Flexibility has come to mean a certain thing in the working world these days. For cultural attractions, however, with many individuals on the front lines of hospitality and necessary in-person roles, it’s not quite as simple as ‘work from home’.
Our teammates recently had the opportunity to speak at GLMV Architecture’s thought leadership webinar series, ECHO, about what it means to be flexible across hiring, training, and recruiting in the cultural attraction space. Here are the top 3 takeaways from our time together.
1. The difference between building a career and having a job
In the hospitality industry, there’s not only a huge need for talent but also a lot of competition amongst companies vying for individuals applying. In order to differentiate yourself in an overcrowded market, SSA recommends positioning your cultural attraction as a space to grow a career long-term as opposed to merely having a job right now.
Having growth within one organization gives an individual opportunities to hone their skillset across the course of their career. It also allows them to find specific interests and a calling within an industry very focused on sustainability and diversity and inclusion efforts.
“When you have a market that is so competitive, you have to get creative in the ways that you reach talent as well. We tout the difference in the environment to our advantage. The career growth you can have here is a big selling point. We believe career growth is not just a vertical ladder but an opportunity to create a lattice style approach of what knowledge your candidate will have access to if they join your organization,” Jason Stover, SSA Vice President of People & Culture said.
2. Focus on the individual
Flexibility in hospitality looks a bit different than in other industries, and leaders should consider that accordingly. While many employees in hospitality won’t have the same ‘work from home’ benefits as their office-bound counterparts, that doesn’t mean leadership can’t find opportunities to provide flexibility on a case-by-case basis for each individual employee. For example, if a particular individual has a religious holiday or an important family event, management can find ways to make sure those events are enjoyable and stress-free for that employee.
Further, reimagining hybrid work specifically within cultural attractions is an untapped opportunity to perhaps provide individuals with a very specific background more flexibility in their career. For example, a zookeeper interested in pursuing both in the field and office work as they become more tenured in their career.
“We aren’t just hiring roles to fit a job. We’re hiring people. And how can we make the scheduling work for the team members we hire versus having them acquiesce to the schedule that already exists? There are ways to think differently about the work we do. And it’s there that you find new opportunities for flexibility for your employees,” Kassey Kampman, SSA VP of People Operations said.
3. Communication is king
As the future of work continues to shift, having open communication around the resources and benefits available will help your employees and your attraction grow together.
From mental health advocacy to potential future flexibility options, consistent communication is key to employee long-term happiness. Open dialogue around shifting behaviors and workforce trends as well as communicating the benefits of working at your organization will help employees continue to see value in growing alongside it.
“Communication and transparency are key. If you have multiple models of work, just make sure they are clearly written out. Put policies together and communicate the process to make it work for your employees,” Kampman said.
Find flexbility where it works for you
In order to stay competitive with future talent and keep current employees engaged, cultural attractions must continue to think outside the box about the benefits their workforce needs to thrive both in their personal and professional lives.
Learn more about the updated wellness programs and tools SSA is implementing to continue improving our employees’ well-being here.