Paul Veltman, founder of Velti Events, first started thinking about the importance of key performance indicators in the context of how people in the eventing industry dressed when they went to meetings.
“The 80s and 90s were all about power suits. By the 2000s it started becoming trendy to dress down in designer labels, particularly in certain industries like advertising and eventing,” he says.
“By the time I launched Velti Events in 2008 people were just dressing down. I would arrive at meetings and think ‘When did people stop caring how they present themselves to clients?’ I was a new business just starting to employ people, and I wanted us to always look our best and embrace professionalism. The challenge was how I was going to do that.”
Thinking about how he was going to get his employees to dress professionally inevitably led to the question of how he was going to get them to approach their jobs efficiently and professionally, and slowly the ideas of firm KPIs started to emerge.
“My aim is to become the biggest and most well-regarded business in the events industry within the next five years. I can’t do this without being the best – and that starts with my employees.”
Incentives and targets
Veltman started working with the idea of KPIs for every single employee in his business. “I knew it would mean work."
It meant a very clear job description for every employee so that we could track and monitor their targets. In a small company with ambitious go-getters these also need to be updated quarterly as job descriptions are constantly evolving.
“Today we have these in place from the receptionist to me. We all have criteria we’re responsible for. We then do monthly, quarterly and yearly reviews which are driven by the employees themselves. They take us through their performance and how they rate themselves, which keeps them actively involved in their progress. It’s time consuming, but the results, improved performance and client satisfaction make the system worth it.”
Everyone is on board because this isn’t just an exercise to track performance. Employees are rewarded with additional bonuses and/or extra time off for meeting their KPIs, which means there is a firm incentive for being the best they can be.
Staying ahead of the game
According to Veltman, developing KPIs for account managers and sales managers is relatively simply: they have specific targets that must be met, and these are easy to track.
For event, promotion and campaign managers, however, it’s more complicated.
“We track performance, client and supplier feedback and time management, among other things. One of our biggest objectives is to constantly be sourcing the latest and greatest suppliers, products and venues. You need to be innovative to stay ahead of the game, and so each employee has targets they need to meet each month in terms of researching and sourcing new additions to our stable of suppliers. They then work with sales to package these new offerings for our clients, and with the project managers to ensure each event is delivered on time, to budget.”
The result? “It’s hard work, for them and us, but it means a bigger paycheque (or additional time off) for them, and top-class staff for us, which ultimately means satisfied and loyal customers.”
With year-on-year double digit growth, despite launching in the middle of an economic downturn, it’s a system that’s clearly working for Velti Events.