For me, HR has been the hardest part of owning and running a wedding planning business. As I've expanded into 13+ new markets, I've experienced a lot of success and failure with my team. In my early years, I wore my heart on my sleeve. I took everything personally, and this led to a lot of unnecessary drama. Maybe you're there right now? Reeling over the latest HR nightmare.
For me, every parting was painful, and I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea that it was business, not personal. That everyone I interacted with was in a season—a season with needs and hopes that could and most likely would fluctuate with time. That change wasn't bad, it was a part of life. And, that change didn't mean I was a bad leader or business owner. The change was just a part of business, life and seasons colliding.
Today, I'm so thankful for a renewed perspective that includes peace in the transitions. I hope and pray that I'm creating an environment where my team feels like they have the freedom to make the right choice for themselves and their family every single day—whether that's as a part of Chancey Charm or somewhere else, with our full support.
I have a saying—our wedding planner team is a place of refuge for some and a launching point for others. If you have or are building a team, maybe you can see the same dynamic in your own tribe? Some women feel at home under your brand, while others still have their own creative endeavors to explore. My advice, after having the pleasure of working with over 25 planners in the span of 7 years, is to embrace it. Don’t fight it. In fact, cultivate it.
Below, I’m sharing three of my favorite tips for connecting with your team, however large or small it is, in an emotionally healthy way on the regular. I hope that this is a blessing to you and your business as you establish regular connecting points that foster a creative community that supports you, your business, and the needs of your team.
1. Regular Contact
My first tip is to create a schedule of regular contact that is doable for you. With a little one at home, I don’t have a lot of time for calls, so I make it a point to start each week with a Monday email update to my team and connect. I also like sending one weekly update email, that my team knows is important instead of overfilling their inbox with several emails throughout the week. Batching updates in one weekly email is more efficient.
I also like to make sure I’m reaching out to each planner personally via email, at least once a month to check-in. In fact, I have a check-in email set up to run regularly to each associate via Boomerang. Maybe this happens more organically for you if you work face-to-face or have more frequent conversations. But, for me, with such a large team, I needed to ensure no one was falling through the cracks.
Finally, a personal, quarterly call with each planner on my team keeps me connected to their goals, current feelings, and how I can best serve them and their clients. It’s actually my favorite connecting point and often leads to a conversation that benefits the entire team and business.
2. Establish Goals and Celebrate Them
I feel like a lot of creatives are burnt out, even on the edge of a breakdown. Not because we are failures, but because we took too many gigs and stretch ourselves too thin. We never stop to celebrate our victories but instead look for the next high, the next publication, or luxe client. So, 6 years in, I finally decided to do something different! I decided that I would personally make tracking goals with my team a priority and celebrate with them when these goals were achieved. Celebrating goals encourages healthy work-life boundaries. I've included the graph below as a simple example of how you can track basic goals with your team.
3. Create Community
Even if you don't work in the same space weekly with your team, creating a sense of community, a place to collaborate with like-minded creatives, and gain encouragement and accountability is key to a healthy team. It’s also important to create freedom for your team to share personal and professional updates and ask questions to foster a positive work environment, even remotely. GroupMe or Slack are both great ways for your team to stay in constant contact for quick questions and life updates. Be sure to set the stage for healthy, uplifting conversations and establish a no-gossip policy within team conversations.
Hosting a monthly team meeting via Zoom gives you space for face-to-face updates and group learning. Encourage different planners on your team to share what they are currently learning. Also, hosting a monthly team "happy hour" where associates can just connect on a personal level face-to-face on a video call with unscheduled time is another great way to foster community.