The latest Events Industry Council (EIC) APEX COVID-19 Business Recovery Task Force Accepted Practices Guide created a place where those affected by the pandemic slowdown in the meetings and events industry can go for help. The new “book” on Workforce and Wellness covers everything from finding a new job and learning the skills to advance in their current positions to a Dr. Brene Brown segment on comping with grief, fear and anxiety during corona.
Through case studies and shared tools from around the world, the 28-page document collects the wisdom of the industry in one convenient location. It builds on the two reports already released—“Health and Safety for Hotels” and “Meeting and Event Design” by starting with a Duty of Care standard that outlines success as being a combination of responsibilities that belong to the meeting planner, the individual and other providers.
Smart Meetings Zoomed with the co-chairs of the task force, Johnnie White, MBA, CAE, CMP, executive vice president and CEO of American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery; and Rachel Riggs, wellbeing leader at Maritz Global Events (who is currently on furlough); and Amy Calvert, EIC CEO, on the day results were announced to talk about the path forward.
“This vision is based on our fundamental belief in the power of the industry based on trust, community, equity and innovation,” said Calvert.” It aggregates and curates under one umbrella everything people needed when going through a time of transition.
One of the outcomes of the task force was an enhancement of EIC’s Career Centre with new job opportunities, including project work. This is also where those who are in the process of “pirouetting” to another role or career can find financial support and scholarships for the transition.
As the force behind the Certified Meeting Professional, CMP, and Sustainable Event Professional Certificate, career education has long been a focus for EIC. In addition to pointing to valuable webinars, courses and online events, this job hub now also points to designations for:
International Association of Exhibits & Events (IAEE’s CEM)
Meeting Professionals International (MPI’s CMM)
Professional Convention management Association (PCMA’s DES)
The document outlines the importance of reskilling and restarting. “Some people want to go to another level by getting a certification and adding tools to your toolbox,” White pointed out. Those certifications can help them do that. “When changing careers, courses and mentorships with people who are doing what you want to do can help.”
Five models are offered in the guide for educational investments that will get people where they want to be.
Another practical set of links is designed to help the newly unemployed navigate employment, insurance and the workforce development system. “A lot of people are just overwhelmed by amount of paperwork that needs to be done,” White said.
White explained the joining of the two “W”s as something that he quickly realized made sense through the process of creating the resource. Those who are affected either because they were laid off or having to manage an increased workload in an uncertain environment are struggling with enormous stress. “A lot of people are depressed and dealing with it in different ways,” he said. “We need to give them tools.”
“The challenges affect all dimensions of our lives—physical, social, financial, career and environmental,” said Riggs. Those all have to be balanced. “We need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of everyone else. That is a departure for us,” she said.
This document focuses on the whole person, Calvert explained. “This industry has long been concerned with creating meaningful experiences. Now we have to have honest and vulnerable conversations about what we are going through.”
“Sometimes our job is just to let people talk,” said Riggs.
The resources included draw from the best from all over the world, including EventWell, a UK-based company that is focused on supporting the emotional and mental health of individuals.
An Empowered Future
When faced with the possible loss of talent in the industry as a whole, White said veterans need to step up and create awareness that there are enormous benefits to careers in this industry. He called on everyone to mentor the next generation and share how many different paths there are—logistics, finance, HR, marketing. “We have to show the breadth of the industry. If we continue to do that, we won’t lose them,” he said.
“I am optimistic about our industry’s ability to move forward with innovation and empathy,” Calvert said.
Upcoming guides will cover transportation and destinations.
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