Ushering and protocol services is one of the fast-rising agencies in the events industry. This industry has risen out of the need for hostesses, ushers, stand in secretarial services amongst others and the demand for people who will be willing to serve and assist clients’ needs.
It also helps bring relaxation to people who plan events, to sit back, rest and enjoy programs while others do the work for a minimal fee.
Although the industry is open to both sexes, it is mostly dominated by females. Just like any female-dominated industry, ushering and protocol agencies face a lot of difficulties and setbacks from both event organisers and clients.
One of the major setbacks for ushering agencies is unplanned work schedules. In Ghana, most event organizers and individuals seek the help of family members, friends or sometimes randomly pick for people who will serve at their events. This mostly ends in disaster as such people are not professional or trained to handle such businesses. Event organizers and planners hardly plan for ushering services in their programs. Mostly it becomes an afterthought hence making it an impromptu call for ushering and protocol agencies. This leaves little or no time for such agencies to gather their workers, plan, brief and prepare them for the program. This is because of the perception that ushering services are just something meagre which doesn’t need planning and hence can be called upon anytime. This notion is totally wrong. Event planners and clients must learn to plan ahead for ushering services in their programs as they would help managers of these agencies pick the right skills to suit their needs.
Another major problem of ushering agencies is the objectification of females in this industry. Most often clients do not consider the skills these ladies have to offer and give out certain specifications which do not have any relation with the work required. You would have most clients asking for fair girls, a particular body type or specifications for their programs. It can be noticed that the ushering and protocol agency has somehow been tagged as a pimping agency which is far from right.
Another issue is with the sexual harassment some of these young ladies go through in the hands of clients. Most clients try to make passes at these young ladies who are only trying to make a living. Some even, thinking that most of these ladies are unemployed, pressure them with sexual relationships with the promise of securing them better jobs. This has become a menace which needs to be uprooted as it destroys the image of ushering services across the country and internationally.
The unfair treatment of some of these young ladies who also want to render their services to event organizers and clients cannot be overlooked. Most of these ladies in ushering agencies if not all use these services as a means of partial employment to survive. However some clients try to take advantage of them knowing very well their situation. There have been instances where ladies are called to offer their services at programs only for them to get to the location and be told they are not fit for that position without any professional reason. These ladies who are trying to make ends meet spend money on transportation to long distant places only to be turned down by their clients. This leaves them heartbroken and devastated.
Now, it is in the right direction that clients and event planners try to allocate a fund for these ladies even when they are not picked for their roles. This would at least cover the expenses these ladies would have incurred to get to their locations without leaving them drained.
These are but a few of the difficulties ushers and ushering agencies in Ghana go through everyday. It is high time event planners and individual clients decide to do right by this industry. They must respect the fact that ushering and protocol agencies are there to help minimise the stress they go through in their event planning and coordinating. It relieves them of the burden of having to deal with large crowds and hefty tasks by themselves hence such respect should be accorded to them.
Agencies who deal with ushering and protocol services must also try to train their workers to help them be more professional in their tasks. They must be bounded with rules and regulations to help curb, particularly, the issues of sexual harassment.
Ushers in general also have to keep in mind that the ushering and protocol services they seek to render is a professional one. They must be ready and trained to cope with the difficulties that comes with it. They must also be encouraged to talk about their experiences with clients which didn’t go down well with them so that they can be resolved amicably. They must put in mind that the job like every professional job is a calling of dedication. They must possess qualities such as tolerance, patience, good communication skills, amongst others to help them deal with clients and produce perfect services.
Lastly, ushers must know that the job comes with a lot of benefits which might not be necessarily monetary but opens them up to a wide range of networks and opportunities if done properly.
This is therefore a call for event planners and organizers, individual clients and ushering and protocol agencies to work hand-in-hand to raise the face of the event industry in Ghana.