An Open Letter to Event Business Owners
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Dear business owners,
This is an open letter from your employees — a collective voice if you will — on an assortment of challenges we encounter in our roles today.
To preface, these points aren’t coming out of the blue. They are the summation of a workshop that many of us attended at the ILEA Live conference in Calgary earlier this summer. This was an open forum discussion where employees across various event agencies and corporations, and with varying degrees of experience and sets of responsibilities, were encouraged to speak openly on a range of topics; a chance to say the things we've always wanted to say amongst our peers. There were no business owners in the room during this round table.
Coming off of that workshop, our intent is to begin an open dialogue with you on these items and the impact that they are having on our relationship with you and the business.
The challenges and concerns voiced during this workshop were indeed numerous and touched many different areas. To provide a bit of structure to our anticipated dialogue with you, we have organized these thoughts into a few key areas, outlined below:
Our Role: It is very satisfying to know that specific contributions we make as individuals to events often equate to clients having a great experience; nothing pleases us more! But beyond such instances, we feel that there isn’t a clear set of objectives to determine whether or not we are continually meeting the expectations of the business overall. We would benefit from more clarity and structure around goals and success metrics that help us gauge if we are doing a good job. On that notion, we would also like to have more input on strategic decisions and be a part of active conversations about business goals. We feel that we can have a positive influence on decisions and can bring a different, yet valuable, perspective to the conversation.
Our Opportunity. A sense of frustration exists with regards to the idea of professional growth. As members of the events industry, we often turn to peer groups like ILEA and seek out networking and training opportunities in order to hone our skillsets and levels of business acumen. We would love more flexibility, financial support and opportunity to participate in such activities, as we believe it has a direct impact on our ability to make positive contributions to the company. We will come prepared to the dialogue with you on these opportunities, outlining expenses and an overview of potential return on the investment.
The Staff: We realize that you brought in temp workers and interns with the intent of making our jobs easier — thank you. But we as employees would like to be consulted as to what might work/not work for staffing in various situations. It can be difficult and time consuming to train contractors/part-timers, and they aren’t always the most appropriate resources. Please allow us to assist with building the right plan for temporary or contract human resources so that we can maximize our efficiency and workflow.
The Tools. We all realize the role that technology plays in making our jobs easier, yet there doesn’t seem to be as much emphasis from a management level on ensuring the right tools are in place. We understand you can’t approach the selection and implementation of technology too lightly. We can help research these tools and make recommendations, being cognizant of the time and resources it will take to get them in place.
The Company Culture: Not every employee works the same way, nor values the same experience. We’d like to feel more comfortable and secure with how we are working (not just why). For instance, having more options for “non-financial compensation” may enhance the culture of our environment. Some examples offered during the workshop were things like helping to pay for public transportation, allowing more opportunities to work from home when appropriate or even giving a bit back in terms of cost if we choose to pursue higher education.
The Company Vision: We know that turnover is inevitable, even at the management level. When this occurs, it is sometimes difficult to navigate whether or not our vision as a company and expectations as employees should be changing. If they seem to be changing, is that intentional? Often times, a change at the top can lead to confusion, lack of productivity and apathy among us employees. We want to request more open communication about leadership changes and the plan to integrate new leadership into existing strategy, or how the change will impact our company culture. We want more than anything to be stewards of your ship, and this kind of communication means so much to us and our productivity.
We appreciate you taking the time to read this letter and give some thought to our concerns. We are all dedicated to creating a comfortable, productive and quality culture at work, and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you to continue making improvements as a team.
For a downloadable version of this letter, please click here.