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As we know, today is a new day in how we operate in almost every way. However, our problems have not changed. We all still losing the majority of our staff in the middle of September, rely on our “please don’t get sick” opening guards, and then some.

While I do not have answer as to where all the great aquatics employees have gone — possibly other jobs — Gen XYZ, society, etc, I do have ways to help us build some new heroes for the new era.

By systemically enhancing your team’s hiring, educating, recruiting and onboarding (H.E.R.O.) processes, we can not only increase our aquatics employees retention, but also their overall ability to be great in the time of need.

Hiring

Think about a car wash — it’s the same experience every time and the machines work in harmony. Can you say the same about your staff? Does your new employee obtain all steps in the process the same way as the last? From filling out the I-9 online versus on paper, to asking if all new employees get a welcome, to the team letter and contact list acknowledging who to call for what issues.

Educating and Engaging 

Define what three to five things every staff member must know on Day 1, by the fifth shift, etc., and define ways for each employee to learn about, and join the team. Examples include a mentor program, “get to know you” letter or welcome meeting on Zoom with other guards.

Recruiting

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. What is the first thing an applicant sees about your pool when they are thinking about working for you? Is it testimonials from other staff about how awesome it is to work at your pool? Is it a picture of the nice, clean and warm water? Keep this in mind so when someone does apply, you can send a nice, personalized, yet automated response thanking them and telling them about important parts of the job. These are all ways to ensure you’re telling your story in your own way to your audience.

Onboarding

“I just need a lifeguard in the chair.” This is something I’ve said countless times. Just because they have guarded a few shifts for you or come certified doesn’t mean they know what to do in your pool. The key is to recognize bringing on a new team member is a process and should be treated as such. It is not an overnight solution. The warm body sitting in the chair may be the answer today, but in the long run it will cost us, and we know it.

Let’s make some more heroes together.

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Wesley King

Wesley G. King, FMFA is the owner and founder of Wesley King Consulting, LLC.

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