Nearing the end of the winter season now might be a good time to reflect on how you did in engaging your staff over the past winter. If you made an effort to reach out and work towards engagement, how did it go? If you didn’t reach out, how was your relationship with your staff?
We could debate this over a cold beer but the facts are that engagement works, and the benefits are tangible in so many ways. There are many variables to ponder, and not all engagement achieves the successful desired outcome. But, when you get it right, it does work to make things better.
The biggest challenge for mountain ops managers is how to make the seasonal employee feel their work is meaningful. Having value in what you do every day is the most dominate factor in whether swinging chairs or making snow is a ‘miserable’ job or one that the employee wants to get up and go to work.
There are volumes written on this subject from Harvard Business Review, Society for Human Resource Management, Simon Sinek to TinyPulse. Please research; don’t take my word on this. However, I will say the most sensible read I have found on this topic is by Patrick Lencioni. His book, The Truth About Employee Engagement, is a very easy read. I have included a summary of the book to hopefully get you engaged on how to look at the balance of the ski season and in your end of season wrap up on how engagement can help you be a better manager and raise the bar of performance in your department going forward.
The job misery model gives managers a framework and tools to engage, motivate and retain employees by eliminating the three primary causes of job misery: Anonymity, Irrelevance, and Immeasurement. At first, these three causes may seem obvious and easy to resolve. They often remain unaddressed by even the most well-meaning managers. Those willing to make the commitment will enjoy a loyal, productive and enthusiastic workforce that will be a differentiator in today’s competitive landscape.
People cannot be fulfilled in their work if they are not known. All human beings need to be understood and appreciated for their unique qualities by someone in a position of authority.
Everyone needs to know that their job matters, to someone. Anyone. Without seeing a connection between the work and the satisfaction of another person or group of people, an employee simply will not find lasting fulfillment.
Employees need to be able to gauge their progress and level of contribution for themselves. They cannot be fulfilled in their work if their success depends on the opinions or whims of another person.
Characteristics of Engaged Employees
Managers willing to address the three causes will experience engaged employees who:
- Find fulfillment, enthusiasm, and passion in their work
- Show more attention to detail
- Develop a sense of ownership and pride in their work
- Pitch-in in areas outside of their own responsibility
- Stay within the organization; thereby, reducing turnover
- Help attract other quality employees
I sincerely hope you take the initiative to read this book; it has relevance to what you do in mountain operations as a manager, supervisor, and coordinator. Engaging the seasonal troops is the easiest and best tool available to raise the level of service and improve guest satisfaction and loyalty.