Exhibition News November 2018 - Page 65

COLUMN: PEOPLE MANAGEMENT Team building Mehram Sumray-Roots, co-founder of YADA Events and EN 30 Under Thirty 2018 member, on the importance of defining company values early on B uilding a great team is one of the hardest parts of growing any business. As our company has grown and expanded I quickly came to understand that having a good base for that growth was of paramount importance. Before you recruit, make sure that you have a really strong brand identity – and I don’t mean a great logo. Your brand identity is the core of your business, it’s who you are and what you stand for, it is your team, the suppliers and people that you work with and you have to make sure that the people you recruit are ‘on brand’ too. The team at YADA couldn’t be more diverse in age, background and culture but we all share the same aura. We all are on brand – we are energetic, charismatic, passionate and we all have a genuine interest in what we do and get excited by what’s coming next. So while the team has very different skills – some of the team are more suited to accounts while others enjoy handling our social media – but we are all very similar in our characteristics. But true characteristics aren’t listed on a CV, and your interviewee’s real character may not come forward at interview stage and so how can you tell what someone is really like? When I interview, I throw in a ‘red herring’ question; recently I’ve been asking which sort of a fruit they would be. This question has thrown a few potential candidates but normally makes people laugh, relax and then their fun and playful side emerges. Interviews can be so boring for both parties so including a few interesting questions gives candidates the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and express their personality. I do appreciate that not every brand is as fun and dynamic as YADA; brand values differ wildly from company to company and even from department to department. Whatever your values are, make sure you define them early on and recruit to them. You may like to chose three key words that represent your brand and then going forward everything has to represent at least two out of the three – using those words as a sanity check if you ever need to justify your actions to others or yourself. Your brand should be as strong and distinctive as your business; the test of a great brand is whether is can be identified at an event even with all the logos removed – Innocent and Google are of course great examples of this. “I believe that interns should be the future blood of every company; recruit them, work with them and encourage them” Another aspect to consider when building a great team is to make sure that you appreciate your team members – but that doesn’t have to mean rewards and incentives. I’m classed as a ‘millennial’ and the other day I read that millennials need praise and should be reassured five times a day – after I’d spat out my coffee laughing I actually found it rather patronising because it sounded like we’d pack up and go home without a toddler-style reward chart. If I had to reassure my team five times every day I’d have no time for anything else. Appreciating your team doesn’t mean giving them constant praise; It could mean being understanding that when they have a meeting in Soho at 2pm, then it’s better for them to head straight home and work there for the rest of the day, or it could mean a lower salary topped up with an amount of money in a development fund that they can use for tailored training and career development. Appreciating them also means being aware of what they are capable of and what they are good at and then nurturing them. I also believe that interns should be the future blood of every company; recruit them, work with them and encourage them – and make sure that yours is the company that they want to work for once they have graduated because the best graduates are in demand and your company has to appeal to them as much as they do to you. When building your team, don’t try to reinvent the wheel; learn from big established businesses and from other industries; if a company has been trading for decades then they must be doing something right. And never recruit in haste to quickly fill a gap by just grabbing someone, stop and consider that you may already have someone on board who would like to spread their wings into that role. What do the next ten years look like to you? Where is your business going to be and what will you be doing? Build a team that can both take you there and one that is happy to be in that future with you. exhibitionnews.co.uk | November 2018 57