Truth be told, I’m not big on actual New Year’s Resolutions, as they rarely last. What I am a fan of is when we we truly commitment to what we believe in. And if you believe in your employees, there is no better time than right now to recommit and RESOLVE to support and guide them.
I will soon be sharing more of my observations during #CNC17 (Coaster Nerd Con) in which two buddies and I visited 7 parks over the last week, but what I can tell you now is this: the parks with the more visibly engaged management teams also had the best performing employees.
This really shouldn’t be a surprise if you have been following my rants about employee burnout for the last few years. A leaders’ engagement has a direct impact on how an employee feels about their job and to what lengths they will go to be good at it.
The graph below shows what I have found to be the trend when tracking employee engagement. Managers start off strong as employees are coming on board and the season is ramping up. As the season gets into full swing, if the management team disengages with employees or spends less time guiding and coaching them, employee engagement (morale, enthusiasm, energy) suffers (and it’s REALLY hard to get back).
Now, let’s not confuse leadership engagement with being busy – they are two different things. You can be doing a lot of stuff with very little time left at the end of the day. But, are you doing the right things? Are you taking an active role in the continued development of your team? Are you looking for and evaluating possible candidates to be in leadership roles next year? Are you eliciting suggestions for improvements from your staff?
Heck, are you just out there with your team so they can see you? At a few of the parks we went to, we didn’t see ANY management presence for about 90% of our day – and we were looking! You can’t say you are engaged and only spend 10% of your time (if that) in the actual operation.
Contrast that with the parks that had engaging, service minded employees. You saw a lot of this:
That is a manager at Six Flags Fiesta Texas picking up a piece of trash. We saw this ALL DAY LONG there. It made me, as a guest, want to pick up trash, too – which I did! They were setting a great example, and the employees (and guests) were following it.
Now it’s your turn. What is your resolution? What are you going to commit (or recommit) to that will help your employees feel supported and engaged?
If you feel so inclined, leave your resolution in the comments or email me here. Would love to hear what you are committing to!
Distinguished author, speaker, and industry veteran Matt Heller can sum up what he does in three simple words: Helping Leaders Lead. Matt’s firm, Performance Optimist Consulting, has worked with some of the largest attraction operators in the United States, including Six Flags, Cedar Fair, Universal Studios, Apex Parks Group, and Herschend Family Entertainment, along with countless other parks, zoos, museums, and aquariums. Matt focuses on leadership development, guest service training, eliminating employee burnout, and reducing turnover.