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The Ark Pet Spa & Hotel has seen hundreds of employees come and go since opening in 2006. We have always taken great pride in having the best kennel employees and doing our best to keep the quality ones around for as long as possible, but having good kennel employees is not enough. We want to cultivate the best employees, period. We also want to be a leader in the pet care industry. Anyone in this line of business will tell you retaining employees in the pet industry is very difficult! It can be loud, smelling, and generally it's hard work. It also typically does not provide a very high earning potential. All of these factors lend to the fact that retention can be difficult in our line business.

It wasn’t until we adopted a “crew mentality” that we began to see better employee retention, less stressed, and generally happier employees. We began to invest even more in our crew and it has begun to show. Here are just a few items we have implemented to create and retain the very best crew members.

SEMINARS, CONVENTIONS & OFFSITE TRAINING

The Ark has invested in continued education by sending our top crew members to several of our industries top conventions and expos. These include: The Global Pet ExpoIBPSA Pet Care Educational Conference & Trade Show, Super Zoo, and The Pet Boarding & Daycare Expo and Trade Show. Each of these events is specifically tailored to the pet industry. Our crew gains a greater understanding of the latest in pet care procedures, products, systems, and safety by attending these annual events and then bringing back and implementing the new products and systems.

PET BODY LANGUAGE & GROUP FREE PLAY MANAGEMENT

The Ark has taken additional steps to make doggy daycare and boarding a much safer environment for both the dogs and the crew. We have found that a well educated crew member is much more confident in their daily duties. This equates to less incidents, and a more confident crew member tends to be a happier crew member, and happy crew members tend to stay longer than unhappy crew members! We give each and every crew member the tools for success.

PET CPR & FIRST AID
While we have invested capital and countless hours to train each crew member accidents still happen. Luckily, we have have also invested in Pet CPR and First Aid training. Each and every kennel crew member is trained in the latest Pet CPR and First Aid training techniques and procedures. If an accident happens at The Ark our crew is well educated and well equipped to assess the situation at hand, create a solution, and execute a plan to keep the pet as safe and comfortable as possible.

THE CREW MENTALITY

Building a crew mentality does not happen overnight. We believe having a crew mentality means every member of the crew has a role, a common end goal, and strategy to achieve that goal with the help of the rest of the crew. Our crew’s end goal is to provide premier customer service and pet care to our guests and their furry loved ones. A large ship or “Ark” cannot sail and get to its end harbor with only one crew member. To sail a large ship or run a business well you have to have each member of your crew properly trained, equipped, and each crew member needs to know their role and the end goal of the entire crew. It is also extremely important for your crew to know why their role is important, always expressing “the why” behind crew tasks is very important. Your crew must know why they are doing something!

To learn more about our training or if you would like to join our crew please visit our website: THEARKSPA.COM

Posted by Ark Crew | Topic: one  | Category: Management

Like in most businesses communication is a critical component to reducing errors and increasing productivity. The pet care business is no different, communication is extremely important for maintaining a safe and well-run facility. While most managers know that communication is important, are they instilling that in their crews, and are they providing their crews with tools to better communicate? More times than not, the answer is no! That is why we have tried to incorporate quality and efficient communication into our culture. Here are a few methods we use to better communicate with our crews.

Efficient Communication - 

Communicating well does not mean you have to do a lot of talking. Often, managers or crew think they communicate well because they talk a lot to their fellow crew members, but in reality, they are not getting to the point of the matter. Think of air traffic controllers, when it comes to getting critical information to the right people efficiently, and without “fluff”, these guys are the kings. Learn to communicate effectively.

How The Ark does it - 

We have conversations with our crew about what information is needed for them to complete a certain task. Once those pieces of information are agreed upon by the entire crew we try to only give that critical information during communication. Before you go to anyone, whether it is a manager going to a receptionist, or a receptionist going to the owner, think about what information they need to either complete a task or give you a decision. Perhaps, it is as simple as who, what, when, where, why. You and your crew can make this up however you please but stick with the system of communicating critical information efficiently. 

Daily “Micro Meetings” -

One thing that can drive anyone crazy is a drawn out, unproductive meeting. We have all left meetings with nothing more than a headache and a craving for a cup of coffee to stay awake the rest of the day. Major fortune 500 companies, like Google, are moving more and more to running micro meetings. Micro meetings last between 5 and 15 minutes and are very concise. 

How The Ark does it -

The Ark runs daily micro meetings. To make micro meetings work you need to implement “efficient communication”. Everyone involved in the meeting needs to know who will be the leader, who is allowed to speak, who will bring up topics, and what information is needing to be shared. To make these micro meetings work well you actually need to keep them “micro”! No more than 10-15 minutes. The meeting leader needs to watch the clock, and manage the meetings flow. The Ark crew typically has an open shift micro meeting and a mid shift change micro meeting to discuss feeding and medications schedules, troublemaker dogs, new dogs, and incidents. The Ark’s corporate and management crews also have micro meetings each morning to discuss sales, marketing, HR, operations, maintenance, and goal setting.

A Helpful Tool (Slack) -

Nothing beats face to face communication, but we can’t always get face to face time with certain crew members, and sometimes just a brief message is needed. Remember “efficient communication”. After realizing the limitations of standard texting, we searched for a new tool. We were pleased to find and begin implementing Slack in 2017. The application Slack is a robust instant messaging application that allows instant communication and file sharing between different “channels” or groups. Slack.com says, “Slack brings all your team's communication together, giving everyone a shared workspace where conversations are organized and accessible.”

How The Ark does it -

The Ark uses Slack on a daily basis for a wide variety of communication needs. The Ark has channels for all general managers, kennel crew/front desk crew, marketing, corporate, and even groomers. Slack ensures no one is ever further than a text away. Another benefit to having a common communication platform is accountability. The app records and files away all conversations so that anyone who missed a message can go back and check it when he or she is available to open their phone or computer. The app also integrates with Google Docs so sharing documents, advertisements, or pet photos is extremely simple. 


The Ark is always trying to improve the way it communicates between crew groups and even between Ark locations. Communication can be a maker or breaker for businesses, what are you doing to improve your communication skills?

Adam Harbin

VP of Development

Posted by Ark Crew  | Category: Management

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A fun, secure environment for pets. a fun way to secure your future.