Use these simple tips to increase employee retention in your entertainment facility

Not long ago, I read an infuriating article aimed at today’s workforce. In short, it advised readers to stay interview-ready at all times, and encouraged them to actively seek new jobs every year or two so that they “stay sharp” with interviewing skills.

Statistics suggest that today’s workforce isn’t in a job for the long haul. But with that in mind, should organizations just accept this as part of the rules of today’s changing game? Absolutely not.

I believe that buying into the notion that team members are just going to move on in a year or two causes team leaders to become detached and to not train, or mentor, their staff properly. This mistake can cause a cycle of discontentment…but it doesn’t have to.

Read on for the top six things team members want from you, and how to build a company worth sticking around for.

No. 1: Provide adequate training

Expectations without clear training and accountability don’t work, and job shadowing alone simply isn’t enough. Give team members your time and energy to help them learn necessary skills and behaviors that will help them succeed. After job shadowing or cross training sessions, check their understanding about what they observed and what they learned, and then ask what they might have done differently. This helps new hires learn how to navigate many different scenarios on the job and saves you time correcting future mistakes.

No. 2: Provide attainable expectations and build a system of accountability

Most team members want to do a good job, and they want to be proud of their work. Don’t make assumptions that people know what you expect of them. Help team members set goals for their roles, whether it’s sales numbers, interaction goals or a certain guest feedback score. Make career paths clear and appealing. Actively coach your teams to improve and advance, which applies especially to those underperformers. Nothing breaks down team trust more than a manager with rules that don’t apply to everyone.

Investing in your people will ensure your park builds the culture – sales, service, safety or otherwise – that you want to be known for.

No. 3: Give them liberty (or give them death)

As the US celebrates its independence this week, worker autonomy can’t be overlooked. Your team craves your support and trust that they can make decisions in their roles.

Autonomy is not the absolute freedom to do whatever one chooses without regard for their work or guests, but rather the opportunity to independently discover solutions to situations that arise in their daily roles. Teaching and training through discovery is a great way for team members to build critical thinking skills and business acumen.

Are you telling your employees what to do, or are you outlining a problem and asking how they might handle it (with your additional guidance when they run into snags or take a wrong turn)? The more ownership they have in the process, the more commitment they’ll have in the result.

No. 4: Offer plenty of feedback

Team members want to be recognized when they are doing a great job, and they also want to know how they need to improve. Your sincere appreciation should be given generously when it’s well-deserved. As the saying goes, “people who feel appreciated will always do more than what is expected of them.”

If team members only hear from you when you have something critical to say, you won’t have a loyal workforce comprised of people who take initiative to serve each other or their guests at the highest level. Without appreciation, your best team members will become disillusioned and will either lower their own standards of performance or seek another opportunity that promises to give them what they’re lacking.

No. 5: Make it fun!

Everyone wants to do work they enjoy with people they want to be around. In our business, fun is a given, but leaders also need to remember to keep work interesting. Help team members find something to love about the roles they play or the people they serve every day. Consider family fun nights, cleaning parties, photo contests and other ways to boost engagement and interaction among your staff.  You’ll improve morale and give them an energy boost that’s sure to spill over into guest interactions.

Consider this: a friend or loved one sends you a funny email or calls you with a fun story or joke.  When your phone rings with a new caller whose phone number you don’t recognize a minute later, do you answer with a smile or a scowl? The effects of being primed positively are immediate and long lasting.

No. 6: Be smart about payroll

Lest the elephant in the room gets any larger, let’s talk about pay.

Contrary to popular belief, more money does not necessarily equal more job satisfaction. Sometimes, a bit more an hour can make a big difference between paying rent or not, but few people have ever left jobs and companies they utterly adored just for a slightly bigger paycheck.

In reality, something else is almost always lacking, be it lack of or unclear advancement opportunity, an abusive boss or a role that’s unfulfilling. Offer competitive wages that show your team members you’re committed to their success, and then show them that it’s true. Actions speak louder than dollar signs.

The secret to team member success is out. Is your park an organization worth celebrating? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

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