One of the challenges of the event rental industry, is that many businesses rely heavily on part-time and seasonal employees. Because these folks aren’t working for your rental business full-time, they may feel less engaged with the business, be less informed about procedures, and generally lack motivation to be top performers. This is bad for business, as it can lead to errors in the warehouse, poor customer service from delivery crew, and even damage your business’ reputation.
However, party rental business owners have the power to turn these downfalls around! Here are a few tips to make all your employees. part-time and full-time alike, engaged, motivated, and top-notch!
1) Treat Everyone Like Full-time Staff
While you might not be able to give your part-time staff all the perks of full-time employees, such as higher salaries or benefits, you can make them feel just as highly respected.
For starters, make sure everyone on your team knows everyone’s name. Can you imagine walking into work each day and having people say “hey you”? Just because someone is only in your shop a few hours per week doesn’t mean that they aren’t an integral piece of your business operations. Do whatever it takes (flashcards, name tags, etc) to make sure everyone is greeted and addressed properly on the job.
Does your full-time team have any traditions? A company picnic, holiday party, or monthly happy hour? Be sure to include your part-time staff to make sure they know they’re equally appreciated. Plus, it allows everyone to enjoy each other on a personal level.
Remember, if an employee doesn’t feel respected, it’s a pretty tough ask to expect them to respect you and your business.
2) Engage Your Team in the Business Goals
In addition to inviting your part-time staff to the company picnic, consider inviting them to any monthly meetings. One of the biggest mistakes company leaders make with both part-time and full-time employees, is leaving them out of the loop. This creates problems for two big reasons:
First, they need to understand the bigger goal in order to appreciate the importance of their tasks. Imagine if you told a kid to stand in a field and put his or her hands up whenever they saw a ball. They’d be bored, sit down, and give up. Now imagine if you told them there was a soccer game and the entire other team’s focus was getting that ball in the net behind them so they must be on guard to block the ball at all times. Seeing the big picture and understanding why you matter is a very important part of motivating a team.
Second, acting as if your staff doesn’t have the right or need to know about the larger business draws a line in the sand, creating a sense of opposite teams. “The Boss” v. “The Employee” is an old mentality that creates tension and apathy. Instead, by incorporating your team as much as possible (you don’t necessarily have to share exact dollar amounts) you create a sense of “Us” v. “The World”. Don’t you want your staff on your team?
3) Provide Proper Resources For Success
How many times have you heard your employees make an excuse? “I didn’t know the client changed the time” “I didn’t see that note from you” “I swear I set it up the way you told me to.”
Why not eliminate excuses by giving your employees the tools they need to succeed? This includes actual tools, like smart software, and the tools of clear processes & ample knowledge.
Rather than tell your crew, “Grab the pullsheet, fill it up, drop the job”, why not tell them “Grab the pullsheet, follow the directions in the google maps link from the project, double check for any new messages from the client when you arrive, follow the detailed instructions I sent, and take a photo of the setup and upload to the project?”
Have you ever heard the phrase “Knowledge is power”? If your crew doesn’t have access to the client’s notes, the most recent pullsheet, or a copy of the layout that you downloaded from the client, can you really expect them to succeed? Knowledge is one of the best resources you can provide your team to empower them to perform like superstars. You also eliminate the opportunities for excuses, making it easier to identify when there actually is a legitimate excuse from a potentially strong employee.
4) Offer Promotions
Graduating from part-time to full-time doesn’t have to be the only route to a promotion! Consider having different tiers of responsibility and compensation amongst your drivers, installers, or other part-time staff.
There are also other perks you can offer as people move up in the ranks besides compensation. A bump in title may seem insignificant, but it’ll look good on your employee’s resume to show they progressed in their role. You can also offer first dibs for scheduling so that your best teammates can get the most hours or the easiest hours (depending on what they desire). Finally, consider giving them more authority amongst their peers. Not only are they likely the best to emulate what success in the role looks like, but this helps you delegate responsibilities to further free up your own time.
5) Celebrate Small Successes
You can’t constantly promote folks, but you can offer ample praise. Nobody likes a boss who only says something when you make a mistake, so be sure to take as many opportunities as possible to congratulate and encourage your team. Share positive feedback from clients, make a note when an employee regularly arrives on time, and bring in donuts after a particularly harried weekend. Everyone loves to feel appreciated. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating this small, but mighty tool in championing success among your staff.
Of course, one of the best things you can do is hire the right people in the first place! For tips on avoiding common hiring mistakes, check out this post.