The engine behind any successful event is a dedicated team. The workforce contributes to every aspect and functional area, but it can often also be one of the largest costs. To find the balance between adequate staffing and budgetary restrictions, it’s crucial that event organisers and venue managers plan, monitor and adapt their workforce as necessary throughout the planning and delivery phases of your event.
The full process required for strategising, budgeting, hiring and managing your workforce is multi-faceted – and you can read about it here. However, in this blog, we explore one of the key methods for ensuring optimal workforce management: map-based dot planning. Read on to learn what dot planning is, why it’s important for event workforce planning, and how you can use the Iventis Planner to create detailed, versatile dot plans for any event.
What is dot planning?
Dot planning is one of the most important steps in the workforce planning process. It refers to the process of plotting the location of your workforce in a visual space, such as on a map, site plan or venue CAD drawing. It helps to calculate total headcount and plan your workforce operations, allowing event organisers to create a more detailed, accurate and strategic workforce plan.
Offline dot planning
The term ‘dot planning’ comes from the traditional approach whereby organisers would create dot plans offline, using large-scale printed maps and venue drawings. Coloured stickers might be used to represent the workforce, providing the ‘dots’ that help organisers create and visualise their plans. This helps to highlight any workforce gaps, as organisers can clearly see where personnel are stationed.
However, this is an inefficient, manual process. It necessitates numerous personnel in the same room, as managers of each functional area are often responsible for their own workforce. This requirement is more inconvenient than ever as most event committees work remotely and are often internationally dispersed.
In recent years, it has become far more common for event planners to use PowerPoint slides or Visio files. While these applications remove the need for printed materials, they still only create static files to be shared. They are also developed for a range of uses, so don’t necessarily provide the specificity required to fully streamline the process.
The traditional approach to dot planning makes it difficult to see the big picture, such as combining plans from different functional areas or locations. It can be difficult to analyse, refine and share plans, quickly making the process inefficient and time consuming. The headcount for security alone at the London 2012 Olympic Games reached 40,000, and full workforces for large events can easily equate to hundreds of thousands of personnel. When event organisers plan workforces at this scale, there is no space for error, miscommunication, or inefficiencies.
Optimising workforce with dot planning software
In our increasingly online world, removing reliance on printed maps or planning in PowerPoint is a much more efficient way of working for event organisers. Real-time software such as the Iventis Planner allows immediate, controlled access for anyone who needs it, meaning that organising and venue teams can work remotely and avoid version control errors.
Instead of using stickers, organisers can click to drop a dot on the map and simply drag it around as and when workforce plans evolve.
But the additional benefit of the Iventis technology lies in its flexibility, allowing you to customise plans precisely to your requirements. Organisers are empowered to develop data-driven workforce plans in diverse ways:
- Upload CAD drawings and overlay site maps or plans for both venue and external planning
- Implement advanced permission controls to ensure balanced access and privacy
- Use colour coding and labelling functionalities for improved clarity and organisation
- Leverage data attribution to inform decision-making for shift patterns and budget allocation
How to create a workforce plan in the Iventis Planner
Developing a workforce plan in the Iventis Planner is easy using the dot planning functionality. There are three main phases to the process – setup, plotting, and evaluation.
If you’re brand-new to Iventis, learn the basics here, such as how to add layers to your plan. Once you know your way around, discover how to develop a workforce plan in the platform.
The Iventis Planner is equipped with a workforce planning template, so it’s easy to get started. To find it, click the + to add a new layer. From there, select the Workforce category, and then the Workforce dot planning template.
The layer provides a default colour code to help organisers distinguish between the type of workforce such as managers, medical professionals, security, stewards, team leaders and volunteers. However, you can edit these to make them more specific to your event. This might mean changing the roles that each colour represents, or changing the code entirely so that each colour represents a different functional area.
The Iventis Planner also allows organisers to align additional staffing information with a layer via attributes. For the Workforce layer, the predefined attributes include start date, client group, and cost. But you can also create custom attributes to signify shift patterns, radio call signs, or anything else you need.
Once you have set up your attributes, click on the draw icon to place your dot. The Object Details panel will then show the additional information, onto which you can save attributes for each point.
From here, keep plotting your workforce locations across your event site map or venue. Organisers can move each dot or change its attributes, plus the layers can also be locked to ensure that nobody can alter them once finalised.
Plotting the workforce with attributes ensures that organisers have all the information needed to quantify and analyse their plans. When the dot plan is complete, click on the Attribute data table icon to find a comprehensive list of each dot and its attributes.
This can help to ensure workforce plans are correct and staffing cover is adequate. But the attribute data also enables richer event analysis. For instance, if you’ve added resourcing costs, organisers can use the list as a budgeting tool by grouping data. Likewise, if personnel are assigned via shift pattern, the attribute table helps organisers identify any gaps where nobody is assigned.
Organisers can also export the list directly into a spreadsheet, simply by clicking export. This generates a downloadable spreadsheet, enabling more detailed analysis. You can also count the number of workforce personnel in a particular location using the analysis tools.
Streamline your workforce planning
With the Iventis Planner, organisers and venue managers can say goodbye to time-consuming, manual processes like offline dot planning – without compromising on the effectiveness of their plans. By completing dot plans in the Iventis Planner, event organisers can ensure that their workforce is properly budgeted, appropriately dispersed and optimised for events of any size or complexity.
If you’re looking to find out more about how Iventis can support your workforce planning, speak to an expert today.