How To Rethink Your Approach To Event Staffing - Celeste Durve, VIPER

Welcome to How To Be A Host podcast, hosted by Charles Ewudo. The show features experts, veterans, movers, and shakers in the nightlife and hospitality worlds here to show you everything you need to know about hosting a party.

What does it take to recruit and retain top talent for your events in a rapidly changing environment? As Gen Zers are rethinking how they work and with the rise of the gig economy, nightlife and hospitality leaders need to adopt a different approach in their people operations strategy.

Joining us to talk about her story and building VIPER a leading hospitality agency that works with some of the biggest brands in hospitality and enterprise events is Celeste Durve. In this episode, our conversation revolved around the challenges of recruiting and retaining top talent in the nightlife and hospitality industry. Celeste found her success by focusing on building a strong network, creating better conditions for temporary staff, and prioritizing client needs.

Leadership starts at the top, they say “People don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses”. Having great leadership at the top that’s a key ingredient for employee retention. People want to follow great leaders and a part of the job is anticipating the needs and capacity of your team. “As a leader, we have to be realistic about what the other person wants as well and so for me, what I do is I set very maintainable expectations. And then when they exceed those expectations, if and when somebody is going above and beyond, then we have a conversation.” Celeste said.

We also discussed the relationship between work-life balance, Gen Z’s work preferences, and the shift towards temporary work and online content creation.

"Gen Z and Gen alpha, they have really decided that they prioritize work life balance, they don't necessarily follow this traditional college to corporate America path. A lot of them would rather do content and make some money on the internet, and then go be a barista or go pick up some temporary work."

Celeste emphasized how this shift comes off the heels of COVID and how COVID changed a lot of things around us. Also, they look at the current political system and the economy and everything, and they don’t have a ton of hope in the traditional system. Celeste identified the opportunity amid mass corporate layoffs and the rising need for temporary work for VIPER to provide the solution to bridging the gap when it comes to experiential activations. 

We also touch on other macro industry trends in nightlife in the shift from the need to create exclusivity around nightlife brands and marketing messaging to becoming much more inclusive. “When I built Viper, everybody wanted to be the most exclusive nightclub, the most exclusive party, the most exclusive that, this was like the buzzword of the time,” Celeste said.

Highlight: The way brands spend money and what they care about has changed so much in the event scene just because social media plays a really big role now. Brands are moving their marketing dollars towards more intimate experiences and influencers. Also, Celeste points out the full 180 shift in brand messaging with the increased need for inclusivity. “The messaging is like, we want you inside, we want to cater to you, we want you. So it’s completely different. It is the funniest thing.”

Explore the rising trends in temporary work among Gen Z and how you can navigate it in this episode. Check out more thought-provoking conversations on How to be a Host hub.

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