By: Holly Hampton
So many times when I talk to our customers, their biggest complaints (in this day and age) are centered around staff. Finding good staff members, retaining them, getting them to care, show up on time, and, every now and then, go above and beyond when taking care of the ever important customer.
Staffing is difficult, especially with the turnover rates our industry experiences due to seasonality, part-time work, or even the ever dreaded Millennial 😉 we often hear so much about. As difficult as staffing can be, your people are your most essential ingredient to a successful business. You can have all the greatest games, best attractions, superior food and beverage and yet it’s your staff that impacts how your guests feel about their experiences, positive or negative. If you ever read any book or listened to any podcast on hospitality you’ll quickly know it’s about how your guests were made to feel. Your competitors can buy the same games, same attractions, and copy and paste the same menu but they cannot replicate how your employees served them, how they greeted them, took care of an issue, or smiled at them while they were doing a mundane task like taking out the trash. A leader to study on creating this hospitality IQ is Danny Meyer, author of Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business, but this article is not about creating a hospitable staff. It’s about creating a culture that is inspired. By working on solving the root of your staffing issues maybe we can minimize creating excuses why it’s so hard to staff. Staffing is hard, it should be. We are humans not robots, we are all unique, and we are a necessity in the workforce. But we all do share a few common desires;
- To be part of a team, humans are pack animals by nature.
- To feel loved and cared about, humans are relationally driven.
- To make an impact, humans have a desire to fulfill a greater purpose.
Any of us that staff businesses can take these simple human traits and leverage them to build a culture that inspires our workforce. It’s tough out there right now with unemployment rates so low and I don’t want to underestimate how difficult hiring is for our FEC customers. But we get the choice to make it easier on ourselves by building a culture that attracts and retains employees that are inspired to show up, on time even, do their best, inspire others, make your customers feel cared for, and hopefully recruit other amazing humans!
It’s not easy but it’s worth it. Here are some ideas that hopefully will inspire you to start to make the shift in your culture by focusing on your people first.
- Hire Hard. Create processes that will help establish consistency when hiring. Bring your best employees into the process, after all, whom better to hire than peers? They’ll be more invested. Remember we are pack animals – let your team help pick their pack!
- Teammate First, Leader Second, Functional Expert Last. This approach encourages teamwork at its finest. When you create a culture around the ideology that no matter what we do for the organization that we are all on the same team, it will break down barriers and build important the relationships we all desire. Make sure to take time for team-building and background sharing. We all have a story and even though some of us don’t think about it – we all want to have our story be heard.
- Give Back. Work on creating programs where your business and employees are able to give back time, talent, and treasures and try to do it together. Poll your staff to ensure you’re serving the greater teams’ interest to maximize participation. Helping others helps fulfill our desire for that yearning for greater purpose. Just imagine if we all did our small part!
These cultural ideas should be the foundation of any business that has human-to-human interaction. Yet they are often neglected as we focus on product, sales, branding, ROI, and other important requirements in running a business. Cultural and people development programs take time to develop, communicate and execute, yet a small price to pay as you start to see the shift in your culture AND bottom line.