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Last Update: Friday September 22, 2017

Key Idea: Hire Part-timers

Tour guides love showing off their hometown and working only a few hours a week.   More...

Key Question:

A: 

Part time work can be perfect for many. Even as a business grows and prospers, part time workers best perform many jobs.

Q:  Why do the guides seem to like their jobs so much?

A:  Because it is not all they do with their lives. They have hobbies and children, and they don't want to be tied to an 8-5 job. The key to retaining great employees is to match your goals with the personal goals of the employee.

Q:
  Why do you think a part time worker would do many service jobs?

A: 
Service requires dealing with people and people are difficult. Service work usually requires more physic energy than physical energy. In the example of housecleaning and moving, this is not true, but think about the guides. They have 40 people with them on a tour. To create the perfect experience for each person demands that the guide be sensitive to everyone's needs. Think about the service personnel in a retail store. In our show about Le Travel Store, we learned that Joan Keller prefers to hire part time people with a "spark" and who love to travel.

This is because customers drain off our energy - especially grumpy customers. If you only have to work with people face-to-face four hours a day or twenty hours a week rather than 40 hours, you have a better chance of making them happy and keeping yourself intact emotionally.

Think of an actor. On Broadway they give typically eight performances a week. Most plays are two hours long and most actors are not on stage the entire time. Because "being on stage" is so demanding, this is all any one actor can do.

The tour guides are "on stage" which requires an intensity and it best done only a few hours a week. 

Think about it

Have you every used part-time employees?  Did it work for you?  Have you considered hiring moms who might only want to work during school hours?  Have you every thought about hiring seniors who only want a few hours of work per day?

Clip from: Meetings America

Salt Lake City:  Meet  Kathleen Barnes and Judy Cannon.  Both of them are in love with their hometown. And, both of them separately became part time  tour guides for the tiny destination management company, Sample Salt Lake.  Then, together these two became quick studies of business operations when the owner of the business asked them to take over. With their cadre of part-time and full-time guides and planners, they all love everything about this special place.

They bought the business and changed the name to Meetings America.  They grew strong enough to win the 2002 Winter Olympics as a client.  Then, unexpectedly,  the husband of one of the guides, Ralph Johnson, made them an offer they couldn't refuse! They sold the business!

Go to the homepage and all the video for this episode...

Meetings America

Judy Cannon, former owner

210 North Redwood Road
North Salt Lake City, UT 84054
8019949000

Visit our web site: http://www.visitsaltlake.com

Office: 8019949000

Business Classification:
Travel Services

Year Founded: 1984

Hire Part-timers

HATTIE: Right. Why do you work part-time? What about this organization is appealing to you? It can't be the money.

These women deliver the product MeetingsAmerica sells: a heightened experience, not just show-and-tell. They love this place, and they want you to love it, too. They are proud of their hometown.

Unidentified Woman #2: I love the place. I love Salt Lake. It's my home. I grew up here. I enjoy it now, so I love to have other people love it. And the second thing is I love people.

Unidentified Woman #3: The wonderful thing about the hours is that they are flexible; you can still be a mother, you can still be a good mother.

Unidentified Woman #4: One of the reasons I'm here is I'm an empty-nester, and this has filled my nest.

JUDY: We only select guides that are referred to us by other guides.

HATTIE: Oh.

KATHLEEN: We have never advertised for guides. We have never, you know, opened the door in terms of anybody.

HATTIE: OK.

KATHLEEN: They all come to us based on referrals.

Unidentified Woman #4: Jan was just raving about it, said it was one of the best experiences of her life. It was so positive. And my son's in high school, and I just want to do something part-time. And I love the people, and I especially love just the beauty of Salt Lake, just our natural resources. And these people are just so kind to you.

JUDY: We sort of give them a heads-up and say, you know, `We're looking for a few more to add to our guide pool.' And we get referrals from them.

WENDY: The granite for the building had to be quarried from a canyon about 25 miles southeast of here. It was a three-day round trip. After they were able to break those blocks of granite off by drilling holes and pouring water in and letting the ice freeze and cracking the stone away, they had to haul it down by ox cart. And it was a three-day round trip, and that's one of the reasons it took so long to build.

Unidentified Woman #6: Well, I'm a former schoolteacher, and so to teach about the history of Salt Lake is just an extension of what I have always loved. And I love meeting new people. I'm kind of an outgoing people person, and it gives me an opportunity to work when I want to work, play when I want to play.

KATHLEEN: If we're doing a major move where we need 40 guides, we have a vast pool out there of people who have worked for us who will step in for a special event and help us. One of the things we always establish, when we're hiring a new guide, is we tell them, `This is not a full-time job. This is not seasonal'--I mean, `This is seasonal.' If they are dependent on this for a steady income, this does not meet that criteria. So they understand right up front that this is hit and miss; sometimes they work,sometimes they don't. But it has a lot of appeal for people who have been doing a lot of volunteer service. This is like volunteering, only you get paid for it.

Unidentified Woman #7: We are, you know, hopeful that as you consider who you'll choose as your DMC, that you'll keep in mind that there's an interaction. And we, hopefully--of fun and magic you hate to say that you aren't, and we are. And if you like us, all the rest of the guides are exactly like us. And if you didn't like us, they're all totally different. And we...

KATHLEEN: (Voiceover) They have to be a people person. There are people out there that just love being around other people. And they have to have a little bit of stage presence, you know? They have to be the kind of person that likes to stand in front of a group and have an audience and...

JUDY: They have to have a sense of themselves that they're OK taking charge, they're OK making decisions, they're OK when they meet a situation where it requires flexibility. And they have to be comfortable with themselves in that regard.

KATHLEEN: We do not provide any canned scripts for them. We provide them with lots of information. And then we expect them to present the information via their personality.

Group of Women: (In unison) Come sample Salt Lake.

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