(Editor's note: Today's post was submitted by the talented Brit Bertino, event planner extraordinaire and creator of The Totty Belt. Learn more about Brit at the end of the post!)
Do you ever find yourself spinning in circles after training the perfect go-getting leader, only to find out they no longer feel passion for the event industry? Or perhaps it’s the very-talented employee who, thanks to your guidance, feels ready to go off and start his or her own venture. As business owners, it’s inevitable to face these struggles at some point and it’s important to find ways to avoid it, as well as ways to cope with it.
Along the way, I’ve learned that you have to learn how each member works, as well as what their ticking points are, if you want to keep your perfect team. Some are motivated by money, others by an ideal schedule, and some just want to be acknowledged. Perhaps, it’s even a combination of all of the above. So how exactly do you assemble a devoted team?
When seeking additional help in the office, our first step is typically to begin by interviewing hospitality-related students, specifically those in the wedding industry. Of those, I pick a selected handful to partake in a 1,000-hour working internship. Yes, they get paid and yes, it is still an internship. This provides a look at each candidate’s work style and, with that, you’ll have a better understanding if they are a good match for you, the company and the rest of the loyal team. At the same time, it allows for the interns to decide if a position with your company is what he or she had envisioned.
As you know, the wedding business is much more than just pretty flowers and dresses. A 1,000-hour internship allows candidates to experience the nitty-gritty of production. After the internship is completed, you should feel comfortable bringing them on as employees. Trust me – a lot can happen within 1,000 hours! Be prepared to see a lot of blood, sweat, and tears during this time, but you’ll have the chance to really observe if a candidate is going to be a loyal team member for life!
After the new employee paperwork is completed, it’s time to discuss schedules. Ask about their dream schedule and build a schedule from that. I know what you are thinking – why do the employees get to set their schedules? We have working mothers in the office, as well as part-time employees and contracted workers, so it’s important to provide them with some flexibility.
From the get go, we only choose self-motivators, so I trust that they’ll get the job done during their scheduled times. It also allows for employees to come in at different times, which keeps the “office politics” to a minimum – and we all know how that can tear your dream team apart. Still, we do set a mandatory time when everyone must be in the office for re-grouping. Every Monday, we get together for a team meeting to go over files and do some creative brainstorming.
Each employee gets a normal pay schedule, in addition to an aggressive commission structure based off of services that they close. I believe that this is what motivates them on a month-to-month basis, as they see the additional commissions they earned for the month. All employees seek recognition for accomplishments; however, this can come in many different forms. It could be as simple as saying, “Great job, you are working so hard and it’s paying off.” Lunch dates and fun out-of-the-office days are other methods we use to show employee appreciation.
By allowing employees to set monthly goals, they are held accountable for their actions. If you feel that their goals are too obtainable or not realistic enough, it’s your job as their mentor/manager/boss to help set them up ideal goals to keep them motivated and excited.
Now, as I share the things that work for us, understand that it may not apply to everyone but I would encourage you to look for takeaways that you can use to better your company’s culture. Then, it’s a matter of rolling up your sleeves, and start creating the event team of your dreams.
Brit Bertino is the award-winning owner of Brit Bertino, Event Excellence as well as Simply Weddings by Brit Bertino and The Totty Belt. A recognized leader, speaker and teacher, Brit recently launched her mentorship program and enjoys assisting wedding professionals on their path to success.