Sprint Engagement – Part One

Sprint Engagement - Part One

It's that time of year again! Spring is just around the corner and most attractions are just beginning to ramp up for the busy season. In our attractions world, "ramping up" also means "staffing up" with seasonal hires to help us run the operation through August.
And so it begin your seasonal recruitment efforts, panel interviews, orientation, and on-the-job training. Finally, you and your shiny bunch of new hires are ready for a fantastic season. Everyone is happy, engaged, and eager to learn. But how do we maintain that energy, enthusiasm, and engagement throughout the dog days of summer?
In their book, Twelve: The Elements of Great Managing (Gallup, 2006), Rodd Wagner and James Harter present 12 essential elements that, when fulfilled, directly correlate with the highest levels of employee morale, productivity, and engagement. Over the next four weeks, we will explore three of these elements at a time, discussing in detail how we can apply them to our own operation. Below is a full listing of each of the twelve elements:
Knowing What's Expected (Week 1)
Materials and Equipment (Week 1)
The Opportunity to Do What I Do Best (Week 1)
Recognition and Praise (Week 2)
Someone at Work Cares About Me as a Person (Week 2)
Someone at Work Encourages My Development (Week 2)
My Opinion Seems to Count (Week 3)
A Connection With the Mission of the Company (Week 3)
Coworkers Committed to Doing Quality Work (Week 3)
A Best Friend at Work (Week 4)
Talking About Progress (Week 4)
Opportunities to Learn and Grow (Week 4)
Part One - The First Three Elements
Element #1 - Knowing What's Expected
Were you ever asked to perform a task that you had no clue how to do? How did you feel about it? Did you wing it or did you find someone to ask for clarification? It's never fun to have to guess at what's expected of us and it's even worse when leadership just assumes that their team should already know what's expected. Teams who clearly understand what's expected are happier, more engaged, and MUCH more productive.
Here are a few additional tips that can help in providing your team with more job clarity:
Start talking about what's expected during the interview - be specific
Continue talking about what's expected during training - be even more specific
Review what's expected every day of every shift-share examples when you catch people doing things right!
Set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and other individual metrics that can be specifically measured
Using these metrics, be ready and willing to coach, develop, retrain, reward, and/or retask your staff
Element #2 - Materials and Equipment
Just as your team needs to know what's expected of them, they also need to have the proper materials and equipment to do their job. Imagine being told to go and chop down a tree but then realizing that you had no access to anything that will do the job. Even if you know how to chop down a tree, having no access to something that cuts means you can't complete the job.
Productivity can also be stifled when equipment ceases to function properly. Have you ever wanted to just take a sledgehammer to the office Xerox machine? Me too. It never fails that the copier encounters a paper jam at the very moment that I'm up against a deadline. Murphy's Law? Maybe, however, keeping materials and equipment stocked and functioning properly keeps a team engaged, happy, and productive.
What happens when one of your staff members identifies an office supply or piece of equipment that, if purchased, would make their job easier, improve productivity, or positively impact morale? You'd think it would be a no-brainer.
My wife is a superstar at her job. She works as a Client Relationship Executive where she specializes in resolving technical issues for electronic hospitality transmittals. Recently, we realized that my wife may need to take extra time off from work to care for her elderly mother. After explaining the situation to her direct supervisor, her supervisor was able to get approval to purchase and set up a laptop PC so that my wife could work from home instead of missing days of work. (Her supervisor also recognized that not having my wife around would directly impact the team's productivity.) As in this example, when we can make reasonable accommodations for our team, it not only improves productivity but it also builds the trust account with the individual.
Element #3 -  The Opportunity to Do What I Do Best Every Day
The secret to unending success within any team rests in finding the "right fit" position for each member of the team. It's that sweet spot where everything just comes together-an individual's passion, skill, and ability-and blossoms into fruits of insanely high levels of engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity. I truly believe that it's our responsibility to find meaningful work about which we can be insanely passionate.
The author of Twelve: The Elements of Great Managing, puts it this way: "For the manager, the problem begins with a simple question: Who would excel in this assignment? But the more a manager delves into that question, the more it spins off additional puzzles. What makes someone succeed where others fail? Is it something innate, something she learned, or is she just trying harder? Can excellence in a certain role be learned? How fast and how much can people change? Can a job candidate be molded to fit the needs of the position, or is what you see during the first interview what you get?"[1]
In our world, the best sales people are really just people people. They are individuals who love being around and talking with other people. These individuals clearly understand each of the attraction experiences they are selling. They love to ask questions of the guest in front of them and then to listen for the answers they need to make an appropriate recommendation. Finding right fit individuals for your front gate team begins with identifying passionate people who can balance the fast-paced nature of the sales environment with the personal engagement of conversational selling.
Click here to purchase 12:  The Elements of Great Managing on Amazon.  More next week!
[1]Wagner, Rodd, and James K. Harter. 12: The Elements of Great Managing. New York, NY: Gallup, 2006. Web.

"To find your voice, you need to examine your natural talent, what you absolutely love to do, what really interests you. And you must listen to the confirming inner voice of your conscience that tells you what is the right thing to do."

- Stephen R. Covey