Though the world is back up and running after last year’s shutdown, not everything is back to normal. As discussed in our October issue, people are quitting their jobs en masse, and even those who have stuck around sometimes feel as if they’re on shaky ground, having been knocked off balance by the unexpected pandemic and, in many cases, gone through periods of deep introspection.
    Having survived the turmoil that was the 2020-21 wedding season, it’s crucial moving forward to ensure your staff feels valued and boost morale by whatever means possible. Following are eight keys ways to do that.

Elevate Your Staff Meeting. In bridal, staff meetings are woven into the fabric of the workweek. After all, it’s a good time to train consultants, introduce new designers, check to see how things are going, or just bond after a busy day.
    But staff meetings can serve a function well beyond training or catching up on the numbers. Connecting with consultants, boosting morale and strengthening relationships are equally important, particularly in light of last year’s challenges. As the news continues to report a mass exodus of employees across many industries, it’s more important than ever to focus on consultant happiness.
    Starting and ending the meeting on a high note sets the tone. At Wedding Shoppe in St. Paul, Minn., store manager Carolyn Taylor has a set agenda for the meeting, starting with a check in, where attendees are asked to share their personal and professional bests.
    Taylor encourages everyone to participate in the meetings, at which they celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, promotions or team wins.
    “We do team shout-outs all the time,” she says. “In addition, we feature team members and their success in our monthly newsletter.”
    At the conclusion of the meeting, they then rate the meeting 1-10.
    “Anything above an eight is acceptable,” she says. “If it is below an eight, we discuss how the meeting could be more productive or helpful to others.”
    Though meetings are often formal and follow a structured agenda, a more informal type of gathering can be held at other venues, such as restaurants, a hotel or spa, or even someone’s backyard. Changing up the scenery can be refreshing, and a relaxing time away from the store can translate into renewed purpose and energy.
   Bridal and Formal
 in Cincinnati had staff play a game in a restaurant banquet room where they teamed up to make a bridal gown with shipping boxes, fabric markers, lace and other scraps.
    “They had so much fun, and we purposely tried to match up people who did not normally spend time together, so it became a bonding thing,” General Manager Tina Minshall says.
    No matter where meetings are held or what is on the agenda, “The most important thing is to consistently have meetings. It keeps everyone on track and feeling empowered to work at their best. It also creates a positive working environment and good company culture,” Taylor advises.


Utilize Technology. What did the world do before virtual meetings technology, like Zoom and other such platforms? During the shutdown, they became an invaluable tool, allowing you to safely check in with staff and keep everyone posted about the current situation.


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