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Technology can have an impact; from recruitment right through to building your dream event team. It can help you make the right staffing choices, train them effectively and encourage retention and efficiency.
Empowering your team with technology can enable them in many ways. Here are some ideas to select the right candidates and to make your team more connected, more able to be proactive and happier at work.
Recruitment in the Digital Age
It is a well known reality in this and any business that recruitment is easiest when you have satisfied, engaged employees. They want their friends to work there – the friends with the skills and attitude that will allow them to succeed while making them look good for the recommendation!
We are using LinkedIn to search for jobs and recruits, and tools such as GlassDoor allow employees to rate their workplaces and are a place we look when job-hunting to determine if there will be a fit. There are numerous other platforms (ie Lever) which allow employers to track job openings, applicants and the process of hiring, especially helpful during a growth phase or for organizations which hire a mix of full time and contract-as-needed staff.
These available technologies will allow you to keep track of your progress and make the best choices as you build your team, particularly when you have ongoing and variable needs and can’t be one individual making all the decisions.
Who You Know Matters
We know our social media channels, in particular LinkedIn will be reviewed during a job search process and it works both ways. I often receive messages from those hiring people in my network (who have not listed me as a reference) to see if I would offer any opinions - and I am certainly not alone in this happening. In this age of digital we will always return to a personal recommendation from someone we trust as carrying the highest weight.
Training through Technology
You can train a job but you can’t train an attitude. We have all heard this and most of us have experienced it. Being an event professional is recognized in the Top 5 or 6 of the world’s most stressful jobs and it is the personality, the attitude that together we can overcome which will win every time. To accomplish the many tasks required is a combination of training and experience gained over time and projects, and which can now be easily augmented with the digital tools in hand on a regular basis.
The most successful training we are seeing now includes a combination of
- In-person leadership review of your role and the associated expectations;
- gamified training of basic company knowledge and tasks with
- clear rules of engagement,
- scoring with corrections/opportunities to relearn,
- informational feedback loop;
- peer training potentially including shadowing specific functions before trying them on your own can be done live, by video, or even through VR;
- a reasonable period of training specific to the job with clear evaluation tool(s) which may use a tech based system such as mobile Q&A which tests employees on knowledge retained from a previous training once they are in the field.
The digital model, or e-learning, builds upon what we now see in so many secondary and post-secondary schools and includes a combination of group work, individual projects, classroom and online learning all merging to provide the knowledge base for graduation, a certification, diploma or degree. What once seemed leading edge is now de rigueur, the norm for learning.
Mobile learning is being used widely on six continents, and is an excellent way to share knowledge among global teams whose access will vary. When we get into more specialized types of training, for example medicine, there are now numerous tools using VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) for training. If we can do this for surgeries, we can certainly do this for meeting professionals!
Technology and Staff Retention
Use technology as you would for any great reward program to track accomplishments from sales earned to service commendations, shout-outs from other team members or clients, positive responses to difficult situations, and other metrics that make sense for your business.
You might choose to have a closed system where managers or directors can see the results and provide direct as well as public recognition or you might choose to have an open or managed leaderboard system that lets everyone track progress. You might offer rewards ranging from small gift certificates or merchandise right up to incentive travel rewards – basically designing an internal recognition program much as you would be helping your clients initiate and manage their own programs.
Organizational research shows that when employees receive recognition and feedback they are 99% more likely to be engaged at work, more productive and more satisfied with their jobs. While f2f feedback is ideal, there are many formats that work in this digital realm and all should be considered to select the most timely and appropriate.
Having technology that works is vital. From hardware to software, WiFi to communication tools including laptops, tablets and smartphones – there is nothing more frustrating than when a system is down, or you don’t have the tools you need to do the job. If you are responsible for technology and are in the process of implementation be up-front with your team about the anticipated experience to come, the investment you are making to support them, and the timeline you anticipate, including any training on new systems.
Retention of great staff is a critical function of any business. When you provide a workspace where your talent feels treated fairly, is adequately compensated and enjoys the work they do, they stay. Perhaps not forever, but until often a life change causes them to move on.
High performance teams are nice to each other. This is a simple fact borne out by research, and there are many ways to show that “nice” through authentic, transparent support using face-to- face interactions, team-facing recognition, and now of course, technology.
Technology to Increase Staff Efficiency
In the age where 24/7 responses are often still the norm, articles, sessions and discussions on work-life balance are not always heeded. Today, when requests for fly-through visuals of what an event will look like are common and with global travel a part of many event professional’s routines, being digitally enabled is simply a requirement for doing business.
Limiting the Overwhelming Email
We live in an age where we spend hours every day with a laptop, tablet or mobile phone at our fingertips – as noted, often mobile. Think about communication beyond email and find tools that easily enable us to streamline this within teams.
There are several excellent project management tools that allow you to bring in any amount of team members to one platform for sharing discussions, ideas, and products – video, print, etc. – which require approvals or comments or requires others on the team to contribute or to be informed. Forget the “reply all” and move into one platform where all the information is literally at your fingertips, is archived in ONE place for accurate history and brings your team members into the new era of sharing.
Do you think your team won’t buy into sharing in this new way? They won’t unless you lead from the top and remain consistent with driving all team content to the platform of choice. In the past six months I have seen so many successes in three different organizations. I can only suggest – try it. It will change your life – or at least reduce your email significantly.
The world has changed exponentially in the recent past - let’s say the last decade - in terms of managing and developing a team. To enable true collaboration, allowing for the ongoing innovation and extensive communication required is now an anticipated norm.
For some organizations It requires a shift in thinking and an investment in resources. With some planning, the payoffs can be significant as your team is more engaged, and information easily shared, which makes them naturally more cohesive. The end game is this will create stronger events, and this will resonate with your clients.