As the sun rises on September and after a summer like no other for many, it’s time to get back to business. PLASA in London is leading the way, opening its doors to real people, live spaces, and plenty of new products on Sunday 5th September, alongside the ABTT theatre show which co-locates with PLASA this year for the first time.

This will be the first opportunity for most of us to meet face to face, share stories, many likely very personal, as well as having the desperately needed opportunity to engage and talk business with more than just a screen to interact with. The Interfacio team will be there and it’s hard not to taste the excitement that is already building to get back to a show to do what we do. Meet, learn, and talk about how we can help businesses thrive by finding the right new talent for their teams.

Back To The Future

For anyone who attended the last PLASA London in 2019 few will have missed the memorable show put on by this year’s headline sponsor Robe, with the classic DeLorean centre stage. Their stunning Back to the Future main stage event caught everyone’s attention, and two years later the dichotomy of that premise – going back to the future – couldn’t be more of an apt metaphor. Business needs to get back to how it was, whilst embracing new paradigms of interaction and engagement, which will almost certainly be a blend of the best of what we all know and love with the in person, and often informal business events, together with new digital presentations, and virtual or and online meetings and wider interactions. It’s an exciting prospect, and we will be looking carefully at how these models come together or are being explored by exhibitors as well as PLASA during the three days at Olympia.

New Stuff

With all the talk of safety, insurance, travel restrictions and mental health, it’s easy to forget that what drives the industry we all know and love is innovation as well as music and entertainment. Throughout the pandemic, R&D teams have been hard at work and a host of new products are anticipated to make their debut at PLASA. Lighting brands Chauvet, ETC, GLP, SGM and of course ROBE will be there alongside audio vendors Shure, Sennheiser, Yamaha, L-Acoustics and d&b with their own dedicated Soundscape immersive audio theatre. Expect a lot of interest, and perhaps a higher than usual level of excitement, as visitors and exhibitors, LDs and sound engineers, distributors and integrators, get back to being ‘hands on’. It’s not so long ago that we can remember the recurring lament about ‘too many tradeshows’, and with new marketing channels having been pioneered and refined in recent times, it will be interesting to see how the physical showing of new products combined with people meeting in person can capture and engage again, and what the outcomes will be for business.

Back To The Bar

Inevitably, there is one place that is guaranteed to pull a crowd, and it wouldn’t be PLASA without a packed and lively bar. But in an industry fueled by passion and emotion, for performance and art, as well as technology and innovation, relationships still count for a great deal. Virtual meetings for many have long since lost their novelty and may have also started to show their limitations. Hopefully there will be plenty of room and opportunities to catch up with friends as well as customers or suppliers that have only been names in an inbox or faces on a screen for so long.

Look and learn

Alongside the new products, and if you can tear yourself away from the bar, there will be plenty of opportunities to learn with technical training sessions from Chamsys, Vectorworks, MagicQ, Pioneer and Denon as well as a feature session by Dan Murfin from the National Theatre hosted by ETC.

#WeMakeEvents, the now globally recognised campaign supporting all those individuals and business delivering live events, which was originally spearheaded by PLASA, will be there in force with their own #WeMakeEvents stage and meeting hub and there will also be the return of the now well established PLASA innovation awards for new products taking place on Monday evening.

Talking Talent

Inevitably, some of these conversations will eventually lead to discussions about recruitment. Businesses and managers focusing on the route back to where they were and beyond, or looking at a whole new mission and idea that is being developed. The need will likely be for newly identified and critical skills that are needed to compete or innovate in the face of new market dynamics alongside more than a little continuing uncertainty, whether in sales, engineering, customer service or marketing. It may be that new approaches are needed, and whole business cultures and processes are likely to have shifted. We are already seeing this and recruitment in this time of rapid and significant change is challenging, especially when happening at a time of significant wider global and socio economic turmoil. Natural human instincts for progress, exploration, self-development and challenge are being tempered by recent experiences and potential anxiety, and there is a caution as well as a tendency to stick with what is known and safe.

It has been widely reported across the wider global and technology industry and critical skills are in high demand and we have been seeing this play out through the first part of this year. Businesses that have been hiring – and mostly this has been in research and development as well as in sales or marketing in some cases – have come up against surprising difficulties. An assumption that it ought to be easy to recruit when so many people must have become available during the early stages of the pandemic has been met with the reality that much of that talent has been absorbed into businesses that have continued to thrive or who have been able to successfully pivot. Good staff are recognised as valuable and companies have generally done amazing things to maintain engagement and motivation within their teams. And businesses need to show clarity of purpose, vision and focus to encourage the best talent to come on board.

When it comes to building teams around critical new capabilities within a business that is going through great change, it is now more important than ever that culture, business process, and relationships all align and for the recruitment process, there needs to be a joined up approach, ensuring that the dialog is managed and maintained from the initial creation of a role, through the promotion or search into selection, negotiation and eventual onboarding. At any one of these stages, the process can break down and fail and now more than even it is worth investing thought and effort to make sure that this doesn’t happen.

People Make Businesses

This has always been true but now more than ever is the time businesses and hiring teams to recognise this. Employers must engage with and support everyone as best as they can, and recruitment needs to reflect and appreciate the human dynamics and drivers behind what motivates someone to move and to stay. The reason we do what we do is that we love engaging with people and companies to help find the right collaborations and culture fits to enable businesses and individuals to grow. We’ll be at PLASA next week and will be happy to grab a few minutes over a coffee, or perhaps even a slice of pizza, to hear about how you have been managing through recent times and about your plans and the challenges that lie ahead.

Bring on the show! We hope to see many of you there.

If you’d like to meet either, Isabelle, Jo or Richard during the show, please email or call 020 8986 5002, or you can use their individual contact details below:

Isabelle Wear, Director
Business Recruitment, Europe
t. +44 20 8986 5002
C. +44 7852878997

Jo Hutchins, Consultant
Research & Development Engineering
t. +44 20 8986 5002
C. +44 7909 608654

Richard Wear, Founder
Global Commercial & Management
t. +44 20 8986 5002
C. +44 7720 886114