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Quality & Retention - Page 2

post #31 of 41
Yes Nolo, asociations are very Human. Community is even more important. Retention I think is more tied to community than asociation. "Uncle"
post #32 of 41
Thread Starter 
Ric--that's a great response. A great ski school is a great community. I would only submit, so is PSIA (for some folks).

Aunt. Hey, that reminds me, Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
post #33 of 41
attract and retain outstanding employees to my new ski school?

- invite everyone to an information night at my mountain

- do my homework about who are the "best" pros

- recruit some excellent pros and give them cash incentives to recruit other good pros to work with us

- ask the pros to help me build a training program with many components:
1. mountain knowledge and services
2. snow sports (school) offerings
3. train the trainer sessions (including customer service skills)
4. on snow clinics (including "make the skiers snowboard/make the snowboarders ski")
5. professional development seminars

- build a new hire training and a veteran training program (from the above work)

- define the requirements for all staff (clinic hours) with full explanations

- train/prepare clinic staff in advance of doing the clinic

- create and circulate a full season clinic schedule

- have a "comments box" and each week read what's in there and respond to the comments in a public/anonymous fashion - authentic responses will ensure authentic comments... people don't comment when they feel it's a waste of time

- have an "open door" policy between management and staff... supervisors need to be available and concientious

- implement peer, mountain, and customer appreciation programs for instructors (with monetary value)

- have kick-off meetings every season (rally the troops... let them know they are the heart of the department)

- have 1 or 2 mid-season meetings to check-in with all staff

- have wrap-up meetings every season (goal: to congratulate everyone for what went well and to build a plan for the next season for improved performance)

- make real efforts to improve from season to season (through listening to instructors and customers)

- provide as many opportunities to make more money and develop professionally as possible - be upfront with staff. show them the numbers and explain how we make profit and what we need to opperate.

as ski school director - I need to see my role as a liaison between instructors and customers. I need both to make money. I need both to be happy and well-served. (external and internal customers) I am responsible for a profit-center, so I have to stay centered between being "customer-centric" and "Instructor-centric".

That's just a start off the top of my head...

post #34 of 41
Being pretty new to this sport I'm obviously not an instructor, but I read these "instructor type" threads with great interest for a couple of reasons. One, being a coach associated with other sports, I see many similarities and, also, one day I may combine my new found love of this sport, with my love of coaching.

I think when you're talking about retention, even though it's discussed in general as it pertains to the industry as a whole, it comes down to each individual as to the reason(s) that they start instructing, and then either stay or leave. As to why people join the instructor ranks to start with, I think it's pretty clear that the common thread is the love and passion for the sport and the desire to share this joy with others. I think we can all agree that it's, with a few exceptions, not for the money.

As to why people leave, I think that many of the reasons are personal in nature (ie. family and other career commitments) that are outside the control of the industry as a whole. I think that these reasons aside, others leave because they feel like they are not getting anything back for the effort they put forward and feel that they are not appreciated by the specific resorts at which they are employed.

Having said this, I'm not surprised that Nolo's resort has overcome their retention problem with the approach that they've taken and I think the reason is simple. When a strong training program is in place, or is put in place, it cuts to the core and parallels the reason that people start instructing to start with. It provides an avenue that both improves the abilities of the instructors, and in turn enables the instructors to provide a better product to the student. I'm don't think that the fact that they're a non-profit resort has any affect on this at all. I see it as an organization that has recognized a problem and attacked it from the ground level. The result is, in my opinion, that instructors are staying because they recognize that they are experiencing personal growth in a sport that they love and the resort is behind them in their efforts to provide quality instruction to their students. It is, in effect, a win-win situation.

I apologize for the length of this and I'll jump back and observe those of you that have first hand experience with this matter. I just thought I'd offer an outsider's opinions/observations.

[ November 24, 2003, 07:02 AM: Message edited by: Coach13 ]
post #35 of 41
Thread Starter 
I agree, Sportscoach, and I think the training focus has important spinoff benefits, in being a great setting for relationships between instructors to build and thus form the community that Ric and I are part of, where people spend time with each other outside of the locker room, socially, you know, like friends.

Kieli's list is almost word for word what Bridger management conveys to its employees. For example, when my clientele became numerous enough to populate four classes from January to April, they made it a separate program, so I can run my little boutique program from within the ski school instead of going independent (and being ostracized from my community). I should add that they also gave me the option of launching an independent program at Bridger, not unlike the junior race program. That's an enlightened management!
post #36 of 41
Nolo, does it also help that it doesn't cost much to live around Bridger?
post #37 of 41
Thread Starter 
That's relative, of course, but to anyone in Cali, anywhere in Montana looks cheap. Bozeman has a lot to offer besides cost of living and that's the quality of (outdoor) life and the cultural enhancements of a university town.
post #38 of 41
What I'm asking is: is it affordable to live there on a ski instructor's pay? Because that would make it a rare place indeed.
post #39 of 41
Thread Starter 
Yes, it is possible to live on your salary as a full time ski instructor if you are at the top of the pay scale and have a good spring-summer-fall job. I know people who do it who I don't think have trust funds.
post #40 of 41
Ok, so there are enlightened ski schools out there. Conditions there see to favor instructors. What is the effect upon the customer? ...the ski area bottom line?

Are these a useful model to propagate to the rest of the industry (bearing in mind their major concerns)?
post #41 of 41
Thanks Nolo... gee this time you didn't give me hell for "sounding like a consultant".

have a great Turkey.
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