5 Employee Recognition Hacks for Indoor Climbing Gyms

CWA Blog,

Employees in indoor climbing gym

Our first and most important shareholders are our employees. Improving the atmosphere at work by promoting employee morale and buy-in positively impacts productivity and business success, so we will explore the value of recognizing our co-workers.  

In February of 2022, Gallup published results from a poll that cited pay increases and well-being as two of the top 6 attributes employees are looking for in their work.   

Significant changes to wages—whether hourly or salary—is a much larger fish to fry, so we’ll be saving that delectable entrée for a later date. In the meantime, there are multiple other avenues toward a happier, healthier workforce worth pursuing. 

Recognizing an employee’s efforts can take various forms, both tangible and intangible. When someone goes above and beyond, provides a crucial last-minute cover, or otherwise personifies the perspective and attitude our climbing gyms prioritize, we should acknowledge this behavior in some manner.  

By keeping a slate of pre-loaded gift cards on hand, these can be offered to staff as a sign of our appreciation. One better, we can empower our managers to facilitate this transaction to simultaneously increase their stake and investment in the workplace.  

When we call out an employee’s notable work, be sure to do so in a manner attuned to their preferences: approach the individual and inquire as to whether they would prefer public or private praise or build this question into your interview and onboarding process (many candidates will likely find such a question novel and encouraging).  

READ ALSO: How To Avoid High Turnover in Indoor Climbing Gyms

After all, we undo our good intentions if they are delivered against someone’s wishes. 

Hold regular meetings with all stakeholders, or minimally with the managers and leaders. These informal discussions can cover a wide breadth of topics, giving you ample flexibility and freedom to build them around your needs.  

By discussing upcoming events, highlighting needs, or asking for opinions on potential changes that impact staff, to name a few possibilities, we consciously promote employees’ stake and job satisfaction while empowering them to make an active difference day-to-day.  

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes that new hires experiencing good onboarding are more likely to retain their employment with said company, and that their productivity is significantly higher.  

A key component of good onboarding is a roadmap that outlines initial expectations for both the employer and employee, as well as highlighting growth opportunities. This sets the immediate tone that the employee’s new workplace is invested in their development, and that their role in the climbing gym can become so much more should they invest in themselves at work. 

Providing a roadmap is an implicit commitment on our part to help cultivate an employee’s learning while strengthening the business’s ROI. It empowers the employee to pursue growth via their own initiative, simultaneously signaling to leadership to continue nurturing invested staff development. 

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Recommended for inclusion in any roadmap worth its salt would be the guarantee of six-month evaluations. If a new hire is underwhelmed by the proposed starting wage or salary, the application of a specific date when we will evaluate them indicates our commitment to them and their development. Holding these meetings at regularly occurring intervals will go a long way to retaining even our part-time staff. They also fall in line with our dedication to recognition and our investment in our stakeholders. 

When it comes to work performance, productivity, and longevity, the carrot is far more effective than the stick. As a leader, we must embody the values we espouse in our company’s mission and reinforce through our company’s culture.  

Honesty, empathy, respect, and service are qualities that will resonate with our co-workers and allow us to positively influence our peers toward realizing the same goals and illustrating similar qualities. When considering the promotion of new leaders within our organizations, consider their self-awareness, social empathy, response to criticism, and other principles we desire to cultivate. 

Sincere recognition of hard work, engaging in regular conversations about the vision and direction of the company; invigorating our onboarding process; providing roadmaps and opportunities for growth; and engendering a reflective and mindful approach to leadership all promote pride in our work, demonstrate mutual respect and sincere investment, and denote a transparency and openness that will help make our businesses desirable ones.  

Once we’ve gotten the appetizer down, remember the main dish. 

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About the Author

Chris OshinskiChris Oshinski is the assistant director for Sportrock Climbing Centers Sterling, VA location, passionate for teaching youth and addressing inequalities. Having obtained an MA in Public Sociology in 2018, Chris loves to explore the myriad forms of agency vis-a-vis individual and collective efforts at fostering social justice and human rights.