Improving communities through sport

Leading, Engaging, and Retaining Staff at a Sports Facility

Recreation Center Pool Staff

Guest post written by Cameron Connelly, Content & Research Coordinator, The Sports Facilities Companies. 

The best feature of a state-of-the-art sports facility isn’t always the facility. Sometimes you come across an employee that is so talented or has such a good personality that their presence alone gets guests to come back again and again. Finding someone like that and convincing them to come work for you can sometimes feel like an impossible task. But that perfect employee is out there, you just need to keep looking for them. And while you search, it is important that you provide your current staff with the training and support that they need to become that perfect employee you are looking for. You may realize that that person you were searching for was under your nose the whole time. This is why it is also important for you to work on staff retention.

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Challenges Faced in Hiring & Retaining

The “Great Resignation” that happened following the COVID-19 pandemic has left many facilities with a skeleton crew of employees to run their ship. One of the biggest problems most facilities are facing now is getting people to fill all those empty spaces. The main reasons that so many people left their jobs in the past few years are low pay, limited career advancement opportunities, and limited remote work options. Sports facilities need to provide current and prospective employees with a great work environment and to highlight career advancement opportunities at your facility.

Hiring Best Practices

Hiring the right person for your facility is an important part of making sure your programs foster a positive environment for young athletes. While it is good to weed out any bad candidates, remember to keep an open mind. Hiring someone will increase your labor costs, but even hiring a less qualified person is still better than having to close your doors due to a lack of employees. To attract as many candidates as possible, be sure to recruit from any local high schools and colleges in your area, go to local job fairs, use social media, or even take advantage of the many hiring engines available today. Also, consider using hiring bonuses or end of season bonuses to make your offer stand out in a crowded marketplace.

How to Build a Thriving Work Culture

While offering a bonus is effective at attracting candidates, it won’t help to retain them. The best way to retain employees is to provide them with a work culture that allows them to grow. One of the most popular leadership experts in the world, John C. Maxwell, said that “There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them”. So, once you have recruited employees to your facility, make sure to start trusting them with responsibilities that will help them to develop their skills and grow confidence in their abilities. As they grow, offer them opportunities to work with the individuals above them so that they can gain experience and figure out what areas that they need to improve in for them to move up in the future. If you find that an employee isn’t growing or handling responsibility the way that you hoped or expected, avoid criticizing them in front of their peers. Employees should receive constructive criticism privately and be praised publicly. This allows them to work on their flaws without the added anxiety and embarrassment that comes with a public reprimand. It also highlights the good work that people do so that all your employees know what to strive for.

If you are having difficulty recruiting and retaining staff at your facility, then try implementing some of these suggestions. If you are overwhelmed with the management of your facility, then you may be interested in our outsourced management solutions. The Sports Facilities Companies offers turnkey solutions for facility operators that can improve financial performance of the facility and relieve you of the stress that comes with facility operation. If you are interested or have any questions, then feel free to contact us or give us a call at (727) 474-3845.

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