5 keys to happy staff

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As a golf course operator, you have a set of goals for the year. Based on the property type, you want more members, paying more in dues, or you aim for a full tee sheet every day. In addition, all courses are looking to grow their events business. It feels as if every golf course property is moving along the same path, trying to succeed in almost the same way. While there are basics we all need to handle well in order to present a great facility, there is a road few seem to travel in becoming a golf course that drives loyalty and growth: an educated, happy work team!

The golf industry has changed so much during the past few decades. As costs to maintain a golf course go up, we seem to take it out on our people. While cap ex needs, become unavoidable at times, we know where we can save money: with payroll. Over time, I have seen operators make a lot of shortsighted decisions.  When a rough patch happens, we fire people to take the pressure off of the budget. What are the longer-term effects, and what are the effects on the staff left behind? Here are five thoughts on building long term success through people:

1) Hire folks who like golf (when possible) and love working with people.

2) From the day you hire someone, take the responsibility that you (or a manager) will teach them, mentor them, get to know them, and spend time with them.

3) Spending time with your team, provides great value for the long term success of the club. Manage your day to be in front of people when necessary.

4) When times are tough, do not take the easy road and fire people. Talk to the entire team: tell them what the issues are, and work to cut hours, and even create a furlough program, in order to save the money you need to save, while keeping the team intact. If some people want to leave, meet with them in private. This plan is an amazing morale booster.

5) Recruitment is a full-time issue, but we take it as a needs-based short-term program much of the time. Always be recruiting, no matter where you are. Some of your best people will be those you meet away from the golf course.

6) (Bonus) succeeding over time takes a great deal of hard work mixed with lots of luck. It also comes from people doing the right things at the right time, while showing a great attitude. People are the asset that can make the service story great. Allow them to use common sense.  Allow them to use their brains.  Allow them to shine.

Jack Dillon writes the highfives series and is a speaker and writer based in Orlando. He has been in the golf industry for 45 years.  Have Jack speak at your next meeting, in order to bring practical, game-changing knowledge to your team. Reach him at 407-973-6136. He has a special offer for Golf Inc. readers.

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