hiring staff

As your TCG grows, you may realize that you need some help handling forms, making cards, or game updates. This is where your staff comes in! Of course, you can always decide to have staff from the very start if you expect your TCG to be very active or grow quickly.

In any case, you've decided that it's time to hire a staff member or six. Here's help with doing that, PLUS notes on how to handle common staff problems.

advertising your jobs

The easiest and most effective way to advertise your TCG jobs is to leave a note in your latest update and ask interested members to comment. Be specific about what you need each staff member to do.

important things to include in your ad
- name of the position
- description of the position, including how often you expect the job to be done
- required skills
- staff pay amount
- any restrictions on who can apply or how the staff member can play in the TCG

If the staff position is one that requires a member to answer forms related to a certain game (a logic puzzle, for example) or a updating set of games, be sure to mention that upfront. Naturally, that staff member won't be allowed to play the games that they are working on, so this allows members to make an informed decision.

Realize that a lot of members will post to say "I wish I could help, but (xyz reason)." They're just trying to be friendly and supportive, so don't get annoyed even though it's not helpful at all. ^_^

who to choose

Go with your gut. Choose someone who you feel comfortable with and who you think will do the job well. Often, this means that you will end up choosing a member who's been around for a long time, but don't be afraid to hire someone new!

A good way to see who is responsible and who is not is to go take a look at each member's trade post. Is it organized? Do they update regularly? Is the trade log kept well? Are they staff on another TCG?

This last one can go both ways; some people will stretch themselves too thin, but usually, if someone is staff on another TCG, they already know what is expected of them and are responsible enough to keep up with the job.

staff pay

Do not be stingy with staff pay, but don't go overboard either!

If the staff member cannot play one or more games because of their job, give them a reward that is equal to the prizes the game(s) would give out, PLUS a little more to compensate for time and effort. If you're only giving as much as the game would normally, that's probably not enough to entice anyone into taking the job... unless they really hate that game set and would do anything to avoid it!

It's a little trickier with things like handling forms. This should depend on the activity level of your TCG. Think about how much time you spent answering each type of form and decide a pay scale based on that. The staff member handling three doubles exchange forms a week should not get the same amount of pay as the staff member processing thirty level ups!

Avoid giving too many choice cards as part of the rewards; after all, your games probably don't give out tons of choice cards, so the staff pay shouldn't either. You don't want to have a problem with regular members resenting the staff members because it is easy for them to master sets and get way ahead.

If in doubt, ask your members what they think. If you ask for feedback when posting your advertisement, you'll likely get at least one good response. And remember, staff pay can always be adjusted up as membership increases!

in summary
- for games, pay should replace the game prizes, plus a little extra
- for forms, pay should be scaled according to the difficulty of the job
- don't give too many choice cards
- adjust pay as TCG membership rises, if necessary
- if in doubt, ask for feedback!

handling staff that misses updates

If your staff member neglects to answer forms or update a set of games, send a polite reminder and keep a mental note of it. You may have to answer the forms or do the update yourself if the reminder is ignored; keep a mental note of THAT too.

If it happens again, send another reminder, and tell the staff member that this is the second time they've failed to do their job; if it happens again, you'll have no choice but to find someone else to handle the job.

And if it happens a third time, follow through on your statement. Relieve the member of their position (politely!) and put out an ad for a new staff member to take their place. DO NOT mention that the old staff member was removed from their job!

sample letter
Dear *member*, I noticed that you missed the update scheduled for *date*. While I realize that you are busy, by volunteering for staff you agreed to handle the games/forms on time, and I need you to follow through on that so the TCG can run smoothly.

[if this is the first offense]
If you are having trouble updating, please feel free to contact me and I'll do my best to help.

[if this is the second offense]
This is the second time that an update has been missed. I'm sorry, but If it happens again, I will have no choice but to find another staff member to fill the position. Thank you for your understanding.

[if this is the third offense]
Since this is the third time that I have contacted you regarding a missed update, I will be finding a new staff member for this position. You are still welcome to play as a normal member, but please realize that this TCG needs to keep to its schedule.

Naturally, all circumstances are different, so if you can work out an agreement with your staff member, keep them on staff as long as you feel comfortable with that decision.

However, it is in your best interests to be harsh and firm, or you may find yourself picking up the slack more often than you'd like!

handling staff that is rude

If you have proof of a staff member being rude to another member (an email that they sent or a forum post), then action MUST be taken. If, on the other hand, you simply have a complaint from another member, do your best to get proof before doing anything. Sometimes members may see a normal action such as saying "you can't do this" as rude, which, of course, is totally unreasonable.

If you DO have proof, confront the staff member privately. DO NOT call them out or lecture them in a public place like your forum or updates! Tell them what kind of proof you have and state firmly that such rudeness will not be tolerated.

sample letter
Dear *member*, it has come to my attention that you were rude to another member in a recent email/forum post. As a staff member of the TCG, I am counting on you to be one of the most responsible and understanding people around the site. Rudeness will not be tolerated.

Please do your best to respond to everyone politely in the future, no matter how sarcastic or rude they are to you. And if someone IS rude to you, please let me know so I can handle it myself.

If I have proof of further rudeness in the future, I will have no choice but to ask you to leave your staff position.

Again, depending on the circumstances, you may decide to make exceptions, especially if the other member was deliberately rude to your staff member in order to provoke a response. In that case, the trolling/flaming TCG member should be warned!