The struggle (for talent) is real

Signing bonuses. Increased wages. Expanded perks. All of this to attract more employees to our businesses to handle the pent up demand we were hoping for.

The demand is here, so where are the employees?

Some people say that the unemployment benefits are keeping people away. I don’t doubt that’s true. Some employees say they want to return, but new circumstances such as at-home school or child care availability is standing in the way. Again, no argument from me.

Either way, our tactics to rebuild our talent pool are likely based on flawed reasoning. The reasoning that starts with the question, “What do they want?”

At best, that’s a moving target.

The question we should be asking is: “what do they NEED?”

They NEED emotional security. They NEED physical safety. They NEED to know that you’ve got their back. They NEED to know there is a good reason to come back.

A signing bonus won’t give them that.

Remember, you don’t fight fire with fire. You fight fire with a fire extinguisher. So we can’t fight money with money.

Your fire extinguisher is your story, your reputation, your ability to look at what you provide and how you interact with your employees in a new way. Same old, same old ain’t gonna cut it.

We talk all the time about how a good story will engage our guests. How we need to create immersive experiences for people to feel a part of our attractions so they’ll keep coming back. Why aren’t we applying that same logic to employees?

Because it’s harder and we don’t know how to do it? Oh, and we’ve never done that before? Time to change that.

How? I’m glad you asked.

First, look at what every human on the planet needs from an emotion standpoint. We all need three things: Attention, Connection and Purpose.

Attention – positive attention that tells people that they care about us.

Connection – interactions and relationships that make us feel whole and that we are part of something larger than ourselves

Purpose – a reason to get up, get out of bed and make the world a better place.

Related Video: Attention + Connection = Retention. Originally released March 31, 2020… hint… still valid today.

Those are building blocks of your story.

One way to put it together is to work with your marketing team (internal or external) to craft a story that can be told over many channels (most likely social media) that will touch and engage your current and potential employees. Work to create an emotional connection that ranks higher in someone’s mind than their unemployment bennies.

Maybe there is a partnership you can forge if you already work with an attraction design firm to help craft and create a story, and find a compelling way to bring that story to life. That’s what they do everyday for your guests.

Lastly, look at the services you provide your teams. If, for example, enough of your employees say they can’t come back because of child care issues, step up to the plate and help them find a solution. We find solutions to those kinds of things all the time. And if it helps bring back a significant part of your workforce, how can that NOT be good for business?

You don’t just WANT your employees to come back, you NEED them to. So think about what they NEED to make that happen.

Thanks for reading!


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