SPEAK OUT -- CAPITAL IDEA: INVEST IN YOUR STAFF
Subordinates with dependable decision-making ability and problem-solving skills are becoming increasingly rare. Wouldn't it be nice to hand over completion of a task at shift change and be confident of the outcome? Yet, when we do find a good staff member willing to go the extra mile, what do we do? We ask them to go three extra miles (for an extra 50 cents an hour, and perhaps benefits). There is an alternative: hire the right staff and pay them appropriately. A well-trained and properly-paid staff not only takes better care of your equipment, it can also improve productivity-both of which translate to the bottom line. Some resorts have sought the best of both worlds by bringing in contract labor for snowmaking and grooming operations.
"Loss of production while training inexperienced staff, and additional income from a consistent opening with a good early season product, can easily overshadow the cost of hiring a professional team," says Nick Horgan, owner of Seasonal Labor Solutions.
The current economy provides a great opportunity to attract qualified employees who might have been overlooked in the past-people who may be overqualified for the job but who will bring skills and a new set of eyes that may help improve your operation. This would require a commitment to retain these personnel when the economy turns around by offering increased pay and benefits to those who prove worthy.
Let's make our industry a place to build a career again, instead of sucking the life out of people and driving them away. There has always been a tradeoff of less pay for increased pleasure benefits in our industry, but if employees are so overburdened in their jobs that they can't enjoy the benefits of living and working in the mountains, the monetary sacrifice isn't worth it. Sure, make your employees earn their wage, but give them something to earn and time to enjoy it all.