June 2024 Party in the Back Podcast

For the June 2024 Party in the Back Podcast we were sent to HR! Human Resources guru Dawn Ellery joins the Party to discuss ways to engage and retain your valued game night staff. Plus Dawn shares some dirty little HR secrets.

For the June 20204 Podcast we make the unusual decision to party in the HR Office.  This month our guest is HR expert Dawn Ellery.  Dawn has 25 years experience developing and engaging employees.  While a trip to HR can sometimes mean you’re in hot water (at least that’s my experience, ha), this visit is an insightful delight.

Dawn walks us through the value of part-time and game night employees.  We talk about ways to better their experience, so they are dialed in, engaged and stay with you for the long term.

After conversations with many game directors we have heard a lot of time and energy is spent managing these important part-time employees.  We dig into ways you can make them feel valuable to help retain your productive crew year after year. 

We discuss effective tools for showing your appreciation, like this example from the Timberwolves.  Each month the Wolves honor game night employees at center court with this moment to affirm their value to the team. Dawn shares a few ways to connect with this staff, smooth over issues and engage them to better your game presentation.  

Thanks for listening and sharing the podcast. Check the related links below for more from this month’s podcast.  This is the Five Year Anniversary of our rebrand to the Party in the Back Podcast.

Related Links

  • Last Month on the Podcast:’s Ben Hill and Author Rob Wicall join host Jon Cudo for the May 2024 Podcast. Public Domain Night, World Mascot Hugging Records and Cleveland’s Balloon Fest highlight Ben’s look at the most anticipated promotions of 2024. Then Wicall helps break down a new mascot trend and why it can be so impactful.
  • One Year Ago on the Party in the Back Podcast: explains the best way to escape the Press Box when angry Umpires are trying to eject you.
  • Five Years Ago on The Podcast: June 2019 Party in the Back Podcast. We launch the rebranded podcast with Rob Wicall, Chris Grosse and Martie Cordaro.
  • LinkedIn – Dawn Ellery, CEBS: Dirty little secrets of employee engagement in the workplace. HR Consultant | Mental Health Advocate | Speaker & Author on Employee Engagement

Featured on the Podcast:

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The Party in the Back Podcast:  If Sports Marketing was a mullet hairdo this podcast covers ‘The Party in the Back‘. We’ll let someone else do the data, analytics, spreadsheets and budgets… We’re talking about the FUN: In-game contests, theme nights, mascots, dancers, social media, atmosphere and giveaways. Join us at the Party in the Back for our monthly discussion with industry leaders on the fun side of Sports Marketing.

Time Codes

Challenges of managing part-time staff @ 4:20
Jon explains that in his conversations with game directors, he has found they spend a significant amount of time focused on managing and retaining their part-time and seasonal staff, such as mascots, game crews, and other event staff. He notes this is an area of game operations that is often overlooked.

Importance of manager-employee relationships @ 7:00
Dawn emphasizes that the relationship between managers and their direct reports is the key driver of employee engagement, especially for part-time and hourly workers who have less autonomy. She stresses the need to focus on supporting and developing managers first, as they set the tone for the rest of the team.

Strategies for engaging part-time staff @ 13:30
Dawn provides several suggestions for engaging part-time and seasonal employees, including: recognizing and thanking them, providing learning and growth opportunities, understanding their personal goals and interests outside of work, and addressing any underlying issues or challenges they may be facing.

Justifying investments in employee engagement @ 28:20
Dawn advises that while it can be difficult to quantify the value of employee engagement initiatives, it’s important to make a compelling business case to leadership by highlighting the benefits to customers, culture, and overall organizational performance. She suggests gathering feedback from the most difficult or vocal employees to understand their needs.

Dawn’s background and book @ 33:00
Dawn shares details about her background, including her previous experience as an entrepreneur in the intimacy and relationships space, and her upcoming book “Dirty Little HR Secrets”.

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October 2023 Party in the Back Podcasts

Red Wings GM Dan Mason talks about the team’s outstanding Deaf Culture Night, plus Simon Sez Impresario Steve Max quickly eliminates Host Jon Cudo on the October edition of the podcast.