HR & Management

How Alton Towers keeps its staff happy

3 min read

17 June 2014

“A happy team means happy guests” is the foundation upon which Alton Towers is based. Real Business talks to business development manager Ellie Jones about the behind-the-scenes magic that keeps Alton Towers staff motivated.

Fittingly, Jones starts off by explaining ‘the Merlin way’. “This is a set of values which we see as important to deliver memorable experiences to the customer. Loving what we do, caring about being innovative and fast-moving, keeping promises and making every pound count are all crucial aspects, but none more important than being serious about fun! That’s what Alton Towers is all about. As long as the employees are happy, we can definitely ensure that the client’s day has been made.”

We all know that a motivated workforce is key when handling customers. But it is suggested that the average employee working in the park can work up to ten hours a day, and with the park only closing in November, can often be seen outside in the freezing rain, still with a smile on their face. 

“This is highly valued in our staff,” Jones says “and we try to balance a hard day of work with some staff perks. We have something called the Star Awards, which is an online scheme where, if someone’s gone above and beyond their day-to-day job, anyone within the company can be nominated for a star. You get an email straight away that tells you that you’ve been nominated and you can even log in to see what they’ve said about you – which can often be a lovely personal message. 

“At the end of every month, each person to have garnered a star get’s to go to lunch, where everybody is given a star badge and certificate. There will then be an overall winner announced at the lunch, who will then get to go to an annual award ceremony. This gives staff members the chance to win a trophy, vouchers, or even money.

“Employees are also given Merlin passes as well – a certain amount of tickets that can be used at all global Merlin attractions on an annual basis. There are also staff discounts on the Merlin marketplace, which is an online system that gives you access to employee benefits such as holiday discounts.” 

Furthermore, if the whole resort hits target it ends in a bonus for everyone, and there’s even a Merlin share saver scheme. It seems like the company knows what they’re doing in terms of maintaining and retaining staff.

It’s the small, yet fun, factors ingrained in business culture that sets your business apart and makes your staff happy to be there.

Jones believes that there are seven points to consider at all times.

  1. Professional development – encourage your staff to seek out training;
  2. Long term vision – map out what you can;
  3. A strong and effective recognition and award scheme;
  4. Communication that needs to be clear and easily obtainable at all times;
  5. Make staff feel valued;
  6. Let employees contribute to business, no matter the position; and, most importantly
  7. Make work fun.