3 thoughts on “Another question!!

  1. After discussing this with Jason a couple weeks ago I began to brain storm, and like you Matt, I found there are many pro’s and con’s when it comes to recruiting retirees that have decided to enter the work force once again. There is one thing that wasn’t mentioned that I thought I would bring up. The amusement industries frontline team members and a majority of their supervisors (and in my case managers) tend to be very young. The problem this poses is that many of these retirees were professionals and most likely worked with colleagues that were around their same age their entire career. Maybe you can tell where I’m going with this (respect your elders,) but in this day and age things have changed. Maybe it’s due to an increase in the number of broken families, the content on T.V. and the internet, or Marilyn Manson (he’s easy enough to blame things on,) but what it leads to is the weakening of our core values. These retirees have been around a long time and have seen it all. They have the belief that the younger generation has a lack of respect. So, when they do enter the work force once again there is an abundance of younger co-workers and managers/supervisors that they are dealing with. I have found that I encounter resistance during trainings, orientations, and various other situations where the older generation is getting directions from the younger generation. I have found there are a few keys to countering this; first listen with respect, get input and opinions, and finally ask. Ask for their advice; don’t dictate because you will get a shut down. By doing this you are giving them the sense of a little control in the situation. They don’t feel like they are being told what to do and eventually a mutual respect will blossom.
    As for the Pro’s and Con’s of International students there are many once again. The biggest is that for seasonal parks they are a lifeline. Funtown Splashtown USA is usually open until the second weekend in September, and most U.S. students have to return to school or begin sports camps by mid August. There’s also the reliability factor (you remember being a kid and your friends saying “hey were going to the beach today, skip work.” Your answer 50% of the time on a 90 degree day was probably “yes!!”) With international students they are here to make money, most have to repay their parents for the trip, and they are 3rd or 4th year college students so they are more reliable. Also, we know where they live!
    Some of the cons would include language barriers, cultural differences, work ethic as found with certain countries, grooming practices, and the popularity of parties and the night life.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Ben

  2. In reference to which generation to hire, I have had the opportunity to see both at one time.

    As you already know I work at Six Flags St. Louis and have been there for 7 years now. This park hires a majority of 16-22 year olds. The older generation tends to be in your more low-key departments or Admissions. Where as Operations and Retail tend to be more your high school and college kids. However, getting the chance to intern at Silver Dollar City made me see a whole different side to this. They have people across the board in age, but I would say your majority is 50+ year olds.

    I have read the responses and questions in the web-site here, and I agree with everything said. In my experience I think each generation just tends to have their own people who are going to do their own things. I think it also depends on the company as well. Working for Silver Dollar City they are very rich in their traditions and people from around that area love working there and have stuck around for years and years (more than any other theme park I’ve heard of). They still hire plenty of college students and mid-20’s adults for positions. What I saw there though was a decrease in normal call in- rates, issues arising as far as personal lives, and decrease in overall follow up and coaching. This is not to say they didn’t have their problems, but it did seem more calm and run smoother. However they are a smaller park than the Six Flags I am used to, and again they have a very rich tradition going on.

    Being at Six Flags though, I have to say, I have worked with some of the hardest working and dedicated teenagers and college kids I know! When they set their mind on something they will do it. Now there was your group of bad apples as well where some days you wonder why they even work in the first place.

    I think the younger generation will go through its cycles of good and bad employees, but if you want to have people with new, fresh ideas to change some things up, then the younger generation can definitely accomplish that! The older generation has some great ideas as well, but like mentioned before, they can be set in their ways and not see new ideas that can improve the company without changing their vision. I worked with, and still do work with some friends from school here at Missouri State, where our managers at Six Flags loved us because of our ideas, drive, and passion for the industry and wanting to help improve the work environment. The con to that is though, they know some of us want to move on to bigger and better things and may not stick with the company in the long run. Working at SDC, the loyalty of the older generation is, however, unmatched to anything else I have seen. They constantly talk about the next season, and the years past, and how much they enjoy it. They have the idea of sticking around until… well who knows! And that is great as well because, I think, you can save a lot of money on training and coaching because they know their ways around the park and its policies.

    I could go on and on about this issue and the quality of employees to hire, but I do think ultimately it does come down to the company, the training, and the supervisor team that is watching the employees. If you have the right mix it can be an amazing season, or sometimes things just dont come together like you wanted them to and you work with it.
    Thanks!

  3. Great perspectives from all, it’s interesting to hear different ideas and opinions as well as real-life situations. While I don’t deal with hiring directly, It seems like the actual hiring process is very essential in creating a great working team.

    Speaking candidly, I think one of the weaknesses our park has faced in years past in being too easy in the hiring process. It has been expressed around these parts that with the way the economy and business situations have been lately, that maybe companies can be more selective in who they hire. While this may seem a little “cold”, I think that being selective in who you hire is always a good thing, the questions should be more than, “can you make someone smile?”

    Obviously, every company has weaknesses and i do believe that with the right plan, weaknesses can be turned into strengths!

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