By Patrick Riley and Nicole Weathers
We occasionally ponder about how lucky we are to work with people who are great at what they do – not just consummate professionals but people who are fun to hang out with after the last barricade is loaded on the truck. We have a number of staff who have been with the company well over 10 years in an industry usually known for a lot of turnover. And our clients often ask how we find team members who are such a good fit for our culture and skilled event professionals. We are proud of our team and wanted to share a few thoughts since it’s more about being methodical than luck.
1. Interview People like it’s Dating. We go through a lot of resumes and conduct a lot of interviews. The hiring process can be tedious but the time invested on the front end pays off with teammates who become valuable colleagues. It’s a lot like dating. Not only do we try to find the right person for the position, we want to make sure our company is a good fit for the candidate as well. That often involves exposing our warts or being clear about expectations in the beginning. We also try to have stakeholders at every level and across departments be involved with final interviews. To that point, it’s often more like dating and meeting the whole family right away. If that doesn’t scare you, we’re probably your kind of people.
2. Immersive and Experiential Onboarding. Event work can be sink or swim. People working their first event can be handed a map and be told to “set it up” without a lot of hand holding. We do, however, like to provide our new team members with the building blocks for understanding the Event 360 way. From IT training and reviewing style guides to walking through a project plan in Basecamp, we aim to provide everyone with templates, tools and resources from the beginning. But more than training, we try to provide mentorship and hands-on experience. It can be a lot easier to make that cold call to a new site if you sit on the phone listening to your co-worker interact with the police captain they’ve cultivated for 10 years. And it’s much easier to understand the ins and outs of an event if you actually see it first. As such, we do our best to get our staff out on an event before they have to execute their own. Watch one, do one, teach one is an important tenant of being a successful event expert.
3. Modern Business Model. As an organization, we have embraced modern techniques for project management allowing us to keep the work-from-home business model. In a recent survey, remote workers scored an 8/10 on a happiness scale, because they enjoy the freedom and flexibility. It is important to us that our employees feel appreciated, whether they’re in the office or working from their home office. We believe that the work-from-home model empowers our employees to enhance their productivity on a schedule conducive to a proper work/life balance.
4. Unique Team Building Possibilities. A unique opportunity for our employees is getting to bond with each other from across the country when we step outside of our “normal” roles, and participate in one of the many roles on-event. As an organization, we value team effort so when you’re hired, you know that you’ll get the opportunity to push your sleeves up and possibly cone streets for a race, manage volunteers at a water station, or one of the many other responsibilities that come with event production. It displays how each one of us plays an integral part in putting together an event for our clients. A wonderful side-effect of this, is it allows for us to bond with our co-workers that we don’t see or work with on a regular basis, thus building team trust, morale and comradery for projects down the line.
5. Professional Development. Another element to building a great internal team is to focus on professional development. At Event 360, we want everyone to grow and flourish in their position. Teammates provide education opportunities for each other, like our IT team hosting an “IT Appy hour,” others sharing “lessons learned” on team calls, or attendance at industry conferences where teammates take those lessons back to the rest of the company (or posting insights in company blog posts). We also have set aside a budget for teammates to use for professional development when it’s directly applicable to their work. We support our teammates to push through barriers by participating in mock presentations to aide in comfort and confidence when performing a task that is outside of their comfort zone. We look at these as great opportunities for growth and with that, the understanding that you’re never going at anything alone.
At the end of the day, people want to feel like they are working with you, not for you. Taking the time to fully understand your team, knowing how to motivate them, investing in their development, and activating their talent are just some of the things that it takes to build a great internal team! In turn, this will produce results far beyond your expectations!
Patrick Riley, Senior Vice President, Accounts at Event 360, has more than 15 years of event experience, with a focus on developing great client relationships. He is practiced in all aspects of event operations – from marketing and advertising to planning and event execution. Patrick uses project management best practices to create amazing event experiences for participants, volunteers and our client partners
Nicole Weathers (LinkedIn), is the Manager, Consumer Marketing at Event 360. She manages digital marketing and social media strategy for the Florida AIDS Walk & Music Festival and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Team for the Cures 5K. She enjoys traveling, especially to California to visit friends and family and loves to go on outdoor adventures. Nicole lives in Chicago and looks forward to the summer to enjoy the lakefront trail.