Archive for the ‘employee turnover’ Category

Eight Key Basics to Successfully Operating a Private Club

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

The club industry is facing difficult times and while we are all facing challenges, each club faces its own particular problems.  As is usually the case when facing difficulties, this is the time to get back to the basics of our business.  Here are 8 things each club should examine:

1.  Leadership.  Clubs need clear-sighted individuals to guide them through tough times – but not just at the top.  They need strong leaders at all levels of operations.  It’s also important that the leadership styles of club leaders at all levels are congruent.  Different leadership approaches can dilute or damage the General Manager’s service message when it’s not reinforced consistently by all managers and supervisors in both word and deed.

2.  Organizational values and culture of service.  Every employee needs to understand what, how, and why you do what you do.  The basics of what you stand for as an enterprise are of absolute importance.  Defining your values is only the first step.  They must be continually and consistently reinforced to all employees.

3.  Planning.  Haphazard planning results in haphazard operations and equally haphazard performance.  Your club should have a 3 – 5 year strategic plan focused on your competitive position in the marketplace.  The club should have an annual plan for what it expects to accomplish and the General Manager and all Department Heads should have detailed annual work plans.  As important, the requirements of work plans must involve measurable performance parameters.  Detailed benchmarking of all areas of the operation is the easiest and best way to do this.

4.  Benchmarks.  You need to understand the variables of business volume and average sale that underlie all of your revenues.  Without this knowledge you may be lulled by historical levels of revenue when they are actually made up of declining volume, but higher prices and fees.  Benchmarking in detail is also an excellent way to listen to what members are saying with their buying habits.

5.  Accountability.  The club business is too demanding not to hold individual managers accountable for results.  The performance of every manager and supervisor must be measured against their annual work plan and there must be consequences for failing to meet goals.  Poor performing managers degrade the efforts of the rest of the team and drive away good employees.

6.  Employee Turnover.  There is a high cost to turnover and it usually related directly to the quality of the club’s leadership at all levels.  It is particularly costly when you do a good job of training your people.  Do not become the minor league training ground for your competitors – both private clubs and local restaurants.

7.  Training.  There is much for employees to know in serving your members.  You cannot expect that your employees will inherently know what to do unless they are systematically and consistently trained.  Training gives your employees the knowledge and confidence they need.  Confident employees are more apt to engage your members and provide higher levels of service.

8.  Member feedback.  You need to understand what your members think about your club, the products and services it provides, and the service your employees render.  Surveys are an excellent tool to do this, but you must act on the information you receive in intelligent and thoughtful ways to make the most cost-effective decisions in satisfying wants and needs.

Getting back to the basics is a sure way to regain your footing during and after the current seismic shift taking place in our industry.  The good news is, and there’s always a silver lining, that the best leaders and their operations will inevitably rise to the top.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

High Turnover – A Direct Result of Poor Leadership?

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Leigh Branham, Founder of Keeping the People, Inc., as reported by Business & Legal Reports, listed the “Hidden Reasons” employees leave.  While it can be argued that all of the listed reasons have to do with leadership, three are directly related to poor leadership:

  • Little or no feedback/coaching
  • Feel devalued and unrecognized
  • Lack of trust or confidence in leaders

Given the widely-recognized cost of high levels of employee turnover, every club should be vigilant for the causes of turnover; but how best to do this?

First, to be aware of turnover, clubs should benchmark their personnel actions and turnover rate by department.  Employees depart for one of the following reasons:

  1. Discharged for cause – misconduct or performance issues
  2. Laid off for business reasons – either at the end of the busy season or downsizing
  3. Voluntary quit or abandonment of position
  4. Retirement

In benchmarking turnover, it is category #3, the voluntary quits, that warrant the closest scrutiny.  If a particular department seems an endless revolving door for employees, it bears looking into the reasons.  There are two primary ways to find out why.

One is a routine program of exit interviews by the HR Manager.  Basic inquiries during the interview should be, “Why are you leaving our employ?  Is there anything we could do to change your mind?  Tell us about your work experience while working here.”

A second method is for the General Manager to call several of the departing employees to inquire about their reasons for leaving.

Typical responses would be “returning to school,” “leaving for a better paying position,” “lack of benefits,” and “too much evening/weekend work.”  Sometimes the answer is an honest and direct, “Didn’t like my boss” or some variation thereof.  In any case, the General Manager should be concerned about any trending reasons for departure.  If it’s low wages and lack of benefits, it might prompt a review of prevailing wages and benefits with the view of improving one’s own.

If it’s problems with the boss, and the complaint is heard with any regularity, it may be time for the General Manager to coach a department head on his or her style of leadership, communication skills, and engagement with staff.  Just as the General Manager would be expected to intervene in any matter affecting the club’s performance and bottom line, high levels of turnover caused by poor leadership skills in one department or another cannot be tolerated.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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Six Steps to Lower Employee Turnover

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Study after study has demonstrated the high cost of employee turnover, particularly in the hospitality industry where the work is so detail-intensive, requiring significant training to meet standards.

Recognizing that the desired outcome of every hiring decision is to find and bring aboard a qualified and enthusiastic person who will make a positive contribution to the success of the business, it is essential for all managers to make every effort to lower employee turnover rates.  Here are six steps to help you do just that:

1.   Hire Well.  Use the techniques of Disciplined Hiring to screen applicants and check references.  When possible, use personality profiles to ensure you put the right person in “the right seat on the bus.”

2.   Onboard Well.  Use all of the club’s tools to both welcome and orient new hires to the workplace.  The Employee Handbook, Club Orientation, and Departmental Orientations are designed to provide and reinforce important information to the new hire.  Managers must make sure that orientations are welcoming and make all necessary introductions to both supervisors and peers.

3.   Train Well.  Both initial and ongoing training is essential.  Most people want to do a good job and appreciate the efforts made to train them.  Without adequate training and the necessary tools and resources to do their jobs well, new hires will quickly become cynical and alienated.  Never forget that their success guarantees your success.

4.   Organize Well.  No one wants to work in a chaotic environment.  If your department or section is well-organized, if everyone knows where things are, if employees are well-trained in opening and closing procedures, if every one knows their responsibilities and is held accountable, the workplace runs almost effortlessly.  Don’t run off good people by putting them through the hell of a disorganized operation.

5.   Communicate Well.  Daily interaction and direction ensures that everyone is informed, knows what is going on, and what they must do individually to accomplish the tasks at hand.  It is also instrumental in building teamwork and a sense of shared values and mission.  The Daily Huddle, or some other form of pre-shift meeting, is a necessary discipline to ensure ongoing, consistent communication.

6.   Value Them Well.  Remember the ultimate value of people in all you do.  Value your employees and they will value you as a leader and their efforts at work.

The bottom line is that your leadership is the essential element in your success.  If you have high levels of turnover, there is no one to blame but yourself.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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