On October 3rd I attended an event hosted by Elevate Global the staffing specialists. F*ck Being Humble was presented in Shoreditch by Stefanie Sword-Williams as a talk-workshop for 40 of Elevate’s team, field staff and brand ambassadors.
F*ck Being Humble is a book allied to a personal promotion strategy and is near enough synonymous with Stef, a vibrant and articulate presenter who challenges reticence and shoegazing modesty. She wants to empower her audiences to put themselves, their abilities, and initiatives forwards.
I wasn’t the target audience for this. The trend for humility and its annoying antidote the humble brag is not one a 52-year-old self-employed child of the Loadsamoney and cold calling era is likely to be inflicted. Without looking at me directly, Stef did eyeroll the over 50s twice or thrice in her presentation.
F*ck Being Humble is essentially a bold repackage of the positive thinking self-help manuals of old, but its clear presentation by Stef and her workshop approach got people engaged and talking and I heard a lot of post-event positives from the attendees. If Stef’s shared experience can make one person step forwards with a bright idea or prompt one person to successfully challenge their workplace status quo with a new initiative, then this exercise will have been worthwhile.
And Stef’s words were not just advice. She gave her audience practical situations where her ideas could be put into action.
In one exercise Stef had us understanding when it might be wrong to use LinkedIn’s most clichéd profile words and had us write down 5 alternatives. I wrote:
And I think I got me just about right!
As noted above, the brand ambassadors really warmed to Stef and I felt Elevate had spotted an intriguing irony in their staff, namely people who confidently promote brands have less confidence when it comes to promoting themselves.
Event staffing suffers from commoditisation. I have heard brands and even agencies refer to getting enough bodies in to cover the work.
Events like this seemed to me to be a surface indicator of the ways in which Elevate Global is addressing commoditisation, investing in staff, and encouraging career aspirations in the events business.
After F*ck Being Humble I put the questions to Elevate’s Global’s Chief Operating Officer, Carina Filek.
1. Why does Elevate feel it is important to host events like this that engage staff?
Ensuring we provide staff with the best training opportunities in the industry is key to allowing us to deliver the best work for our clients. Not only that, but we also aim to inspire staff to grow and develop, allowing them to have the best experience whilst working with Elevate. We recognise that our people in the field deserve more support and opportunities over and above just work. We can do more to support them as an employer and this event is a small part of a wider programme. This programme and events such as this will support a strong company culture, help to foster closer working relationships between field staff and HQ, boost morale and improve staff satisfaction. It will lead to increased productivity and effectiveness for our client as a natural by-product.
- Does Elevate think brand ambassadors and event managers can grow and progress in careers/life choices through the support of their staffing agency?
Absolutely! The exciting space that is events is a wonderful landscape for learning and development through on the job experience. Providing a support network and working in a collaborative partnership with our staff allows them to better navigate this journey. So, whether that’s coaching them through interviews, suggesting ways to level-up how they engage or providing tangible tactics for better self-promotion, as an employer we have a responsibility to guide our folks in the field.
- How beneficial is a loyal workforce to the brands, agencies and events that Elevate supplies?
We see amazing people come through the workforce across a wide range of segments – whether the candidate is a dedicated and seasoned pro, or someone who’s brand new to the industry. I firmly believe that the key lies in how we prepare our people, regardless of tenure or experience. Even the highest performing brand ambassador can fail if not set up for success by their agency. Loyalty is often synonymous with length of engagement, but we often feel this from the first moment of engagement. As an agency, offering something of value, that’s highly relevant to the individual supported by community and strong communications will result in better outcomes for all involved.
- Is Elevate planning similar events in other countries where it is a key supplier?
Yes – we have various pilot programmes running across our other markets to test what best delivers success for our workforces. Ensuring we get these events right is integral to the way we engage with our field staff in future. Our programme is something new for the industry, and staff aren’t used to having access to programmes where the focus is all about them, so there’s a bit of finding what works on both sides. We’re listening, learning, testing, and redeploying all the time. Whether that’s headshot sessions from our LA office, or confidence building workshops from our Paris branch, we’re looking to see what works best for our field staff.
- In the context of F*ck Being Humble, what does Elevate excel at and why?
Elevation is one of our core values, one that we live and breathe at every opportunity. We continually challenge ourselves to do more to support our staff around the world. We know we are generating a real-life impact for the people we work with, and it’s something that truly sets us apart from other agencies. Seeing Elevate drive innovation in this space is crucial to the way we will continue to support our staff in field.
Events such as this are of huge importance to the way we operate. We knew we had to act to better support our field workforce in what has been an extremely challenging time. Navigating careers can be a challenge for all of us, and one perhaps that is felt even more as a gig worker. Providing tangible guidance and training for our people to allow them to be proud of their work, deliver to the best of their ability and make their mark on the industry is something we are incredibly passionate about at Elevate. This is just the start – we have a lot more planned and will be offering our staff the best training opportunities in. the industry.