You read that right. It's not always all about the members. It's true that your members, the experiences they have at the club, and their loyalty to your club is what keeps the lights on, but without your staff, there are no members. So, for a moment let's take the subject of offering amazing experiences to your members off the table, and assume that everyone's member experience is superior. How are you making your staff's work experience amazing? How are you inspiring them to come to work every day?
Positive Staff Experiences Start at the Top
Managers and the leadership staff are "keepers of the culture" and the superior managers allow individual autonomy, while keeping everyone focused on the long-term goal. These are the managers whose employees want to come to work and are fully engaged at work, because they are mentored and guided by their manager, which we know is a key driver to intrinsic motivation. They create an environment where each team member can bring their unique attributes and greatest strengths and use them while successfully working within a team.
What are you doing as a leader of your club to create an environment where employees not only want to come to work each day, but are excited to come to work each day? Some managers go to extremes to ingratiate their employees by jumping out of airplanes dressed as Santa Claus, others take a more simple approach by making time to engage with every employee daily, or enjoy family meal in the employee cafeteria on a regular basis. The list is endless. The common theme is leaders work hard at creating an atmosphere and culture where they hire correctly, train sufficiently and allow each person to grow, thrive, and become better every day.
Invest in Your Employees' Growth
Employee growth starts from the moment a new staff member sets foot on-property. An excellent on-boarding experience set the foundational tone of employment and can set the course for the rest of their career with you. Do you have managers properly trained in onboarding, coaching, training and staff development? Club leadership should not be responsible for every management decision and task. Make sure that your middle managers are easily accessible to employees and are capable of handling the day to day staff development. Speaking of staff development, how can cross training or departmental transfers help the employee achieve their goals? Many employees find the club they work for to be a great fit; but not necessarily the job under which they were brought in. Leadership and managers need to have a clear understanding of how training employees across departments is beneficial to and can decrease turnover in the long run.
Be Realistic About Why Employees Leave
This past year has been extraordinarily difficult on our industry, and as we look towards the season ahead, the path isn't exactly the brightest but there are things we can do now to position ourselves for the future. One is to be realistic about why employees leave and the other is to seek inspiration from industries that have been thriving in recent history. The employees you seek are ones who ideally want to work their job into their lifestyle rather their lifestyle into their work. Do you still require a minimum number of hours worked to get benefits, or even a preferred schedule? The next generation of employee values flexibility over compensation, and in many cases your organization is likely one of many income streams that they are juggling. How can you adapt to allow shorter shifts and more flexibility? The concept of split shifts; if feasible are more appealing than ever before. Staff and shift interchangeability can be achieved through extensive training of new employees, cross training (and cross departmental training) of existing employees, using consistent systems and procedures, and a high-level of communication amongst your staff.
Recently, we engaged in a discussion with industry leaders from around the country on strategies to address the labor drought, and the key takeaway from this ongoing discussion was the importance of investing both your time and resources into hiring, training and retaining staff in the same way that a club would invest in physical capital. (You can catch a recording of the conversation in the webinars tab when you sign up for a 7 Day RCSU Trial ... you don't want to miss it!)