Highfives: Use 'longboarding' to fully integrate new hires

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Training and developing people is, I believe, essential to creating a loyal, successful employee. Over the years, I have seen hundreds of people stream into new jobs. All (except for one) entered their new role with excitement and enthusiasm. That first day on the job is truly the day to engage your new staff member, helping them to develop a relationship with the organization and the team, and provide them with a glimpse into the culture and the opportunity in store for them as they grow.

There is a new term of late for the program where new people are brought into an organization for the first number of weeks, and that term is onboarding.  This is the process where a new team member becomes fully immersed in the organization, their place in it, and their specific position.

Although this sounds like a solid plan and idea, I have seen more of another type of training and development. Many times I have seen, and also have been told as a new employee, the following: “Why don’t you just jump right in.”  “We are short-handed this week.”  “If you have a question, or if you run into trouble, just grab one of us.”

That has been more of what I have witnessed over a long career. My concern is not the terms we use or the written program we set out to execute, my concern is what we do to create a long-term plan for this person to love the property, the team, membership, and their role.

In my opinion, that first day, week and month are the most critical in building strong, positive muscle memory for them and for you.

Here are 5 thoughts in creating a program to build a successful long-term team:

1) Have a longboarding plan with structure for every position, and every manager to execute. Believe and act as if every person will be a staffer for life.

2) On day one, work to connect this new team member to as many peers as possible. Making this person feel good and comfortable about the new job, and their decision to work for you, is critical to your long-term success.

3) From day one, the goal of every manager should be to develop every new employee for the long term. It is essential to keep that person excited and moving forward from that first day.

4) As you show this new person their specific role, plan to have them also spend time with every department manager. In time, you want this new person to know what every role means at the club.

5) As you continue to look to fill positions at the club, remember to open up opportunities to all current staff members. Promoting from within provides  confidence in the organization and proves that you can reward loyalty. Always look from within.

A golf property is about service - and true service excellence. Hiring nice people and then instilling an attitude that you will have their backs while showing them a solid future is a fabulous way to create a winning team. When we can work with a consistent, sharp group of people who have the same mission we can build excellence each day.

Never allow your onboarding program to get stale or dull. Make certain you are involved and be sure the people who drive this program have an attitude that shows care and concern for every person. Hiring new people is costly and very, very time consuming. Work hard to hire right, and then build a plan that will fit into every unique life you have on your payroll.

Longboarding should be about building consistency and flexibility. The new work force demands it.

Jack Dillon writes the Highfives blog and is a speaker and writer based in Orlando, Fla. 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 - 407-973-6136.

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