Training - Make it Count!

As with any company managing staff, training is an integral part of the business. Most companies believe that organising training is the responsibility of the HR department and this is correct to a degree. But what happens when your highly skilled staff are enrolled in training that really should be offered to entry level employees? This is not only a waste of money, its also a waste of time that your already experienced staff could be using to actually do their job.

Some of you are aware that prior to starting Absolute Marketing Communications I was employed by a high end consumer electronics brand. As part of my various marketing and PR roles within the company I organised divisional and company events. These included press launches, company and dealer conferences, corporate lunches, Christmas parties and other related events. 

I got an email from the HR manager one day advising that I had been enrolled to attend a one day course in event co-ordination along with some of my colleagues. I attended because I thought perhaps it was an advanced course and I might take something away from it that would help in the planning of future events and because I assumed that my manager was involved in this decision and thus thought it would be relevant to me.

Everyone was wrong on all counts. I attended this course with colleagues that had never organised a corporate event at any time in their careers let alone for the company we were working for.

I spent a day listening to a facilitator educate us on the basics of event planning. Don’t get me wrong she knew what she was talking about and while it was worthwhile for the other attendees, I had put this all into practice before. Her practical task was to pretend we were organising a children’s birthday party. Not to sound arrogant but I have organised events that require delegates to fly either domestically or internationally and ensure they make it in time for our event's proceedings. I could organise a children’s party with my eyes closed! Meanwhile my work was piling up because I’ve had to sit through this. When my manager asked me how the training went, I told him honestly it was a waste of time. When I told him why, he agreed with me.

My point is if you’re going to organise training, make it worthwhile. Don’t leave all the decisions to the HR manager. They need to be involved in the decision especially if their department is footing the bill but you need to tell them what your staff are capable of. If the training’s not right not only is the fee for the course wasted but it’s a days work your staff are being paid for to sit and be told something they already know. Think about involving your staff in the decisions regarding their training. They may feel that a particular course may be of value to them and enhance their value to your company. You want your staff to embrace the opportunity to learn new things not cringe every time they’re told they have to attend training.

Not Just a Pair of Shoes!

The Melbourne Cup took place a few weeks ago and everyone is still talking about Jessica Mauboy not singing the national anthem prior to the race as planned. 

There has been much speculation about the reason why she didn’t take to the stage. It has since been confirmed that Jess’s styling team dressed her in a Myer sanctioned dress and head piece but completed her outfit with David Jones shoes. The VRC and Myer took exception to this, resulting in Mauboy not performing.

Everyone loves Jess Mauboy, she’s Australia’s sweetheart and can do no wrong in the eyes of the Australian public. For that reason a lot of the comments made allude to the fact that it was just a pair of shoes so what was the big deal? 

The big deal is that Myer sponsored the event and as such would have stipulated that all personalities on the official running sheet of the Melbourne Cup would have to abide by their sponsorship agreement guidelines as agreed with the VRC. Any company sponsoring an event has the right to make such stipulations. This would all have been negotiated between Myer and the VRC or any other company and event. 

Sponsorship is never black and white and to a lay person the intricacies of sponsorship agreements can seem excessive or even ridiculous. There was an instance quite a few years ago in Cairns when a $250,000 Steinway piano was purchased by the Innisfail council to replace the one damaged by Cyclone Larry. There was such an uproar that much needed relief money had been spent on such a large and unnecessary purchase. Residents sent letters to the editor of the local papers, some suggesting that since Elton John was touring that year and passing through Cairns that he should play that very expensive piano. He would never have played that piano. Had he been asked to play it he would have said no and then been considered rude or a snob. No one would have considered that he is sponsored by Yamaha and as such can not play another brand without violating his sponsorship agreement.

Sponsors pay a large sum of money to sponsor events or personalities and in turn have the right to expect their terms are met. Gaining sponsors for an event is hard work and is often met with plenty of rejection. When you do manage to land a sponsor you need to nurture that relationship. I’m not saying you have to rollover and do everything the sponsor wants, you negotiate terms that are beneficial to both parties and you need to respect those terms. I’m sure David Jones would have had something to say had they sponsored the event and Jess planned to wear Myer shoes on stage!


The Importance of Proofreading

Proofreading a document you have written yourself in preparation for publishing seems like a simple task. Unfortunately when we proofread our own work, we often read what a document should say and not what it does say or we miss simple errors. By having a fresh set of eyes look over your work, the tiniest of errors is usually picked up. I often cringe at some of the errors I come across when reading correspondence for other businesses or even mainstream publications. Businesses like Absolute Marketing Communications offer proofreading services. If you don't have the resources to pay someone to proofread your work have someone who hasn't read your document give it a once over.