It’s no secret that there are major labor shortages across North America. This is making it difficult for event company owners who are encountering an increased demand for events, but not enough staff to fulfill the surplus of contracts.
While this shortage is extremely frustrating and out of the business owner’s hands, there are still some things within their control that can help make hiring and retaining good employees possible.
Here are the five steps you can take as a business owner to create a culture that makes employees feel trusted, purpose-driven, and inspired to work hard for your company.
Step One: Create and Share Transparent Goals
Something often seen with business owners is a fear of sharing metrics or pricing with their team. It is proven that the more transparent the leaders of a company are with their team, the more hard work and long-term retention they see. However, if a business owner isn’t prepared to share their full P&L statement, the least they need to do is share their company goals with the rest of the team. This allows employees to know what the bigger-picture mission is. Examples of this mission include:
- Generating $X of sales in 2022
- Executing X number of jobs this summer
- Increasing our sales by X% without new hires this quarter
People are driven by mission. Having a team goal helps align everyone onto the same page, rather than passing the ball down the field with no sense of where the goal post is even located.
Step Two: Assign Individual Metrics to Reach Team Goals
Workers today need a sense of purpose. If today you tell an employee who drives your delivery truck that you need to hit $200k in sales this year, they probably won’t be able to trace the line from their day-to-day to that number. As a business owner, you need to provide them with individual metrics to guide them in achieving that goal and also give them a sense of purpose.
Instead, you could break it down like this:
- "We need to do 5 mid-size and 8 small-size deliveries per weekend"
- "We need to keep a 5-star rating and promote word-of-mouth referrals, which will allow us to spend less than $1k on our marketing efforts"
Now the delivery driver will know that their ability to stay organized and deliver on time will help you hit the delivery numbers needed to achieve a bigger goal at hand. They also know that delivering with a smile– despite maybe having sat in traffic on a hot day– generates new business that helps the company grow.
Step Three: Create Short-Term Wins For Hitting KPIs
In the short-term the delivery truck driver wants three things:
- To achieve individual goals (and not just company goals)
- To be recognized for their performance
- To be tangibly compensated for their achievements
For all the hard work behind the job, the delivery truck driver wants to reap some benefits for hitting their KPIs (key performance indicators) that go beyond simply contributing to the company goals. There is a huge range of what these benefits can look like.
Many will argue that cash is the best and most straightforward way to reward an employee. If you are nervous about paying extra for employees who “just do their job” to the bare minimum, consider offering bigger bonuses for truly exemplary performance. For example, any time a client writes a review that mentions the employee, that employee gets a bonus.
One thing to be careful of as a business owner is incentivizing KPIs that are not always in the employee’s control. Sometimes a dissatisfied customer will give 0 stars for no appropriate reason or for an issue that was unrelated to the driver, and then that driver is unfairly dinged. You also want to be cautious about incentivizing drivers' on-time delivery, as it can result in unsafe driving. Instead, consider a bonus to a delivery driver who leaves on time for every delivery for one month straight. It is important to make sure your incentives are safe and the rewards are monitored.
If you are looking for alternatives to cash bonuses, consider something that this employee can put on their resume, such as “Employee of the Month” awards. This allows the worker to tell a future employer they received an award 6 out of 10 months, rather than tell them about a one-time pizza party that was held to celebrate the achievement.
You might also consider offering company swag that an employee would actually enjoy, such as a high-end hoodie or jacket. This shows new employees that they will eventually be rewarded for hitting their marks and that you’re proud to have them working for and representing your company.
Step Four: Create Long Term Wins For Strong Performers
Employees who don’t care about advancing in your company will rarely be the most hard-working employees.
Let’s repeat that: If an employee is not thinking about how they can move up in rank and make more money, they are likely not planning to stay. Or they may stay and consistently put in low effort. Anyone with a sense of work ethic and ambition wants to move up the ladder– whether it is one step up or all the way up to a CEO-level position.
To bring about hard-working employees, you need to create a clear outline of how an employee can progress over time. If you make this based on trackable metrics, it becomes easy for them to feel motivated to work hard, and improves employee satisfaction. This will also make it easy for you to see who is performing well and has earned a raise. If an employee knows their metrics are being watched, it is a no-brainer for them to work hard in order to progress– given that they want to.
Step Five: Track Their Metrics
That brings us to the most important one: You must track their metrics.
If you tell someone they need to “work hard” or “do a good job” but you give no measurable action that is clear, then everything becomes subjective. It becomes your word vs. theirs and there is too much room for distrust to be built.
To adequately track your delivery driver’s metrics, you could have them log every delivery they make by taking a photo and dropping it into your event software. Then you have visual evidence of which deliveries they've made and when they made the delivery because this information is tracked in the system. They will also be able to see their numbers and performance through the software, which will further motivate them to try their best and do a good job (especially if you incentivize star players with rewards). If the delivery driver truly wants to be recognized for their accomplishments, they will openly embrace technology tracking their metrics.
Similar to the concept that an employee who isn’t looking to advance is rarely going to work hard, an employee who doesn’t want to be tracked isn’t a top performer. Top performers love working for companies that use technology to track their work because it makes it easier for them to move up in the ranks by being hard workers, rather than having to hope the boss likes and sees them.
Trust between a worker and an employee is the most important thing for both parties. Trust can be built by consistent, tracked proof that showcases when the expectations are met. By laying out exactly what is needed and why, then tracking and rewarding progress, you can set the groundwork for a truly trusting relationship with your staff.
To learn more about the reasons your labor wants you to use tech, check out this blog post!