IAAPA Expo Europe Leadership Breakfast Brings Insights
It’s no secret businesses worldwide have struggled to attract and retain motivated employees, attractions included. How do you attract the right people into an organization, and how can they be transformed into brand ambassadors? At IAAPA Expo Europe 2023, these topics were discussed at the annual Leadership Breakfast.
Authority Versus Authenticity
Nora Lamac, managing director and co-owner of the Wiener Riesanrad, one of the oldest operating Ferris wheels in the world, located at Prater amusement park in Vienna, says she had to reevaluate herself. Lamac shared her experiences of being a fourth-generation owner and managing a family-owned company.
“For a long time, I thought I needed to be different or tougher in order to be a successful leader and to keep the Ferris wheel alive,” Lamac told attendees. This was the management style that her ancestors passed down from generation to generation. When the pandemic hit, Lamac took the opportunity to become a more authentic and kinder leader, rather than an authoritarian one. Because of this change of heart, the organization now has a flat hierarchy where everyone feels valued and part of the family.
François Fassier, vice president of leisure and destination at Compagnie des Alpes (CdA), operator of several European theme parks, spoke about the challenges of maintaining the same work culture across different countries. “Each park is unique, each product is unique, and each catchment area is unique,” says Fassier. Because of these cultural differences, CdA has faced obstacles regarding turnover, guest satisfaction, and employee wellbeing. Fassier and his team learned an important lesson from this realization: “We are not able to be guest-centric without being employee-centric.” As a result, CdA now puts employee satisfaction on the same level of importance as guest satisfaction. Since implementing this new strategy, the company has seen major growth across various KPIs, including revenue, staff wellbeing, and guest satisfaction.
Recognition and Rewards
Work culture expert Christine Armstrong illustrated lessons she learned while researching the “world of work” that can be applied to the attractions industry. Armstrong noted that businesses should be prioritizing employee wellbeing and recognizing their contributions, instead of placing the emphasis on increasing revenue. Christine states: “If you have got high turnover and you’ve got understaffing, you’ve got low ability.” She adds that all employees must be recognized for their work by their leaders, for example, hiring from within. By recognizing and rewarding employees, attractions can be poised to create successful and satisfied brand ambassadors.