How to Support Employees Using Pool Service Software
Your staff likely feels overworked right now, given the unexpected business surge this year in the pool and spa industry. Knowing that this trend will continue through the 2021 season, it’s important to consider ways to combat employee burnout. The last thing pool and spa businesses need is to lose valuable, trained employees – especially those well-versed in your pool service software.
There are many steps that small business owners and managers can proactively take to minimize unnecessary stress. In this blog post, we’ve broken down best practices to consider to maintain a positive and productive team of employees.
Prioritize mission-critical tasks (and eliminate those that waste time)
When employees are overwhelmed with tasks, help them prioritize the ones that are most important. Address the items that are mission-critical during your busy season, and delay the tasks that can wait.
Duplicate work can also cause stress and frustration. Some businesses lack a pool service software that eliminates double data-entry in multiple siloed systems. For example, if your cash register doesn’t integrate with your water-testing lab, employees will enter the same customer data twice, in two different systems. Not only can this lead to unwanted stress, but also a breakdown in communication and your overall operations.
Consider implementing an integrated pool service software system to enable employees to do their jobs without disruption.
Provide additional training and support
Lack of training for specific jobs can also lead to unnecessary stress and burnout. Does your staff have the resources and training needed to do their work? Employees that feel adequately supported are less stressed and more willing to go the extra mile. This should be part of the onboarding process, but should also be revisited regularly.
For example, register employees for virtual classes on water chemistry or hydraulics, or look for local CPO classes. Pay for the courses and adjust their work schedules as needed to accommodate.
In addition, many vendor partners offer free courses that are designed for busy pool and spa professionals. BioLab, Pentair and many others have webinar resources, online courses, and local representatives who provide training.
Pool service software providers also offer training to help employees stay abreast of software updates. This ensures they’re maximizing use of the software, streamlining businesses operations, and reducing time.
Shift employee duties and responsibilities
If a particular job is causing burnout, switch things up and support your staff in taking on new responsibilities. Consider simple adjustments that might make an employee’s work easier or less stressful.
For example, different employees have different skill sets. Figure out these areas and leverage them to help your entire team be successful. If an employee struggles with a particular task, shift and replace it. This will likely result in less stress, better performance, and a stronger outcome.
During the pandemic, it’s become increasingly more important to allow employees a flexible work schedule if needed. For example, with the right pool service software, employees can complete tasks remotely, such as purchasing and inventory control.
Many high-risk employees in our industry have worked from home, as their companies have the tech in place to enable remote work. This allowed these businesses to rapidly pivot despite COVID-19, and retain employees.
Integrate mobile technology
Adding mobile technology is a no-brainer and provides an ideal way for business managers to reduce employee stress and workloads.
Give staff members tablets and/or smartphones that connect to your pool service software. This is beneficial as it will enable employees to:
- eliminate the need to physically run to a terminal to look up inventory or check prices.
- provide better and faster service to your customers in real time with retail line buster features, including instant access to customer history and profiles
- complete sales transactions, process credit cards, and email receipts more quickly.
- optimize routes
- enhance customer satisfaction
As a manager, you can also avoid pestering your customer-facing employees by using your mobile device to access management reports. This will keep you connected to your pool and spa business, any time and anywhere. View charts and figures of your booked and delivered sales, deposit totals, and employee work shifts company-wide or per location. This helps ensure you, as a manager, aren’t creating additional stress for your staff.
Encourage in-office breaks and work-life balance
The long spring and summer hours working in a busy pool and spa store are intense, even for a seasoned professional. One of the easiest ways to immediately help reduce work stress is to encourage employees to take short breaks at work. Even a 10-minute break to get fresh air and walk can improve performance.
Consider also taking a break as a group. Look at simple activities you can do in the warehouse or behind the building, like yoga, meditation, or stretching. Ask members of your group for their ideas for team activities. Be sure to use your pool service software to create interoffice messages that encourage and remind people to take breaks!
Also, focus on quality versus quantity. If employees are getting their work done well and meeting goals, don’t balk if they leave early for the gym!
Practice what you preach, too, by modeling work-life balance as much as you can. Be aware of the signals you send with your work schedule and work habits. If your employees see that you devote time to your personal life, they will likely follow suit.
Because of the seasonality of the pool and spa industry, taking vacation during the summer is almost unheard of. However, this same seasonality makes it very easy to offer extended PTO in the off-season! Comp time can take on a whole new meaning for our pool and spa industry.
Working overtime can equate to weeks or even months of vacation in the winter. You can promote this as a perk, as it is a rarity in most other industries. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel!
Track hours (without micromanaging!)
Be aware of how many hours people are working. If someone’s hours seem particularly long, step in and encourage the employee to take necessary time off. Use the time-clock features in your pool service software to track how hours in the busy season. You don’t want hardworking employees to burn themselves out and become less productive.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, employees who take vacation are more productive in the office than those who do not.
Provide rewards, recognition and thanks
When your staff is worked to the bone, your first instinct may be to pay them more to keep them going. However, experienced managers know that money is not necessarily a top employee motivator. Make an effort to customize rewards and recognition for groups and individuals.
This can take the form of a comp day, a dinner out, or even just a thoughtful email. Pool service software’s interoffice messaging feature allows you to quickly send an encouraging note across the busy retail showroom.
Finally, check in on employees directly at their desk, office, or a private space. Show you appreciate them, especially during these hectic times. By showing you care, they are more likely to continue performing well and remain loyal.
Interested in learning about how pool and spa businesses manage employees better with RB’s pool service software?