Oxbow Bend, Snake River

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

CoolWorks Fall Webinar Recap

With summer employers at the end of their seasons, and winter employers ramping up their hiring, we thought late September provided a great opportunity to bring seasonal HR professionals, managers and owners together for a community conversation. Fifty seasonal employers from across the country, representing 18 states and a wide range of industries, joined us for the Webinar. 

We had many conversations with a panel of ten employers to gather information while preparing for the webinar – both summer and winter employers – to learn what had transpired during summer operations and how winter employers were approaching recruiting in times of COVID. 

A few of the Key Takeaways:

The office manager at a guest ranch in Idaho shared:

  • Employees stepped up and “bonded BECAUSE of COVID, and bonded IN SPITE OF COVID.”

A summer camp Director in Maine talked about COVID19 Decision Fatigue. He shared that most days some decision had to be made in light of COVID. 

  • “Make plans and make decisions – don’t get stuck in “that didn’t go well” and then get discouraged – accept it as one day at a time and trust in your plan for the next opportunity.”

Along similar lines, a recruiter from a summer/ski resort in Colorado shared:

  • “Take one day at a time” – it can be so easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated – we’re all in this together! It’s about being creative and flexible and making it work” 

We also heard some great tips for Staffing Efficiencies:

From a Ski Resort in Idaho:

  • Marketing employment – making photos accurate is VERY important; showing staff with masks; what positions are you trying to fill? Be sure those positions are included in recruitment photos (i.e. – not all positions are the glory gigs on the mountain, so be sure to show pictures of realistic job opportunities).

From a recruiter in Yosemite: 

  • “Everyone was encouraged to “use all forms of communication to relay information – the “Town Crier” Method – post frequent/daily updates on employee housing boards, kitchens, bathrooms, send text messages, use Microsoft Teams / Slack, Social Media, phone calls – cover all bases so that employees are confident in having the information they need to live, work and play safely.”

We heard from several of the summer employers that they wished they would have staffed at their usual numbers. It was a busy summer out there! 

  • The recommendation: Shoot for full staff numbers. And consider that you may need MORE positions to provide for additional COVID cleaning and fluctuations if staff become ill. We learned that training looks different now as employees are in the position of having to enforce rules like never before. (e.g. limited number of people in stores; social distancing, wearing masks; no cash at registers). We sadly heard that some employers really struggled with guests not wanting to follow the rules. One summer employer outside of Glacier National Park said, Guests have been “mean” to a whole new level – even seasoned staff members were challenged. She found that encouraging staff to “debrief” after volatile or difficult situations, helped them. 

The summer employers who could moved many of their services outdoors, and they considered how that may have been the reason they were able to keep COVID positive numbers very low, and in most cases, non-existent. 

In closing, we all learned a lot from each other during this webinar, and it felt pretty great just to touch base after this long summer. 

We want to thank all of our panelists for being so honest and sharing their experiences. We were humbled by the level of transparency, and one more time we were reminded of how we truly are all in this together!

We look forward to providing more of these gatherings in the future, so we hope to see you then. Stay safe, be well, and know that your friends here at CoolWorks are here for you. Pick up the phone and reach out if we can ever do anything to support you, or if you could just use a quick break with a friendly voice at the other end of the line. We are rooting for you! 

If you missed it or would like to review, you can watch the September 30th Webinar in its entirety and view more in-depth data and takeaways by visiting the full Fall Webinar Recap page.