Lately I feel like I am being bombarded with surveys, from cell phone service, to banks, auto insurance etc. I made a deposit the other day at my bank and within an hour they were asking me if the teller was smiling – I couldn’t even see her!
With that said, I have been doing some research on how to present a “better” survey to maximize results and gain valuable feedback… and not only that – to follow up and put suggestions into play and provide follow-up to the survey takers… I actually really enjoy reading what you have to write and hearing what you have to say… It is very helpful, so thank you.
So when we asked you what you wanted or where we needed improvement, (and btw sometimes hearing the truth is like getting a punch in the stomach) we listened. Most of our feedback was very positive (95% approval rating) and although that is nice to hear it doesn’t help to make us better at what we do.
Since the very first year when I opened Happy Joe’s Swim School, I always cared about what people thought. If you had a suggestion, I listened and did what I could to give you what you wanted from your swim lessons… The feedback that we received that rings out most to me as somewhere we needed to improve was consistency in teachers. Again, I hear you! Some of you asked me about what we do to keep our employees and to keep them happy. So I wanted to share with you some of the inside programs and initiatives that help me to keep great people.
From our end, it is really nice when we hire a great person, freshman in a local college, education major, honest reliable fun… and they work with us through their under graduate degree. Then, they decided to stay local and go for a masters, and still want to teach with us… The day comes when they do get their wings and move on. Last year this happened to us on more than a few occasions. We were in the middle of a cycle of about 10 teachers who had put multiple, quality years in with Njswim and became seasoned veterans. Then, a few followed their (other) career path, a couple moved out of the area, and a couple got pregnant. It happened. There are things you can control (keep reading) and things you cannot.
So we are focused, based on your feedback to do what we can to hire, train and KEEP those great people in place for as long as possible. Here are a few of things that we do…
We place great value in our teachers and we spend about 60 hours of training our new teachers before they teach independently. We incorporate classroom sessions, video reviews and hands on training to ensure that they are able to effectively deliver the program to your swimmers. We quiz, review and evaluate throughout the training process. We also conduct regular performance reviews quarterly and we help them to grow. We balance our teacher training with increasing their knowledge of swimming and in the psychology of child development. We recently produced an online video series of each of our swim skills as part of our Njswim training experience. It’s really cool.
Team Incentive (BONU$ Program)
We do have a pretty aggressive income scale that provides raises for positive reviews, longevity and experience. Most recently we added an employee incentive program that promotes consistency, teamwork and camaraderie. The more consistent a teacher, being present and being in-line with our teaching progression the more they will earn in the form of a bonus. There are two more added features that have and one is parent feedback, so please let us know what you think of your teacher. If you would like to provide some constructive feedback, we welcome that in person. If you would like to praise them publicly via Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets please go ahead… If you do they gain valuable points toward a nice financial bonus based on your review!
As some of you know we also have created “a path to run on” as our Njswim Career Path. We have 8 Full time employees, aside from myself, who are on salary and work full time (all the time) with us. We are proud that we offer our full time employees a competitive salary, an insurance plan (medical and dental) and a 401(K) program. We also recently offered to a select few, the opportunity to buy in to ownership at Njswim. So far, Miss Christine Burke (soon to be Mrs. Howe) has participated and she is now an owner/operator of Njswim Lakeside. We are working with a few other employees in also participating in this great opportunity – so they can grow their experience with us. Click here for more info
Part of employment deal for all of our employees is that everyone teaches or has the ability to teach the lessons. Each of our location managers and assistant managers have regular teaching shifts weekly. I am also back in the water on a regular schedule and loving the perspective it gives me of the program from the water.
Also last year we mandated that every employee be lifeguard certified, complete with CPR and First Aid. This gives us some flexibility, especially in Warren, where we have several guards on duty throughout each shift. We are also pleased to share that Sarah Mason, our office manager at BCC is now trained as a Lifeguard Instructor. She is currently providing some certification courses for our team. This gives us an added level of protection in and around the pools…
Some of your other feedback has to do with our facilities. We are indeed working to those ends and here is how:
We now have the plans for a 12X27’ changing room approved by the Roxbury Zoning Department. They are under review by the construction officials. Our plan, if all goes well is to start construction this summer and have them ready for fall. I am reading your feedback and I agree 100% that this is the missing link at Lakeside. Thank you for all of your support and patience as we go through all of the proper channels within the guidelines of the local codes to provide you this added (and much needed)
We really wish we had the opportunity to make some more changes to the facility, but we do our best at keeping what we can control, in good working order. Our pool, being it is only a small part of a larger operation, has improved over the years. We were able to have the water temperature increased to a more suitable 87 degrees. The rest of the facility is unfortunately out of our control. We work with the management team in maintain a safe and friendly environment
We are starting a 4 phase repair plan beginning this weekend and we will be addressing some of the concerns of the facility. We have hired a crew to work on Sundays so to not interrupt the programs in place. We will be doing some small repairs to keep the facility in top shape as we see hundreds of children and adults weekly. We are continuing to develop the space and add more programs for your family in the coming weeks. As far as the facility itself goes, if it were up to me, I would tear the whole pool out and start fresh… hmmm?
With all of that – I hope you know that we truly appreciate you taking the time to fill out those little forms. It gives us a new perspective, from the eyes of the families. We are here to please and we are here to provide you the best program for swim (and gym) instruction. Our team is dedicated to the mission and we value every minute you spend with us. We thank you for being an Njswim family. If you have any other questions please let me know, I will be happy to respond.
See you at the pool!