How to build a homegrown team

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Where do you find the talent and skills needed to support your operation? What has happened during the past 2+ years of the pandemic? Sure, rounds, memberships, even sales have probably set records. But let me ask: at what cost? It seems that for decades, we have heard that people are the most important asset of any business. Surely, the past few years has proven that point as the pandemic stoked a fire for golf all across the world. As the Great Resignation continues, at least for now, no loyalties are guaranteed. People may come and go, looking for that magic place where every duck lines up perfectly with their imaginary dream job hopes. This post will talk about owning the process of building, developing and supporting a team. If many of the large corporations have training universities, designed to develop long-term talent, why can’t you and your property develop a plan to fit your situation?

This idea is not about renting space, hiring teachers, creating talent, all at outrageous costs. It is, however, about working to build a team that will see the value in this industry and in working for you, beyond the typical tenure of 11-18 months. Although you will not win everyone over with a new focus on developing skills, you will, I believe, show people that they can find a home in the golf industry, and at your property for many years. Working together with your managers and industry talent throughout the country, you can develop strength by showing employees they can build a substantial life by working for and with you. Begin the process of developing a curriculum with three questions for every staff member and recruit:

  • What do they need to know to perform their job well?
  • What do they want to know in order to excel as a team member?
  • What will they need to know in order to successfully advance?

Why create a serious education concept while you struggle through the Great Resignation? No doubt young employees expect a different set of circumstances in the workplace than what we old industry people expected when we jumped in. That said, you need to take those expectations seriously. No matter the current success of your day-to-day business, you and your managers cannot spend hours every week recruiting, interviewing, and hiring because three more people resigned. If you work with the needs and some of the wants of both your people and candidates, you should be able to attract and keep more people, year over year. As important as anything noted here is this: work to develop a level of communications like never before. Set a commitment to speak with people as often as possible. Be sure your managers do the same in their departments. Hallway conversationscan have a great effect on people by providing them the confidence to push forward, even on the toughest days. The fact that business has been good has only made recruiting and hiring more intense than in the years prior to the pandemic. Here are my 3 thoughts on building a successful home grown team:

  1. Spend the time to create a strong plan. From first interviewing the staff to making certain you and your managers are prepared to instruct on the specific roles, be certain to get it right before that first session. Talk to educators you know about tips to create and hold interest in any particular subject.
  2. Use Zoom to create sessions with industry leaders. In addition to the on-site sessions, seek out experts in those areas you are looking to grow. There are many industry leaders present and past who are willing to connect on Zoom or even present at the club, based on your locale and budget. Mixing the classes up between managers and known leaders will help create conversations and help hold interest in what you are building.
  3. School is never out. After the sessions, be certain to award graduation honors to all who complete the classes. Then, it is essential to keep the education fresh by keeping the ideas alive in meeting and also in one-on-one sessions.

To keep people on the team, recognize their efforts, as well as their successes. Reward their efforts with dollars and days off and look to push the more elite members of the staff into better roles faster and faster. Point out every success, telling all that you are hoping to build the same path for every team member. Of course, you are not creating an MBA in golf management, but you are building a plan that can drive down stress, as it builds a program that can be seen, touched and achieved by all who say, “Yes, I accept the job.”You can create a local school that takes care of your needs as you build a vision and a life for those searching for meaning and success.

Jack Dillon writes the In My Opinion posts. Jack is an author, speaker and an industry expert. Connect with Jack in order to build a better team, better shop and a successful service strategy. Reach Jack at or 407-973-6136. Jack can help you today. He lives in Orlando and on Zoom.

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