A positive work environment has a workplace community. Think of community as the thread that ties your organization together through a shared sense of belonging. Community networks act as a support system, building rapport and trust amongst your staff so that they can work together cohesively. A sense of community helps your tour guides excel by giving them the support they need to wow your guests.
If you’ve read this far — chances are you care deeply about your tour guides and understand that it’s important to invest in and be supportive of those who are the face of your business. Workplace community improves employee happiness, and the happier your guides are, the more energy and excitement they’ll bring to the tour or activity — who doesn’t want that?!
Below are some guidelines to help you shape your workplace community:
1. Show you care
- Check-in: Establish recurring check-ins to connect with your team to see how they are doing, not just as employees but also as people.
- Be flexible: When possible, be flexible with your team’s schedules to balance life and work priorities. Allowing your team flexibility gives them autonomy, improving their overall well-being through a positive work-life balance and lower stress levels. In-turn, your team will be more likely to have high job satisfaction and be more loyal to your business.
- Say thank-you: You know your staff are AMAZING…so tell them! Your guides are on the ground floor, helping to make your tour or activity business a reality. Recognize that tour guide jobs aren’t easy and that a thank you goes a long way. Be sure to thank your team for both their daily work and big wins.
- Support growth: Help your team fine-tune their tour guide skills and support their professional growth by providing them with training programs and new responsibilities. Some of your guides may come back season after season and grow to take on supervisory roles or permanent positions within your company!
- Feed them — literally: The best way to your staff’s heart is through their stomach. It’s always been a way to bond with people. In travel, we always say if you don’t know someone well, have a meal with them, and you’ll know them better. Not only will your team appreciate this gesture, but it also creates a time to bond with other co-workers and yourself.
2. Improve communication
Communication is a huge part of any relationship — especially our working ones. Ask for and encourage feedback! It’s essential to understand how your employees are feeling and to make them feel like their thoughts are valued.
Sending an employee satisfaction survey is a low-cost effort to obtain important information about how everyone on your team is feeling. You can also get feedback in the form of an exit interview, which will help you uncover valuable information to help retain seasonal employees and, in the end — save you money!
Empower your tour guides by encouraging a two-way conversation between you. Two-way communication gives employees the capacity to ask questions and voice their opinion. Your staff hold valuable insight about your guests — use them to improve your operation!
Always remember to be clear and concise, give specifics in your communication, detailing your intentions. Clear communication will help your team take the correct actions towards providing guest service that will keep folks coming back for more.
Checkfront tip: When you meet with your team, give them your full attention — put down your phone, computer, iPad, and look them in the eyes. Make sure you watch for verbal and nonverbal communication and use empathy when acknowledging their feelings.
3. Create comradery
It’s important for everyone on your team to feel like a team player, working together towards a unified objective. Define your business values! Consider your overall mission and how it translates into your everyday operations.
Communicate your goals to your team to bind everyone together through a shared sense of purpose. When your tour guides understand what you want to offer to your guests, they’ll be more likely to deliver.
To build togetherness, think about engaging your team outside of the work environment. This doesn’t have to be in person, think about using virtual team building activities such as video call coffee chats, online game nights, and virtual water cooler sessions. Providing engagement opportunities creates a space to build rapport with one another.
Since you’re blending many different personalities, conflicts can come up. Address any known workplace conflict occurring amongst staff. Eliminating conflict creates stronger and more cohesive teams.
Lastly, promote and reinforce cooperative rather than competitive behaviour amongst tour guides. Set personal goals with the group rather than individual objectives. Team objectives will help all of your guides act as a cohesive unit, and hopefully eliminate the competitive mindset for time slots that promise the best tips.
4. Cultivate confidence
Your team should trust and understand your business decisions. Establish an open-door policy, ensure you’re always open and available to your staff. Exhibit transparency by over-communicating with the team, providing timely and informative updates. It’s important to set your tour guides up for success.
When you hire a tour guide, and they know what’s expected of them from the start — they will succeed! Where necessary, clarify primary responsibilities and ensure everyone understands how to succeed in their roles.
When employees feel like tour operators care about them, they will naturally want to do better work as a tour guide. Ultimately showing you care, while being open and honest about what you need will help create a natural, authentic community in your workplace.