ATG (Ambassador Theatre Group)
ATG was founded in 1992 and has become the world’s number one live-theatre company today. ATG operates over 50 venues in the UK, US and Germany (theatre, music and cinemas), as well as operating ticketing platforms and producing shows. In the UK, ATG works with producers to fill its 30 UK venues with over 10,000 performances every year. It issues more than 11 million tickets annually and runs the UK’s biggest theatre-ticketing website.
Before ATG began working with Crown, all rosters were done on an Excel spreadsheet and payroll was also paper-based. Tamsin McDowell, HR Systems Partner at ATG, explains:
“Venues were functioning fine but as a central, head office resource, we had no access to any of the time and attendance information so had no oversight of what staff were doing in the venues and the associated costs. In addition, payroll had become very time-consuming. We needed something more effective and more efficient, and that allowed us oversight of all sites so we could measure and compare sites to establish best practice and address any issues efficiently. The added advantage was that we would be able to give show producers more accurate venue costs ahead of time.”
ATG and Crown worked together as a very close team to roll out the system first to a pilot venue then more widely once teething issues were resolved. ATG ensured each venue had someone there who fully understood the system, had seen it rolled out elsewhere and could answer all questions from staff. Peter Fry was one of those unlucky people who used to spend six hours every Monday inputting the timesheets. Though the company has continued to grow, this process now takes just two hours. He adds:
“The system can easily cope with the very complex staffing that can sometimes take place – for example, we might have people in London working at two or three venues in a day and doing different jobs in each. Now we can know exactly where they are and what they are doing. This not only improves our oversight but ensures staff get paid accurately and promptly when working away from their ‘home’ venue.
“The system proactively picks up on any anomalies regarding payment so we can address it, and it copes with the range of salaried permanent and temporary, full and part time, casual and zero-hours staff all working variable hours.” ATG have also found that the system clarifies the chain of accountability too, aiding transparency regarding management and the fulfilment of roles.
“You do have to invest some time at the start but it’s worth doing because once you’re set up, you’re flying.
“Crown have been heavily involved all the way through. They have a caring attitude to their customers as well as a high level of technical expertise and a healthy attitude to questions, always being willing to learn themselves too.”