Small Parks, Big Heroes
Great employees can make all the difference, regardless of park size. Buddy Wilkes, general manager of Shipwreck Island Waterpark, and Kåre Dyvekær, co-owner of Sommerland Sjaelland amusement park, reveal what they do to attract and retain staff.
Treat Staff Life Family. “We love our kids, and we tell them so. We tell them we are family, and then we back it up,” says Wilkes. Shipwreck Island Waterpark will reward staff when they go above and beyond, garnering acclaim from guests.
Gather Between Seasons. Sommerland Sjaelland will hold staff events outside the traditional season for employees in an attempt to stay connected. “We go bowling, have a Christmas get-together, and try to inform them and keep them close and connected in a community so we get them back,” says Dyvekær. At Shipwreck Island Waterpark, employees are treated to visits to other attractions as a reward for hard work. “We have three major parties at places like WonderWorks, Dave & Buster’s, and Rockit Lanes. We also have a movie day or night at a local theater,” Wilkes says.
Tap Into Seniors. Dyvekær increased the number of seasoned citizens (age 65-plus) Sommerland Sjaelland hires to provide great service and make guests feel special. “We normally need to spend a minimum of resources teaching them what is good service. Just tell them, ‘Each boy or girl is your grandson/daughter.’”
Use the Family Connection. Wilkes says Shipwreck Island Waterpark has a talent pool that stretches generations. “The parents of most of our kids worked for us when they were teenagers, so they want their kids to work here as well.”