Staff management is one of the most basic, fundamental requirements of any successful business. And while, yes, it is something that some would say “is a given”; if it’s not handled properly, it can make or break you. So how exactly do you master the art of staff management? It starts with the simple things…
First off, you need to FIND the right people and get very, very good at it. Before you can start looking for these amazing people, you need to have a very clear idea of who you are looking for as much as what you are looking. for. Some of these qualities may include being a team player, a leader, someone who can plan ahead… it really depends on the position.
At Tigris, we conduct “talent recruitment” sessions every other month in Toronto and quarterly in most other markets. As a brand experience agency, we need to keep our client’s in mind. Who would they want representing them at their events? We need to consider the look of the candidates, their ability to articulate and engage a group, their reliability (so on, and so forth). What is on their resume is important but what they state doesn’t really matter, if we don’t have the confidence they would represent our clients and our company well at our events. We aren’t usually looking for a specific quantity of people from these sessions; we are trying to evaluate who is and isn’t a fit for our team.
Team work is a two way street. Part of our role is finding the right people. The other part of the picture is ensuring that these candidates also feel you are a fit for them. Give them as much information about the way YOU operate as possible. They should be able to understand what they can expect from working with you, how you operate and how you conduct business. You may not have the time to go into every intricacy, but part of successful staff management includes communicating the important facets of your business so you get off on the right foot.
Once you’ve found the right staff and they’ve agreed to begin into a working relationship with you, how you manage them will also impact how long you can retain them for. What is the best way to go about staff management at this point? It may very well come down to the systems you have in place.
Every business is different and how an experiential marketing agency operates is of course, different than a restaurant, a factory or many other companies. The basic principles still apply.
1) COMMUNICATION :: you never want to assume that your people understand everything you are trying to get them to do. Ensure your lines of communication are open and there are people available to answer their questions. Even once you’ve spoken with them, a good rule of thumb with successful staff management is firm, friendly reminders. For example, at Tigris, while we do confirm our staff to work, confirm receipt of schedules and training packages – we also send out reminders for their shifts, have a point of check in when they arrive and also send out follow up reminders. This may sound like alot but when you’re in the business of temporary staffing, these reminders are absolutely essential. People have alot on the go and you don’t want to assume you are their top priority.
2) ENCOURAGEMENT / INVOLVEMENT :: people work because they need to make money. But don’t you also want to give them the opportunity to work somewhere they love and motivate them to do the best they can and be the best they can because you offer a great culture and positive environment? Another facet of staff management is getting emotionally involved. If people care about their work and the people they work with, they will be happier, their performance will be better and it will be all around a better place to work.
3) MAKE YOUR TEAM BETTER THAN YOU :: there is a say, “what if we invest in our team and they leave? But, what if you invest in them and they don’t?” Of course, people come in go. That’s all part of staff management – dealing with the turn over. Regardless of whether they stay for 6 months or 6 years, you want to give them the skills and support to be the best they can be while they are with you. At Tigris, we are proud to say we have staff that have been on our roster literally since the beginning. More often than not, talent remains on our roster for several years at a time. In an industry such as ours, with typically high turn over, we feel this is a testament to the things we are doing right.
4) KEEP TRACK OF WHAT YOU DO AND SAY :: this may sound a little crazy but there is no better way to track your progress than to ensure you are documenting everything. At Tigris, we have a company manual to give our staff a good understanding of our company, policies and procedure. For every event and program, we provide detailed training packages so staff are adequately prepared. If they say “they didn’t know”. No – it’s not that they didn’t know, they didn’t read. There is a difference. Most communication pertaining to bookings is done by email so there is a paper trail to track availability, confirmations, training and more. And at the end of all of that, we also collect feedback from our team and put together comprehensive reports for our clients. Staff management is all encompassing from program planning to training to wrap up. Keeping track of all of this is the only way to make sure people are prepared properly and the job is done the way it’s supposed to be.
5) CELEBRATE :: let your team know when they’ve done a good job and when it’s appropriate give them bonuses and incentives. This could be a fun outing, an event or even a gift card. Anything to make them feel appreciated and rewarded. Celebrate great achievements, give praise, say thank you and take pride in big milestones. Find an excuse to reward your staff with a little something – a modest celebration for a result, no matter how small. You’ll find that you have motivated staff who have a habit of celebrating their successes – and that’s so important.
Staff management is an art and one that is supported by a system. Things can and will call through the cracks if you don’t have the right people – or if you aren’t managing those people properly. These are a few staff management tips we’ve found to be successful and hopefully they will help you manage your own teams. For more on Tigris’ staff management and event staffing resources, connect with us directly.