Navigating Labor Shortages

June 2022

Navigating Risk Management Trends: Labor Shortage 

The labor shortages are bringing about new risks in the sports and entertainment industries. Learn best practices to navigate your way through this trend safely. 

Many industries across the country are facing labor shortages, including the sports and entertainment industries. Having enough well-trained employees on staff can be key to providing a safe environment, maintaining reputations, and keeping operations running smoothly. Additionally, having happy, well-trained employees working has shown to improve the guest experience at sports venues, entertainment centers, and more. However, many employers have found it increasingly challenging to find staff members at all, let alone well-trained, positive staff members. 

Improving employee attraction often starts by instilling measures to improve employee retention. While there is no single strategy that will motivate each employee the same way, there are a few methods that have been successful for many venues. The key across all methods is to communicate well. Expectations should be clear to employees of what the rewards are of doing good work as well as what the consequences are of not following the guidelines. Listen to what the employees have to say. Learn what issues they are having in their positions and what best motivates them as it can help you understand and make good decisions.


Create a Positive Employee Culture

Culture is key. Creating a place that is an enjoyable and purposeful place to work can lead to better employee retention and attraction. Employee pay can be less important to job candidates than the work environment and treatment they think that they will receive in the role. Pay, of course, should be comparable to similar roles in the area. However, there should be a focus on other aspects and benefits of the job as well. Money and monetary incentives can be nice, but often do not have a lasting effect. A strong culture amongst current employees can be attractive to new job candidates and keep the current employees happy at work.

Many companies sacrifice satisfying employees to satisfy their guests and stockholders. This can leave employees feeling underappreciated which can lead to burnout and negativity among staff members. If you do not take care of your employees first, they often will not take care of your guests in return. The employees are typically the ones interacting with guests the most on a daily basis. Having unhappy employees can lead to unhappy guests which ultimately, can lead to a loss in revenue. A loss in revenue can lead to unhappy stockholders. Moral of the story? Start by taking care of the employees on your staff and watch the effects trickle down to all the other groups involved. 

Provide Opportunities for Growth

A lack of employees can lead to more closings and less revenue for the business. When there is less money available to spend, employee training is often the first cost that is cut. On the other hand, since there is also a lack of job candidates, it can be hard and sometimes impossible to find a candidate with experience and training in your industry. This would make employee training one of the most valuable assets of your organization. 

Sadly, we have seen time and time again the decision being made to skimp on the training to save money for other things. Training not only keeps the employees safe and teaches employees how to perform tasks that are critical to business operations, but it also can provide the employees with a sense of purpose and professional development that can lead to more employee satisfaction. 

Instead of cutting down on the training program, take the training program to the next level and get creative with it. Along with the basic training that promotes safety and well-run operations, include training for those onboarding that promotes professional development, provides leadership development, and instills company values. According to an article by Forbes, 69% of employees say they are more likely to stay with an employee for three years if they experience a great onboarding process.

Another way to provide opportunities for growth is to create ways to advance into positions with more responsibilities. Showing a clear path of advancement can give employees motivation and show them a future in the company. This can be done by creating supervisor positions or lead positions and rewarding hardworking employees with a promotion into these positions. 

Remember the 3 Rs of Retainment
  • Reinforce
  • Redirect
  • Reprimand

The 3 Rs can be a powerful tool when working to create a better culture. These simple concepts are easy to forget but can make a big impact when it comes to improving employee behavior. Reinforce positive behavior by rewarding excellence within your program. Give employees incentives to be exceptional at their jobs. By only rewarding and reinforcing truly excellent behavior, it will make the reinforcement seem more meaningful and authentic. 

Sometimes an employee may make an honest mistake that can be corrected with a simple redirection. The employee can be back on the right track when issues are quickly pointed out and corrected. However, when an employee is behaving in a way that is unacceptable and against guidelines, they should be reprimanded. Reprimanding holds the employees accountable and minimizes the chance that the problem will happen again. Reprimanding should be a way of discipline that focuses less on punishment and more on recognizing the issue and finding a way to prevent it from happening again. It is important to reprimand with respect and good communication. Employee discipline should always be documented in case legal action is taken by an employee or former employee. 

Know When to Say No 

There are times when the best thing to do is to make the hard decision to say no when it comes to your operations and employees. If certain attractions and activities at a venue cannot be staffed appropriately and safely, they should not be open. Operating understaffed has shown time and time again to lead to bad results. Safety should be viewed as a precondition to operations. Closing a ride, attraction, or activity can seem like a bad idea if looked at from a guest relations point of view. However, when safety is viewed as the precondition necessary to the operation, closing an understaffed ride will become the clear decision to make. 

Saying no may also be necessary is when it comes to people who do not fit your culture or the culture you are trying to create. Your organization might not be the best for everyone, that’s okay. One person can greatly damage the morale at your company and create a toxic environment for you, your staff, and your guests. Letting go of a negative employee can be uncomfortable, but often a relief in the long run.

This article was created for educational purposes to share general information. Consult a licensed professional in your state when seeking advice. See your policy or agent to view your specific terms, conditions, coverage, exclusions, products, services, and programs.


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