Today’s blog is one for you if you have a team at your venue or are soon to be building a larger one. I’m thrilled to bring HR Consultant, Soniamarie of Event HR back to the blog again to share her expert insights today on ‘Why Your Team are Moving On’ and what you can do about it.
I know that retaining staff in the wedding & events sector is a very real problem; it’s something I have experienced year in year out in my work as an independent wedding planner booking venues on behalf of couples, with constant venue team changes making it hard to build relationships and develop them for great results and affecting customer experience in often very negative ways. So I thought this would be a very relevant topic for Soniamarie to share her HR expertise on.
With 19 years’ experience supporting businesses with everything HR orientated, coupled with her 10 years in organising and planning weddings and events and running her own wedding planning business as well, Soniamarie understands both sides of the coin.
Over to you Soniamarie …
High staff turnover can be a real problem in this fast-paced, seasonal industry. In my 19 years of experience of working with businesses of all sizes, something which is pretty clear is that the best way to tackle this issue is to incorporate a proactive people management approach. High staff turnover can be a sign of managers failing to keep their eye on the pulse with regards to their staff needs, what keeps them motivated and what is important to them.
If you are finding that you are running around the same wheel of recruitment, resignation, recruitment, resignation, then you should probably be seeking ways to retain the staff that you recruit. Let’s face it, finding the right staff for your business is a task in itself – recruitment costs you in time and money. But, when you do find the right people the next task is to actually keep them. It is all about “R & R” which is recruitment AND retention.
There are many reasons why staff choose to move on and I have identified a few within this blog. They will hopefully give you an insight so that you know what you can do to remedy this if it is an issue that your business is facing. It is about working to keep your staff in your business for longer.
Reason 1 – Initial Job Role Miss-sold
This may not seem like an obvious one, but I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this happen over the years. Poorly written job adverts and badly handled interviews can actually be the start of the issue. If you have sold your job vacancy to be one thing and it turns out, in reality, to be something different, it is unlikely that your new recruit will stay with you.
What do I mean by a poorly written job advert? Well, it is one that does not have the full information included about pay, hours, the duties, travel and other key facts about the role that an applicant needs to know before making a decision to apply. A key example of this is when the role may say that the employee will be doing admin, but then when they arrive at the job, you ask them to undertake duties which are different such as cleaning, waitressing etc. I have seen it happen where a venue employs someone to do pretty much everything which was not what the applicant applied for. In this instance, it will only be a matter of time before they leave.
Don’t fall into this trap. Ensure that you are clear on all aspects of the job during the entire recruitment process.
Reason 2 – Lack of Leadership and Direction
No-one wants to be on a journey without an understanding of where they are going. This is true of your staff. From induction training, the direction and goals for the business should be made clear so that staff see how they fit in and where they are accompanying you on the journey.
This should also be backed up with strong leadership throughout the business from the top down. Why? Because you need your team to be invested in your vision and to trust that the management team have the capability to lead them there. The ability to articulate this vision is really important to upping staff engagement – something which is imperative in this industry where you may be working with a more flexible workforce. This type of workforce can run a higher risk of lack of engagement due to them being working irregular hours (think of your casual or part-time workers).
Unfortunately, where the above is lacking, staff can quickly lose confidence in the management team and the business. In this fast paced environment which is uncertain and seasonal, staff do look for stability. If people are not ‘on board’ with the leadership vision, then they can begin to feel lost and start to look for other opportunities.
Reason 3 – Poor Management Skills
Managing people is not an easy task as you are dealing with lots of personalities, working and learning styles and levels of experience. Coupled with managing a mixture of staff such as agency, casual, permanent, temporary etc, can be challenging but also rewarding if you get it right.
Unfortunately, if you have not undertaken any kind of management training, you will be on the back foot in terms of knowing how to deal with day to day employee matters like sickness absence, poor performance, disciplinary etc. You should also have other key skills such as communication, managing diversity and managing conflict which is imperative for any manager. Of course, you want to manage these matters in line with employment law so that you do not put your business at risk, but also best practice.
Staff who do not feel that their manager understands them or the Company policies will quickly lose respect. If they feel that you do not communicate well, are inconsistent in your management and that you do not deal with issues of concern swiftly and fairly, your staff will want to leave.
Often it is not the actual issue at hand that is the cause of staff leaving, it is the way that management deal with the issues. The ability to deal with people matters swiftly, fairly and competently is an essential part of manager/staff relations. There are many people who have left their jobs simply due to not being able to work with their manager.
Reason 4 – No Connection to the Big Picture
As people, we want to feel part of something. We are built to have connection and that is no different when it comes to work, especially as we can spend a good portion of our week there. Even part-time workers sacrifice their weekend with family and friends, to work in the wedding and event industry so they too, want to at least feel part of a “work family” in return for this sacrifice. That means that they need to be connected to not only their wider team, but also the business as a whole. They need an understanding of how their role fits into the bigger picture, how what they do as an individual contributes to the success of the business and makes a difference.
Communicating the business mission defines where the business is going which in turn, where you are leading your team. If it is not part of your strategy and company culture to share this information by holding regular team briefings, providing updates on company and personal performance, issuing newsletters or news via an intranet or even a noticeboard, then you are missing a big opportunity to increase your staff engagement.
Someone is far less likely to want to stay in a job where they have no clue what is going on within the business, do not feel part of it and view their job role in isolation rather than one of many that are making a positive impact. It can almost create an attitude of “What I do is not that important”. This can lead to a lack of motivation and desire to perform at their best which of course is not good for business.
“The best workplaces give their employees a sense of purpose, help them feel they belong, and enable them to make a difference.” – Gallup, Q12 Report
Reason 5 – Non-Competitive Pay and Benefits
We need to live. The cost of living is not getting any cheaper and people need to be able to provide for their families, eat and pay their bills. This basic need must be met and is arguably, one of the first reasons why we go out to work in the first place.
But there is a bigger picture too. Staff want to feel like their employer cares about their health and well-being and this is where benefits come into play. Having access to lifestyle benefits like high-street shop discounts, gym membership and employee assistance programs, appeal to the staff member as a whole and meets their extrinsic needs.
People want more and want to be on par with others in the industry. If another wedding venue pays more, provides benefits and has better prospects, then they will be more attractive to job hunters and even attract members of your team.
Reason 6 – Lack of Progression and Prospects
Despite what is probably popular belief, money is not the only source of motivation. It is important, however, it is not the be all and end all. It is built into our nature to want to grow and develop both personally and professionally. Staff expect their work place to play a part in this and to provide them with opportunities to facilitate this via training and career path.
Lack of career development or progression opportunities is a key reason why people leave. Individuals have different learning desires which need to be met. It goes without saying that you should provide the basic training which is your induction training, cores skills training (e.g. sales, customer service, health and safety). However, if there is no movement from providing ‘training’, to the provision of actual learning and development opportunities, you can run the risk of your staff questioning how much you value them. Even worse if you do not provide any training at all.
People want to be able to reach their full potential and while this is primarily their own responsibility, as their employer, it is also yours to facilitate an environment and conditions that support individual growth. Falling to provide a wider range of opportunities will undoubtedly lead to staff feeling uncared for and eventually leaving.
Reason 7 – Lack of Recognition and Praise for Their Contribution
You may have heard it said before, but your team are your biggest asset. They are the ones who execute your bookings and provide the service that you have sold to your clients on the actual wedding/event day. They know how things work and are the people who you rely on to deliver a first class experience on the day. They naturally have a more vested interest in your venue as it is their place of work and somewhere they come to on a regular and consistent basis.
Staff who do not feel like their work and efforts are appreciated, can easily grow resentful and become demotivated. This can quickly create a dangerous loop where a lack of appreciation leads to a lack of work, creates friction in the workplace which eventually leads to them leaving to seek their recognition elsewhere.
Praise and recognition are the fuel that drives employees towards success. We all need recognition for our contribution and we need it in our own individual way. Whether it’s a pat on the back and a thank you after a hard day’s work, receiving an ‘employee of the month’ plaque on the notice board or a regular monetary bonus for high-performance. Recognition is vital for your staff, and can mean the difference between high-engagement, complete demotivation and a sharp exit from your business.
Reason 8 – Lack of Empathy
This is not an easy industry to work in. It is very fast paced, can be highly pressured and pretty much non-stop especially during the peak seasons.
Staff can feel overwhelmed, over worked and tired of working hard which is often required. They want and need a space to be able to raise concerns, feedback to their manager and feel listened to. Where this is lacking, it can create an unhealthy environment as staff can to bring issues to each other which can become pretty toxic.
Talking is therapy. Staff, having had a conversation with their manager, should leave believing that you will take whatever action may be helpful and possible or at least logically explain why nothing can be done. But by leaving your door open to employee concerns and suggestions, managers encourage them to feel that they have a stake in a business that considers them important and cares enough to listen.
If they cannot speak to the manager about how they are feeling whether good or bad, then who else can they speak to? It is easy for your team to feel as though they are not listened to, which can lead to them no longer wanting to stay.
So what can you do to keep your staff from moving on?
There is a lot that can be done and if you are wanting to know why your staff are leaving, then the simplest way is to ask them. Exit interviews provide invaluable information and insight as to why your staff member has chosen to leave. You can then use this information to learn and find ways to improve your people management practices. In not doing so, you are missing out on a great opportunity to lower your turnover, create more stability in your workforce and build some brand loyalty within your workforce.
Similarly, conducting employee surveys can collect vital data about the current mood and climate in your business to help you put in place preventative measures. Developing your leadership skills and that amongst line managers and providing the necessary training them to handle engagement and retention issues with more confidence, drastically improves levels of staff turnover.
By creating an open and healthy space for dialogue and feedback, you can keep their finger firmly on the pulse when it comes to staff retention issues.
If you want to know how Soniamarie can help you to deal with this issue in your business or even implement some changes, then why not book in a free discovery call where you can discuss it? You can get in touch with Sonia via email on firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule something in for July.
If you want to join in the discussions, you can also become a member of Sonia’s free Facebook page HERE.
Come and Join Soniamarie LIVE and
Ask your HR Questions – 11th July
Got your own burning HR and staff related question?
Come and join Soniamarie LIVE in my private Facebook group Wedding Spaces Going Places this week where you can ask your question and get her advice.
Mark Thursday 11th July in your diary from 12-12.45 for what is sure to be a lively session – Soniamarie is one lady full of energy and enthusiasm.
Make sure you’re part of Wedding Spaces Going Places (and set your notifications on to know when Soniamarie goes live) by joining for free HERE.