Tips to Help Retain Skilled Seasonal Workers

shutterstock_604265024Finding, hiring, and keeping skilled workers takes a lot of work and money, and it’s getting more and more difficult. According to Tourism HR Canada, tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world—its potential growth is so great that the labour force may not be able to accommodate it in the future. Traditionally, tourism positions are filled by younger workers; Canada’s aging population is a growing threat for the tourism industry. Many operators in Newfoundland and Labrador are already experiencing the shortage and it can limit their potential for growth.

There are steps you can take to help mitigate the reduction in the labour pool by being an employer of choice: be the amazing boss for whom everyone wants to work, and provide an exceptional work experience unlike any other, thus ensuring you attract and retain top talent.

The key to providing a work environment designed to retain employees is to understand each of your employees’ individual needs and goals.

Create a work/development plan

Some employees may be interested in working toward a management role, while others may want to specialize in one area within the business. By discussing goals and creating a work plan in partnership with your employee, you create a satisfying work experience that will keep your employee coming back year after year.

Invest in your employees

Once you have had a discussion with your employee about their professional goals, it is important that you offer supports to enable them to achieve those goals. Offering time off and covering expenses for training or professional development will not only grow your employee’s skills, which will in turn be applied in the workplace, but will also create a sense of loyalty to you as an employer.

Create opportunities for career development within your business

Even if your operation is small or your budget is restrictive, you can create opportunities for career development. If your employee is looking for professional development, provide them with the opportunity to attend a conference or trade show. If they are looking to make connections with other professionals, which will enhance not only their network but your business’s as well, give them time off to attend a networking event in your area. If they are looking for leadership experience, give them a leadership role in planning an event, such as a charity fundraiser. Job shadowing or job sharing are both great ways for your employee to develop skills in new areas. If you look hard enough, there are always opportunities for you to develop your employees.

Help employees achieve work-life balance

The struggle of creating a balance between home life and work life has become increasingly important to employees. By offering flexible options like working from home, flex-time, compressed time, and flexible meeting schedules, you help keep your employees both healthy and happy, and decrease the risk of burnout. An employee is more likely to stay in a job that helps create balance than one that causes stress.

Involve employees in organizational decisions

Including employees in your company’s decision-making process, whether that means making them aware of potential changes early in the process or asking for input, makes them more likely to feel invested in the business. As Dale Carnegie has said, “People will support an environment they help to create.” An employee who is invested in the business is much less likely to leave a job than one who feels powerless and disengaged.

Reward and recognize

All employees need to hear that they are doing a good job. Whether it is a simple thank you, recognition of their work in a staff meeting or public setting, or a small token of appreciation, such as a gift certificate or day off, it is important that your employees know that they are on the right track and that there are areas in which they excel. However, it is important that you keep an employee’s interests in mind if you decide to offer them a token of appreciation. For example, a gift certificate to a steakhouse given to a vegan employee can actually damage an employee-employer relationship rather than enhance it. If you are not sure what to give the employee, don’t hesitate to ask them how they would like to be rewarded for their work.

Attract and hire the right person for the job

It is crucial to employee retention that you get the hiring process right. Ensure that your job ads and interview process identify your workplace culture and expectation for the job. Hiring a person who is not a good fit for your organization or the job can be more detrimental than having a great employee leave.

Most people have a few general motivators in common: to be liked, to feel safe, to be able to take care of their basic needs like food and shelter, to feel accomplished, and to achieve their full potential. If an employer can meet these needs, the employee will be motivated in their work. By meeting your employees’ needs and creating a respectful work environment that nurtures growth, you are likely to see lower turnover and soon star employees will start to emerge.


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