Spark Arena and blended workforces

Spark Arena

The Situation

Spark Arena, one of Auckland’s biggest multipurpose arenas, is a pioneer in the human resources landscape, and have transformed the way they source, hire and manage their entire arena workforce.

In mid-2016, Spark had a problem that they were determined to solve. Given the sporadic nature of the events industry, they were churning through casual workers quickly and frequently, negatively impacting their business in the following ways:


Poorly allocated time and cost: Traditional recruitment was expensive and time-consuming, and the return on staff investment was insufficient given the short tenure of employees.

Loss of productivity: It takes an average of 3 months for employees to reach full productivity, thus Spark’s workforce was functioning almost constantly under-capacity given the high turnover rates (averaged 30-40% new staff per shift).

High churn: Due to the inconsistent work, casual employees were becoming disengaged, and churning quickly seeking more regular hours.


The Solution: Phase 1

Attracted to the transparent nature and ease-of-use of Sidekicker, as well as the fact only 15% of applicants make it through the screening process, Spark Arena started tapping into Sidekicker’s marketplace of skilled hospitality workers.


“Sidekicker makes staffing easier and faster than anything we’ve ever used before and significantly reduces time spent on recruitment.

I can post a request for staff–whether I need 5 or 200–at the click of a button, and select my Sidekicks based on experience and ratings, or if they’ve worked with us in the past, making hiring the right people simple,” says Ben George, Spark Arena’s Staffing Coordinator.


The Solution: Phase 2

Having increasingly turned to Sidekicker for sourcing and hiring their casual staff (going from 163 shifts in Q4 2016 to 330 in Q2 2017), Spark Arena saw an opportunity to transform the way they managed their entire casual workforce–turning their blended workforce into their only workforce.

Spark Arena made the transition to Sidekicker’s ‘Workforce Management’ platform in July 2017, moving their entire casual workforce onto the platform at no cost, and has since used Sidekicker to:


– Centrally manage all aspects of their staffing in one place online–hiring, rostering, communications, payment, etc.
– Move from only 60-70% repeat staff per shift (i.e. people who had worked at Spark Arena before) to current average of 95% repeat staff.
– Give their casual staff access to a fully mobile tech platform that provides them a fast and easy way to accept work, submit timesheets and manage their schedule- via the Sidekicker employee app.
– Promote and upskill Sidekicks into supervisory and management positions, using Sidekicker’s Talent Pools feature to efficiently organise their workforce and have the right people at all shifts.
– Create a culture of high performance–Sidekicker’s transparent platform with 2-way ratings and reviews means that Sidekicks are motivated to work hard (Sidekicks who don’t show up or have a less than 3 star rating are removed), and ensure management staff are providing an exceptional employee experience.


Recognising emerging trends, Spark Arena has been a leader in adapting their HR strategies to stay ahead, leveraging technology to better manage and engage their casual workforce.

In migrating their casual workforce onto Sidekicker, Spark Arena as effectively created a true ‘blended workforce’–whether originally employed by Spark or Sidekicker, Spark’s casual workers are all purposefully considered ‘part of the same team’–given access to the same training, paid the same rates, and invited to the same team events–breaking down barriers and fostering a culture of inclusivity, collaboration and teamwork.


“Sidekicker is by far the simplest, fastest and most cost-effective way to not only source and hire casuals, but to manage all aspects of our casual staffing–from rostering and comms to payroll–as it eliminates much of the paperwork and streamlines everything into one easy to use online platform.” – Ben George, Staffing Coordinator, Spark Arena.