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Festivals Toolkit: Organisation: Managing people

A large number of festivals do not employ paid staff but many of the recommendations concerning best practice in the employment of paid staff also apply to managing volunteers.

However, employing paid staff is something that some festivals may need to consider to increase the capacity of the festival as it grows. Some of the key issues are:

  • Registering as an employer and understanding your responsibilities
  • Recruiting and selecting paid staff
  • The employment contract – terms and conditions
  • Staff appraisals
  • Staff development and training
  • Grievance and disciplinary procedures
  • Developing an employment policy/handbook
  • Becoming an Employer and recruiting staff

Business Link has various online resources for new employers including:

Guide to recruiting new staff

This will help you to:

You could also read the New Employer Pack on the HM Revenue & Customs website.

Staff Development
Once you are employing staff it is important to ensure best practice in the development and management of your staff and it will help you retain and motivate your employees.

The following handbook gives extensive information on recruitment and retention of staff and best practice in terms of employment: Success through your people by Visit Wales

It provides useful information on what it takes to be a good employer, the practices and procedures that make employment easier to manage and where to find help. It is aimed at the Welsh Tourism sector, but many of the basic principles are the same.  The handbook includes areas such as:

Job descriptions – these should include:

  • Job title
  • What the job entails (what are the tasks you expect this person to perform)
  • The responsibilities of the post (supervisory and line-management accountabilities)
  • Line manager (who does this job report to)
  • Job specification (i.e. what skills are required to fulfil the tasks included? You may wish to break these down to Essential and Desirable)
  • What experience is needed prior to undertaking the role

An Appraisal Form – this should include:

  • Basic personal details including name, post and length of time in the job
  • Job title
  • Job description
  • A detailed review of the individual’s performance against a set of job related criteria
  • An overall performance rating
  • General comments by a more senior manager
  • Comments by the employee
  • A plan for development and action

 Staff handbook – include at least the following:

  • Holiday arrangements
  • Sickness reporting/entitlement
  • Pension arrangements
  • Disciplinary and grievance procedures
  • Policies of conduct
  • Appraisals, training and development
  • Health and Safety
  • Discrimination / equal opportunities policy
  • Harassment

Further Information
Investors in People website 
Visit the ‘Investors in People’ site for full information on Staff related issues. The site requires you to go through a basic registration but it has a wealth of information on topics such as: Strategic Planning, Effective Management, Culture & Communication, Developing People and Managing Performance.

Voluntary Arts Network briefings of relevance (signing-in may be required):

VAN briefing note 47  Taking on paid staff 1 – How do we do it? Good practice in recruitment.
VAN briefing note 48  Taking on paid staff 2 – How do we do it? – Good practice in selection and induction
VAN First Steps to Employing Staff -Voluntary Arts Ireland Signpost for Resources for Voluntary Arts Organisations Considering Employing Staff (Northern Ireland) - a clear and simple guide to equip you with contacts and guidance to help your committee make the transition to employer.

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