In our previous posts, we talked about Building Your Team and Interviewing and Choosing Your Team. Today, we are sharing tips for training and managing your team including employees, assistants and contractors. The most important part of building your team – be patient. Building a successful team takes time and training.
Here are tips for training and managing your event planning team:
Orientation and Introductions – As a business owner, it’s your job to make new hires feel welcomed and valued. Start with making introductions to the rest of your team (if applicable) and to the vendors and suppliers you work with most. Invite your new team member to networking events and industry parties. Training and introductions take time but they are a valuable investment in the growth and development of your business.
Employee Handbook, Operations and Guidelines – If you have not created a company handbook yet, this might be a good time to start. It can be as simple as a page or two that outlines these basics:
- Your philosophy about clients and about your business (explanation of your business tag line, mission statement, what you stand for, your brand)
- The type and quantity of communication you expect (email vs. phone, every day vs. once per week, etc)
- General rules for your business (no drinking at client events, don’t talk badly about clients, etc)
- How to dress for client meetings and for events
- Where and when your staff will work (location, hours, etc)
- How to submit hours, what is the pay rate and when are pay dates
- Who pays for mileage or travel for meetings and events
- Appropriate ways to communicate and interact with clients and vendors (always respectful, prompt return emails, etc)
- Social media rules and regulations (your team represents your business with every tweet, pin and status update)
- Who is in charge at events (should they make decisions or always ask you first?)
- Open door policy (do you encourage your team to always come to you with questions?)
Job Training – Will your new hire spend time shadowing you? If so, for how long or for how many events? Refer back to your written job description to create a list of all the tasks you will provide training for then create a plan for how you are going to teach these job skills. Keep in mind that every person who works for you will require a different type of training. If you are hiring for an event day assistant, there won’t be nearly as much training as if you are hiring a lead event planner who will be working directly with clients. Do as much training as you need until you feel completely comfortable. It may be a few weeks or it could be a few years before you trust this person to represent your company, your reputation and your brand.
Evaluations – Will you have a set date when you will evaluate and provide feedback to your new team member? After 30, 60 or 90 days, it is important to discuss your observations and expectations as well as learn what your new hire needs to grow and learn. It’s also important to evaluate your training process and what YOU learned during their first few months on the job. Scheduling regular evaluations will determine if your current staff is meeting your business needs and future goals. You have to be able to let someone go if he or she isn’t doing their job or if your employee isn’t the best fit for your current business strategy.
Backup Plan – What happens if someone unexpectedly quits? What will you do if one of your staff leaves and they still have events on the books? Can you handle those events yourself? Do you have other staff who can handle them? Or would you need to break the contract with the clients which could risk your reputation? Have a solid back-up plan in place so you know how to handle these situations BEFORE they happen.
What have you learned from growing and building your team that could help other planners? Please share your advice and experience in the comments.