b'the pandemic. workers during the pandemic. couples and families with children.Duquette added that she is seeing a Ifanowneroroperator KOAisalsoseeingpeoplefromahuge volume of solicitations for camp- chargesstaffforsiterent wide variety of industries who are nowground employees on Facebook. Im in through traditional rent or site transitioning to the RV lifestyle and area dozen or so work camping Facebook trade,Foossaid, thelabor exploring ways to develop careers ingroups. The number of employers post- pool is even shallower as de- campground management.ing ads is overwhelming right now, she mand increases and (the num- There is a great base of people whosaid. They are just having trouble find- berof)availableapplicants are looking for that right now, he said.ing folks. decreases. WereseeingthattheywantthePart of the problem, she said, is that Faced with a more compet- lifestyle. They want the ability to be out-park operators waited too long to line itive labor market, Horizon has doors, have a secure position and haveup work campers for the spring and re-tooled its employment of- thewholeaspectofthecampingsummer camping season. They need ferings to include certain ben- Work campers are a hot commodity right now, lifestyle. Its a very attractive place to be.to advertise at least six months in ad- efits, such as vision, dental and which means park owners need to plan ahead. (Interest in this kind of career) is acrossvance,shesaid.Eightypercentof lifeinsuranceor401(k)ac- the board, generationally.work campers already had their sum- counts at no cost to its RV park clients. to retain talented workers. Welch added that he sees many ofmer jobs lined up in February. We believe that benefits are one of Welch said KOA is offering signing the campground industrys new recruitsThetightlaborsupplyhasforced the largest employee hurdles to solve in bonuses and bonuses for staying on, being trained to take on more responsi-park operators to completely overhaul our industry since it can be very expen- depending on the market. bilitiesandtoworkascampgroundtheir compensation and benefit pack- sive to do so, Foos said. But it is an ef- But while the pandemic has initially managers or to take on other specificages as the pandemic continues. fectivemethodtosolvetheissueof created a labor shortage for the camp- job responsibilities and grow their ex-Theadditionaldemandhasre- sourcing applicants and obtaining staff ground and RV park sectors, it has also pertise and careers within the camp-quired employers to think outside the and is almost required in some fashion broadened the potential labor pool as ground industry.box and assemble more competitive of- to tap into a larger pool of applicants millions of Americans have been or- Youcangroomthem,hesaid,fers to drive more interest, said Scott outside of the work camping commu- dered to do their jobs remotely. adding that KOA itself recently rolledFoos, CEO and owner of Castle Rock, nity. One of the benefits of working with While more Americans than ever be- out a general manager in training pro-Colo.-based Horizon Outdoor Hospi- work campers is that most dont need fore now realize its possible to work gram.tality, which manages 250 employees traditional health insurance, but there from an RV so long as they have a reli- Its set up for a 12-week process, heacross 27 RV parks in nine states. is more demand than ever before for able Wi-Fi connection, the pandemic said. However, we know that some newSomeoftheemployeesHorizon this labor source. has also prompted many to take a hard employees may learn faster and othersmanages are W-2, wage-earning em- In addition to offering more attrac- look at their work and family lives and may take more time, six months or aployees of the parks, while others are tive compensation and benefit pack- to reset their priorities with a height- year. You evolve the training to fit the in-employees of Horizon itself. We offer ages, Horizon is offering its employees ened awareness of their own mortality. dividuals needs. You allow them to telldifferent employment options for our and contractors signing bonuses. Some of these folks are now exploring you what they are seeing, what theyclients, which can vary from us provid- Early commitment bonuses are also employmentopportunitiesinthe have the greatest interest in and you ad-ing onsite employees to us managing becoming more prevalent, where sea- campground industry because it com- just the plan to fit the development de-the employees under the employment sonal employees are offered a nominal bines the RV lifestyle with more free- sire of the people. You dont push peopleof the owner directly, Foos said. bonus for committing to a future sea- dom than traditional corporate jobs. into positions you want them in, butBut the same labor market dynamics son, payable when that next season oc- With the pandemic, there have been positions they want to be in. That helpsaffect both types of RV park employees, curs, Foos said. some silver linings as far as the work- with retention.Foos said, adding that it has become in- Horizon is also enabling its employ- force goes, Welch said. Were seeing a But to retain these employees, itscreasingly challenging to attract and re- ees to transfer to other locations it man- whole new world of folks who want to also imperative to discuss potential ca-taintalentedemployeesorcontract ages with the seasons as an enticement be work campers, including younger reer paths with them and to continue toWOODALLSCM.com June 2021 25'