasting, event handling, lighting as well as other technical needs of the Wimbledon. In addition to these,ground-handling teams are also required in the event where the chief role is to prepare, maintain as well as repair the courts in case of any damage to the court. It is very important for the ground team to maintain the standards of the courts as well as seating of the court as Wimbledon is a high stake event. Staff is also required for management of the parking facility and ensuring safe entry as well as exit of the spectators in the court. Medical facility also assumes paramount importance inn Wimbledon where the key role involves ensuring medical safety of the individuals present in the court as well as off the court (Jones, 2014).  In case of any emergency, medical staff should reach the location as soon as possible so as to avoid any critical situation in the event. Hospitality team also plays an instrumental part in the smooth function of the event as safe and comfortable stay of the players, associated staff as well as guests in the event is important for the overall success of the game. High standards are maintained in the hospitality function at Wimbledon, as it is one of the most prestigious events in sports.

HRM Challenges in Wimbledon

Challenges related to recruitment pose a bottleneck in the harmonious functioning of the event. Issues such as where to recruit, whether to hire or outsource and how to extract productivity out of the employee constantly baffle management team of Wimbledon (Gallagher, 2013).

Recruitment

The task of recruitment in the event is based on three criterion- cost of hiring, efficacy of hired employee vs. outsourcing and importance of the function in context (Letens, 2013).  If the function in context in Wimbledon is of high priority such as hospitality and security, the usual option is to go for hiring of the employees as such a function can make or break an event such as Wimbledon. Technical teams are usually outsourced to technical agencies which are at a better position to handle the event rather than hiring the employee, developingthe technical competency, cost of equipment as well as testing the expertise of the employees in the event itself (Larson, Getz &Pastras, 2015).  It is of huge risk if the employees are not competent enough therefore to mitigate the risk, the function is outsourced. The ground teams are hired in Wimbledon as the maintenance and preparation of the courts is a continuous function. The pool available at Wimbledon for prospective hiring is quite large making it difficult to skin out the desired employee base/ outsourcing agency.

The HRM professionals of the event constantly face the issue of retention of the talent at Wimbledon as the employees being high performing are under the threat of getting poached. Retention of employees is a fine balance between the Wimbledon culture, employee satisfaction and incentive structure at the event (Corbridge, 2010). Lack of experienced professionals, short availability and high switching costs makes retention of employees a big challenge for management.

For the efficient functioning of the event, the workforce working at all levels at Wimbledon needs to be productive in their own standards while making it important that they do not get burnt out. Poor working ethics, obsolete practices as well as inability to cope up with the fast pace of the event can significantly lower the standards of the event (Pedersen &Thibault, 2014). This can result in both monetary as well as long term reputation loss for the HRM of the event.

Maintenance of healthy working environment in an event where the average daily footfall crosses 40000 becomes challenging for the HRM professionals. In addition to the health of the individuals, such events are constantly under the threat of attacks from various terrorist groups making is hard for the management to ensure safety (Masterman, 2014).  To ensure safety at such a large scale from such international threats is a challenging task for the HRM as a better equipped security force is both hard to secure and financially taxing.

Strategies for HRM Professionals at Wimbledon

Healthy diversity at the event adds to the ambiance at the venue which in itself is a challenge as merit along with diversified backgrounds is a hard combination to get. Therefore to choose diversity at workplace, HRs sometimes have to tradeoff between merit and sex ratio or in some cases have to take longer durations and larger ample size for selection. The recruitment needs to be holistic in its approach whereas it should not compromise on merit at any instance of the procedure and should focus on varied sources of recruitment. (Chester, 2015).

A strategic approach to the event keeping in mind the best possible outcomes as well as worst possible outcomes of any situation is the key to a successful event of such scale and magnitude as Wimbledon.

It has been observed over the past editions of Wimbledon that the recruitment has been initiated long before the event where the hiring along with overbooking of staff in situations of emergency or traffic overload is done. To keep a buffer of staff in all functions with focus on security and general management is an advisable practice for the event management team at Wimbledon as any fluctuation in the traffic can jam the functioning of the teams (Chan, 2003). The sources of hiring for Wimbledon have always been sports agencies, which have prior experience with Wimbledon or any other grand slam. Other prominent sources of the workforce for Wimbledon are the event management institutes around the globe that train individuals to effectively conduct events at all scales. The payroll assumes a significant spot in the motivation list of any individual and with the Wimbledon being the most prestigious event in tennis; high payrolls should be there to attract talent from across the world to England. The contracts with the employees are made very dynamic and fluid so as to allow flexibility in the work and attract as much talent as possible. As a rule of thumb, 40% more than the hired staff should be overbooked on contractual basis to allow a cushion in case of any emergency or significant rise in the traffic (Thomson, Schlenker&Schulenkorf, 2013). Since the human resource play an instrumental part in the success of Wimbledon, proper training session should be carried on before the actual event with emphasis on the failure scenarios that may arise in the actual event.

The option of outsourcing should also be looked at positively by the management team of Wimbledon as the option can significantly reduce costs, introduce expertise in the system, reduce liabilities of the management team and ensure smooth operations during the event. It is advisable to go for outsourcing in function such as food catering, vendor management, technical tem and other accessory function, as outsourcing is both a cost effective and less taxing option for the HRM professionals (Nissen, 2007). The issue of team management is allocated to the external party in outsourcing while still being objective. A huge risk associated with outsourcing arises in case of non-compliance with the quality standards of the event, which can result in huge losses both financially and operationally.

The issue of productivity that is faced by event management teams can be handled efficiently by using strategies such as mock drills, team building and free communication. Most of the times in events such as Wimbledon, employees feel burdened with a singular line of orders originating from the top right to the bottom. In such a situations, employees need communication channels with the management where they can effectively project their thoughts, suggestions and feelings about the job (Jay, 2013). In functions that require huge co-ordination such as security and hospitality, team-building exercises can significantly lower the risks of breakdown and can also motivate them to produce more than anticipated (McEvoy, 2012). Setting of clear guidelines can also work in favor of the HRM professionals as in sports events; an unclear line of commands can trigger dissatisfaction among employees. Employee engagement is also necessary to increase the productivity as with certain level of engagement, the objectives can be attained faster and efficiently. Wimbledon is seen as the biggest event of the year for the employees and can be effectively projected as a showcase of talent and prestige rather than a sports event. A strong incentive structure at place can motivate the employees to achieve their goals and carry on the event in the best possible manner.

Maintenance of accurate records, deployment of medical facilities in the Wimbledon courts and following of proper safety legislation can lower the health issues that may arise in any sports event. Courses aimed at personal safety should be held before Wimbledon, which should be aimed at set protocols that an employee is supposed to follow to ensure healthy work environments (Harveston, 2002). In events such as Wimbledon, any small mistake can trigger huge health problems, which can fail the event entirely. By following the previously set ground rules in the event, health can both be ensured and promoted.

The diversity of the workforce, which is necessary to maintain harmony in the system, can be ensured by proper documentation of the diversity data at the time of recruitment. Recording of any form of discrimination in the system with proper corrective measures should be done at all levels in the event.

Conclusion

In conclusion it can be said that the challenges associated with Wimbledon in terms of staffing, recruitment and HRM can be managed with a strategic approach. To arrive at a structural approach to tackle problems, the HRM professional first need to identify the issues that can arise in the event of such scale which in this case are retention of employees, productivity issues, health and security. Next, the management of the Wimbledon needs to allocate the challenges to the party who is in the best position to handle them in the shortest possible time. Security, technical support and catering are some function that can be outsourced along with the responsibilities and risks associated. Finally, the management of Wimbledon should keep a buffer for any possible rise in the level of risk at the event such as in case of employee recruitment, the management should keep a 40% overbooking buffer under its belt for emergency situations. (Sorokina, 2015).

The key to a successful Wimbledon event lies in the harmony between all the functions operating in the background as well as foreground, a clear line of actions, motivated and competent workforce and an objective at all levels that adds value to the Wimbledon in general.

References

Apostolescu, P., Antony, J. M., &Srinivasan, P. (2015). U.S. Patent No. 9,111,092. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Buller, P. F. McEvoy, G.. (2012). Strategy, human resource management and performance: Sharpening line of sight. Human Resource Management Review.22 (1), 43-56.

Bhagat, R.S., Kedia, B.L., Harveston, P.D. and Triandis, H.C. (2002), ‘‘Cultural variations in the cross-border transfer of organizational knowledge: an integrative framework’’, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 204-21. 

Gallagher, K. (2013) Skills Development for Business and Management Students: Study and Employability. UK: Oxford University.

Germain, M. and McGuire, D. (2015) ‘The Role Of Swift Trust in Virtual Teams and Implications for Human Resource Development.’, Advances in Developing Human Resources, 16(3).

Jay, J. (2013). Navigating paradox as a mechanism of change and innovation in hybrid organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1), 137-159.

Ford, D.P. and Chan, Y.E. (2003), ‘‘Knowledge sharing in a multi-cultural setting: a case study’’, Knowledge Management Research and Practice, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 11-27. 

Farris, J. A., Van Aken,, E. M. and Letens, G. 2013. Organizational Performance Measurement.Handbook of Measurement in Science and Engineering. III:30:911–944.

Nissen, M.E. (2007), ‘‘Knowledge management and global cultures: elucidation through an institutional knowledge-flow perspective’’, Knowledge and Process Management, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 211-25. 

Pilbeam, S. and Corbridge, M. (2010) People resourcing and talent planning: HRM in practice. 4th ed. London: Prentice Hall International.

Jones, M. (2014). Sustainable event management: A practical guide. Routledge.

Larson, M., Getz, D., &Pastras, P. (2015). The Legitimacy of Festivals and Their Stakeholders: Concepts and Propositions. Event Management, 19(2), 159-174.

Masterman, G. (2014). Strategic sports event management.Routledge.

Pedersen, P. M., &Thibault, L. (Eds.). (2014). Contemporary Sport Management, 5E. Human Kinetics.

Sorokina, N. (2015). Sustainable event management: A practical guide.Tourism Management, (47), 77-78.

Thomson, A., Schlenker, K., &Schulenkorf, N. (2013). Conceptualizing sport event legacy. Event Management, 17(2), 111-122.

Taran, Y., Chester Goduscheit, R., & Boer, H. (2015). Managing business model innovation risks-lessons for theory and practice. In 16th International CINet Conference on Pursuing Innovation Leadership (pp. 919-929).

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