Unless you work in a sports or arts organization that has its peak in the summer months, you are now gearing up for the big season opener and wrapping up your to-do list, ensuring every small detail has been planned as you welcome your audiences and fans back into your venues.
Summer is a great time of the year to plan for the coming 10 months of business activities and to transition jobs since it is the dark time of the year for sports and arts organizations.
Chances are you’ll be welcoming new staff into your organization to support the upcoming season. It’s important to get those relationships off on the right foot.
Human resources are not a strong point in the arts or sports and we have many new employees join our industry for a week or so, only to call their previous employer up and hope their job is still available. Although the live event industry is one of the most heavily unionized ecosystems in the modern world, human resources departments are usually an under-staffed part of our business (and that’s if they exist at all). This combination of a scattered HR presence in the workplace and the overall chaos that comes from the live events industry we love working in means being a good manager can make all the difference in reducing employee churn, especially if your organization does not have dedicated HR staff.
Here are six tips for on-boarding your new employees while keeping on top of your own job too.
Do people not want to talk to me because they’re wearing headphones?
- Offer culture tips in advance. Every office has nuances that are not written into a contract or employee handbook – from the dress code to whether everyone takes lunch together at the same time. This can intimidate new hires on their first day. For example, if you work in an office of people who listen to music while working, say so. This will curb any potential feelings of isolation and your new team member can have headphones handy! Reaching out before someone starts also reinforces the fact that you value them as a new employee.
- Have a prepared workstation. Remember how great it was to come to work on your first day and see that the desk was still messy from the last person who just up and left? Exactly. It may seem like a great first task is to have someone organize their work station to get them oriented with what their predecessor did, but who wants to come in to someone else’s mess? Ensure your new team member has a clean desk, including Having a work space prepared for someone, including a working computer with logins and all the required software. This will make him or her feel like a valued new addition instead of someone who is just picking up where someone else left off. Having business cards ready and waiting is also a nice touch.
- Set aside time on their first day for a tour, lunch and end of day follow-up. Perhaps the most important minutes that determine whether someone is a good fit or not for your organization is that first half hour when they join your team. Be there to welcome new recruits when they arrive, make sure they feel comfortable at their desk and be generous with your time on the first day. As a manager, you are the most important relationship in their professional life. Set aside time to have lunch together, arrange a tour of your building and any off-site venues, and be sure to set 30 minutes aside at the end of the day to answer questions.
- Introduce the team and set up introductory meetings. Many arts and sports organizations are becoming much more vertically integrated, introducing in-house graphic designers and/or hiring full-time artistic staff like costume designers. Meeting cross-functional partners, especially in a dynamic environment like a live events organization, can inspire employees to do their best. It also helps new hires feel like part of the team. Schedule appointments for your new hire to meet with everyone, even if they will have relatively little to do with each other professionally, as this creates a culture of comradery.
- Give them something to read. It can be difficult to transition work to a new hire, even though they always want to get started right away. Make sure they are familiar with your business by providing reading material and lots of it! Give them the employee handbook if you have one. Put a stack of old playbills on their desk. Ask them to review the bios of your team’s athletes. Get them up to speed with your culture and everything your organization offers its ticket buyers.
- Discuss and assign work plans. We are all guilty of withholding projects. After all, why take the time to explain something when you can just do it yourself in half the time? I’m not suggesting you need to get a new hire to create a huge marketing plan on day one, but why not ask themto start thinking of a social media contest? Offering useful assignments to occupy time in the early days will make new hires feel valued and it also helps them orientate themselves as they navigate the organization.
These tips are designed to make sure your new hire has a good first impression of your organization. While you selected them for the job, chances are they are still making their decision about you. And it is not unheard of for an employee to resign after the first week or even on the first day.
Ensuring new employees feel like valued, contributing members of an organization they are likely already passionate about can go a long way towards transitioning them into valuable contributors.