Achieving Leadership That Successfully Engages Staff—and Makes Money
Finding and retaining staff is an overriding priority for the amusement park and attractions industry these days. But just holding onto bodies isn’t enough. To achieve the industry’s financial and operational long-term goals, mangers need to successfully engage and inspire their staff on a continuing basis.
Ruby Newell-Legner, a guest experience expert with 7 Star Service, presented tips for how to do so in the IAAPA Expo session, “Engaging Leadership: Strategies to Make Your Employees Your Competitive Advantage.”
The secret to successfully engaging staff lies in caring about their feelings and taking action to make their working lives better. “It’s time to really make a difference in their lives,” she declared. “[Do this, and] they will make a difference in yours.”
Successful employee engagement starts with managers being personally invested in their own work, and then fostering a sense of investment in their staff members. When this takes place, the bottom line improves.
According to Newell-Legner, statistics show that having engaged employees leads to 22% higher profitability, 65% lower turnover—which costs employers $11 billion annually—41% fewer quality incidents, and 21% higher productivity. “That is why it is important to have this,” she said. “Seventy-one percent of employees are not fully engaged.”
Newell-Legner then cited five tips for employee engagement from “How to Win Friends and Influence People” author Dale Carnegie. These tips included senior leadership articulating a “clear vision” to all employees and encouraging them to openly comment on it, fostering a healthy relationship with employees, demonstrating to employees that they have an impact on their work environments, and that they are valued by their employers in order to foster a sense of empowerment within them.
Her talk detailed ways to engage amusement park and attractions employees, including fostering employees’ enthusiasm and sense of fun, empowering them to do jobs their own way, encouraging them to interact positively with others, and generally making them proud to work there.
Newell-Legner then stressed the critical importance of senior managers modeling these attitudes in their own behavior and job performance. “I do believe it’s up to every single one of us to be the example we want our employees to be.” she said. “And if you can’t engage, then maybe this isn’t the right industry for you because that’s what it’s all about: engagement.”