Value your seasonal staff and both parties can reap the benefits

It’s that time of year when golf facilities need to be looking at bringing in seasonal staff. Inn-Formation’s Steven Brown reveals how to turn a potential problem into a big opportunity.

Shock! Horror! Summer’s coming again and we need more hands — didn’t see that one coming!

Every year, nearly every golf club in the UK needs these pairs of hands to help with, the club hopes, the inevitable rush of members and visitors frequenting the club during these busy times.

No time for an in-depth interview, it’s a case of finding people who are “warm to the touch” or “have breath on the mirror” and that can give the right answer to the key question of “when can you start?”.

So, what happens to the all-important levels of customer service, consistency, product knowledge, waste control and maintaining standards, to name but a few of the key criteria needed in today’s golf club food and beverage operation?

Too many of my clients admit to me that they sacrifice many of the above important issues in search of a “pair of hands” to see them through those heavy trading periods.

“As an industry we have to more fully appreciate the value that these people can bring”

University or college students and relatives of members seem to be the fertile feeding grounds to resource the help needed. Many of these people are at home during the summer break and need money to help fund their fees and social lives, and so seek short-term employment opportunities — they need money, and golf clubs need bodies — the perfect match, or the makings of a perfect storm!

In reality very few of the people clubs recruit are seeking a career in hospitality, so what is their motivation? Money matters of course, but I know from having spoken to many of them in my consultancies with golf clubs, they also want, like all workers, to be given some form of training, to be treated fairly, kept in the loop and, importantly, to be appreciated.

There are some of my clients who successfully navigate this very challenging seasonal situation year on year, and do so by ensuring that the above criteria happens by treating their temporary staff with same level of courtesy and care that they do with their full-time staff, and the result is that those temporary members of staff return to work for the club for the entire duration of their scholiastic studies — because they are valued and not simply thrown in at the deep end!

As an industry we have to more fully appreciate the value that these people can bring — or indeed the harm they can do if treated indifferently, and in my travels of visiting with golf clubs, I see both good and bad examples of this.

The good is that clubs invest in the staff. They are inclusive with them. They spend time and money in training, them not only to serve, but to sell, making them an invaluable member of the team.

The bad is that, having recruited these people, they then leave them to fend for themselves, leaving them exposed and with little support other than “you will pick it up as you go along”.

“Put a succession plan in place to recruit those that you want to return”

My advice is to treat these short-term staff members with respect and reward them accordingly. I know it is tempting to pay the minimum wage — but I learned a long time ago that what gets rewarded gets repeated, and we know in the main how they want to be rewarded.

Additionally, put a succession plan in place to recruit those that you want to return, and consider the incentive of increased hourly rates if they do so, and importantly, observe their performance, because you never know, you might just be employing a “pair of hands” that could in a few years’ time have the potential to be your next food and beverage manager, possessing a lot of historical knowledge of your club and how it treats its staff!

How much of your training budget is dedicated to training and developing your short-term recruits? I am often told that investing money in these people is a waste of resources as they will be leaving soon, but what harm could they do in an eight-week period if they are left to their own devices if you don’t take the time and trouble to guide and motivate them to achieve your aims and goals?

There is no doubt in my mind that few golf clubs would survive the strains and stresses of the busy summer and Christmas periods, not forgetting the hands needed to serve at events, without the services of our temporary staff, so my advice is to create a structure and environment that values and rewards these individuals, and your club will reap the reward over many years.

Steven Brown FBII.t.p.

Supreme Commander of Inn-Formation

Email: [email protected]

Mobile: 07785 276320

The golf industry’s leading consultant on controlling Food & Beverage operations in the world of golf

By GCMA Content Team

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