A Common Issue Among Tourism Operators
It is no secret that finding employees in Prince Edward Island has been challenging for the last few years, especially in tourism. With the forecasted lack of workers, it makes it even harder for employers to hold on to their staff when the competition is this fierce. So now what? How do we hold on to our employees?
Despite the typical thought process of “money is everything”… this actually isn’t always the case when it comes to staff turnover. Employees leave for various reasons, however the most common being that the workload is too much, they do not feel valued, they do not see a future with the company, and/or there is a lack of communication or leadership for the staff. However, don’t forget there is also positive attrition too! When the loss/replacement of an employee is actually better for an organization.
HOW DO WE PREVENT THE LOSS OF VALUABLE HUMAN CAPITAL?!
The answer could be more simple than you think. By being an active leader in your workplace and working alongside your employees, you have the opportunity to make better connections with them and to understand them as people, as well as your employees. Being available and having an open-door policy for them if they need to speak is also an important aspect to a positive workplace, and it makes them feel heard about their issues both at work, and in their personal lives.
In 2017, the average tourism sector unemployment rate in PEI was 10.2%
– Tourism HR Canada Labour Force Survey
Another key point to address is ensuring each employee has a clear view of what their career could look like with you in the long term. By having a plan for employees and offering them constant opportunities to learn and grow, it fosters a positive work environment with distinct career pathways for all.
An approach that has also proven quite successful in analyzing turnover is exit interviews. For an exit interview to be successful, it must be handled with tact and confidentiality, and should never be done with the staff member’s immediate supervisor. This is because if there were to be a conflict with management, it would most likely be with that person, and the employee may not feel comfortable speaking their truth. A recommended format would be to use anonymous surveys, which can be done online, or with a third party such as a member of HR staff, if available.
The monthly tourism unemployment rate went down in June, 2018 to 4.5%, compared to June, 2017 at 5.2%.
– Tourism HR Canada
New Glasgow Lobster Suppers: Breaking the Stigma
As a seasonal operation in New Glasgow, New Glasgow Lobster Suppers prides themselves on their above average retention rate. As a family owned and operated business that has grown from a fundraiser lobster supper, to a must-do tourist attraction that is now in it’s 60th year, they must be doing some things right when it comes to their staff!
One of their techniques each year is to reach out to their employees from the past season with a letter early in the following year to ask if they would like to return to work with them for the upcoming season. By reaching out to them, they show the employees how valued they are and that they do wish to see them back again. These letters also provide employees a chance to provide feedback on last year and recommend how NGLS can make improvements.
New Glasgow Lobster Suppers is still owned by the original founding families; the MacRae’s, and the Nicholson’s, and includes three generations of family members on their current management team.
NGLS also focuses on fostering an environment of learning for staff by offering opportunities to advance. By hiring plenty of young workers, they see a lot of success in starting these employees in entry level roles and building them up over the season so that when they come back next year, they are ready to move up. This offers employees incentives to come back again and again to hone their skills and potentially establish a career with NGLS.
Mike Forrest, Executive Chef at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers, has recently seen more decendants of past generations who have worked at NGLS coming in to apply for positions because of the great experiences their relatives have had in the past.
“2018 has been a bit of a record for us, I’d say our retention is closer to 98%.”
— Mike Forrest, Executive Chef, New Glasgow Lobster Suppers
HOW DO THEY DO IT?!
Mike believes that it is the family values New Glasgow Lobster Suppers has to offer that brings people back year after year to work. With approximately a 95% retention rate each year, they are definitely on the right track!
Author: Brysan Cumming, TIAPEI HR Advisor
This project is funded in whole or in part by the Canada/Prince Edward Island Labour Market Development Agreements.