4 reasons fairs and carnivals need employee training programs
The demand to get out and have fun is a top priority for the public this year, which means carnival, fair, and festival owners are ramping up this summer and fall and need to hire quickly. For owners and operators, there is a lot of work and planning to go into recruiting and training staff — the most important of which is safety.
Developing an effective employee training program — no matter how big or small your carnival or fair event — can be crucial to a successful season. Again, the top priority should be to create consistent and robust safety practices for employees and guests. Well-trained staff are your best defense against accidents and keeping your facility as safe as possible.
Benefits of training employees
Boosts morale: Investing time and resources into your staff shows your team they are valued and will lead to more confidence and productivity. Employees will be more likely to stay on top of day-to-day changes for the event and safety standards. An employee training program can identify or address specific problems and work toward a solution, showing your staff the business is invested in their success and growth. The more skills owners and operators or their supervisory staff teach, the less they will have to check in. Employees who can be independent with little micromanagement are typically more efficient and happier.
Decreases employee turnover: If staff is valued and trained well, you’ll be less likely to lose employees in the middle of a season, and they will be more likely to return the following season. While it can seem like an extra cost, the return on investment outweighs any negative.
Developing an effective employee training program
Owners and operators need to identify what goals they would like to accomplish, both short-term and long-term, for their business. If an employee training program is already established, it’s essential to reassess seasonal needs. For instance, COVID-19 forced many owners and operators to change and add safety protocols for staff and employees to reopen in 2021.
- Assess training needs: Putting on a carnival or fair requires a lot of training in different areas such as admission, ride attraction maintenance and safety, guest services, and more. Additionally, employees need to practice food safety and potentially be updated on local and state certifications for food and beverage handling. All staff needs to be aware of safety protocols and how to report and document incidents.
- Create an action plan: A well-documented plan to determine what activities will help your staff perform the task takes time upfront to create, but it will be invaluable as your carnival or fair business grows. Create content, pull resources, and find ways to incorporate different learning styles into your training to meet the individual needs of your staff. Integrate reading materials, slideshows presentations, and, if available, e-learning options. For example, hands-on demonstrations can engage team members and show real-life examples of safety protocols in action.
- Define specific roles and objectives: If possible, pick one or a couple of key staff members to oversee the planning and executing of your training initiatives for employees and volunteers. It will ensure a point person should questions arise or adjustments need to be made to the program.
- On-going training and evaluation: Once your carnival or fair is open, training needs to occur continually, even for returning employees. Employees can stay ahead in your industry for skills development, you can fill managerial positions with internal hires, and staff can keep pace with the fast-paced nature of the event.
Obtaining feedback from employees encourages trust that you believe in their growth and value their opinions. Evaluations should always occur, but especially at the end of the season, to determine what was successful and if objectives were met. Owners and operators can identify weaknesses and improve upon them for the next carnival or fair event season.
- Documentation and retention: It is imperative that you document all employee training and retain records demonstrating that your training program is consistent and repeatable. Evidence of operator and employee training is critical should it ever be called into question after an incident or by authorities.
Even with the best employee training program, accidents can and still do happen. Your carnival, fair, or festival needs to be prepared. At McGowan Allied Specialty Insurance, we insure amusement and entertainment businesses to provide specialized services and long-lasting partnerships.