This post was written by Jennifer Taylor. Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui.
Last month, we discussed the importance of having policies and procedures set in place to help streamline your business processes and guarantee that all team members are on the same page. Having a strong foundation is key to building a well-trained staff, which can be invaluable when looking to expand your company.
Not only does a well-trained staff bring a consistently positive client experience, but they’ll also be privy to the company’s roadmap for the future. Although wedding planning involves a number of moving pieces, laying out expectations in advance can provide a structure to support the ever-changing atmosphere of the industry.
One of the very best ways to train your staff is to take them on as interns from the get-go, rather than hiring them on as employees right away. This allows each of you to go through a trial period – while you evaluate their performance and determine if they’re a fit for your brand, they also have the opportunity to decide if your company is best suited for them. View this as a teaching period – provide them with lessons and gauge how well they learn. Be sure to get feedback from clients during the event, as they may have the best idea of how helpful the interns were.
Once hired, it’s crucial to continue empowering your employees and providing them with an atmosphere that fosters their creativity and their independence. You should have systems in place that allows them to work on their own, but you’ll still want to check in consistently to ensure that they’re working and producing the best work possible. Give them the tools to succeed, but let your team evolve based upon their own planning preferences. Everybody operates differently, so it’s especially important to value each and every person for what they bring to the table.
We provide supplemental training guides in the way of onboarding handbooks and training sessions with ourselves and with our trusted vendors. This gives them a bit of hands-on experience before truly putting them to the test and they appreciate the chance to learn from those they will be working with later down the line.
That being said, there’s nothing wrong with throwing them in the mix early on – the hope is that, if you’ve properly qualified them, they will rise to the occasion and get to work. In fact, this is the best way for them to learn how to think on their feet. Much of event planning is about quick thinking, so what better way to challenge them than to toss them in headfirst? Keep in mind that they will make mistakes – in fact, you may even want to remind them that they will mess up along the way. Rather than damaging their ego, encourage them to keep learning and share with them moments in which you’ve failed along the way. Nobody is perfect and, unless we accept our failures and learn from them, we’ll never grow and develop.
As the wedding industry is constantly evolving, allow your training to evolve along with it. Trends come and go and couples want different things – the fluidity of this industry requires both you and your staff to be flexible when it comes to teaching moments. For this reason, it’s imperative to get feedback from your employees to determine if you’re being the very best coach that you can be. Remember – a working relationship is a dialogue, so while you may be doing most of the teaching, keep your ears open to hear questions and concerns from your team.
Always be mindful that the efforts you put into training your staff will reflect in the way your clients are treated, so ensure that everyone is educated within the standards of your brand. Bringing on new members of your team can be an exciting and rewarding experience, as long as you take the time to properly introduce them to your company and its procedures. So, what are you waiting for?