Your guides are your biggest asset. It is usually this person who represents your company during an hour-long walking tour, a canyoning tour, a night dive or even a 3-day, 2-night excursion. They're the ones who can make or break your company so you want to make sure that you're keeping your staff motivated throughout the season.
In most companies, mid-year reviews are a normal practice. It's an opportunity to pause to assess a person's job satisfaction, performance, reassess goals and responsibilities, and realign day-to-day work with the individual's and the company's overall career goals.
In the tour and activity sector, this might be touted as something overly rigid or too "formal". Avoiding this type of exercise might be the very reason why your guides are working in the sector to begin with.
However, I believe that it's good to have a structured and intentional conversation between an employer and the employee about performance, goals, and future ambitions. It's also a good way to make sure everyone is on the same page at an individual, team and company level.
What to prepare before the session?
Think about the qualities you deem essential for a guide to be good at their job. Do they possess these qualities? Do they regularly display these qualities? How can you assess these qualities as objectively as possible?
Here are some qualities to consider:
- Ability to think on their feet
- Quality of service (could base this on the number of reviews mentioning this guide)
What other technical skills do your guides need to perform their jobs? Are there specific certifications they need to obtain to get to the next level? If so, can you as their manager or employer, help them out?
Here are some other things you can quickly prepare beforehand:
- Take stock of all the work they've been doing so far and make a list of all the projects and activities they're involved in.
- Make note of their performance since the start of the season. If you work in a large company and notice that this person works with a lot of different teams, make an effort to ask for feedback from other people your guide regularly interacts with.
- Make an agenda for the session so that you don't forget about what needs to be covered.
It would also be good to ask your report to think about 2 - 3 things they would like to accomplish at work before the end of the season.
During the review, remember to cover these topics
You can choose to have your review session in a more laid back setting, for example in a cafe, if you prefer.
Then, start off by running through the agenda for the review so that both parties are clear about what needs to be discussed. Also, make room for your report to add other items to the agenda.
During the session, remember to also discuss:
- Areas for improvement and steps to get there
- Suggestions on how you, as a manager or employer, can improve to better support your staff and guides
- Actionable steps for both parties to take
- Deadlines for these steps to be implemented
Remember to make notes of the session so that your fruitful discussion is not forgotten.
Afterwards, make sure to follow-up
A review is pointless if there's no follow-up and both parties are not held accountable for their progress. The first thing you should do after a review is to summarise the notes made from the session and send them over to your report to make sure no one forgets what was discussed and agreed upon.
Remember to include the following:
- Notes taken during the meeting
- Actionable steps
- Highlight deadlines
- Additional resources mentioned during the meeting
Over the next few weeks till the end of the season, hold each other accountable for the things you agreed about. You can have weekly 15-minute check-ins or simply update each other via email or WhatsApp.
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