Ideas from the brown bag

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Business revolves around employees: how many you hire, how many might you retain, how many stay for the long game. It is an amazing time in the world of business. Besides the fact that “Help Wanted” signs are just about everywhere, the day-to-day structure of business, including the number of open hours, the size and complexity of food menus, and the number of services offered, have in many cases been severely altered due to the current staffing challenges. In my five decades in the world of work, I have never witnessed this all-too-real phenomenon.

The pay scale is changing. In addition, there are signing bonuses. There are even bonuses for referring someone who joins due to a recommendation. No question, pay and improved perquisites are vital to keeping any business alive in 2022. In addition, however, I believe it is essential to bring the staff in, making them feel as if they have a true stake in the success and the future of your property, their work. For so long, employees did the work while management did the deep thinking. As you consider the pay and benefits plan for this year, think about asking for staff to step in, provide ideas, and think about their role as if they in fact had your role. I believe every employee should have a stake in the business they serve. If leadership encourages team members to be all-in, bringing thoughtful ideas for consideration, there is every possibility that engagement can soar. Here are my thoughts about making engagement a proactive effort:

Start an “ideas from the brown bag” lunch program: a few times each month, schedule a lunch on-site with a few members of both the leadership team and the general staff, 6-8 people. Ask all to bring their ideas for improvement. The first lunch might be about ideas discussing each role, redefining each, for these very different times. In subsequent lunches, you can announce a meeting theme a few days in advance. It is important for all to bring ideas to the lunch table.

Provide time for all to speak: every participant may get 5-7 minutes to present during each meeting. As you develop the concept, most people should grow in courage and confidence. Their ideas may become more big picture, providing ways the entire property can grow. Every person should prepare to speak during each meeting.

Provide recognition and awards: when an idea from a member of the lunch group is used, make it a big deal. Announce it to all, recognize it, and provide rewards, based on the results. Employee engagement has been down for many years, since long before we heard the phrase "COVID-19." It is time organizations reset the relationship with their team. Involving people in a consistent team lunch with leadership can help every employee feel as if they can make a change in how their work is done, as well as how their business can improve. “Ideas from the brown bag” is a concept putting people together, discussing the common theme of their workplace.

In summary, employee burnout is an issue, no question. Lack of employee engagement is also a very real concern. If you want to see a team member excited, watch them have fun after work. It is time to build execution beyond the mundane. It is important for leaders to be involved in the work, witness the boredom during parts of the day, and then reset how each role can be better linked to the big-picture goals of the property. People have been burned out, I believe in large part, because they remain outsiders when the club succeeds, when only leaders might be rewarded. Building loyalty is in the development of “get there” jobs, as opposed to the standard “go there” jobs. Go beyond the recruitment, hiring, and training of your people. Dig into making every role have deeper meaning for you, and for every person who invests in your dreams. 

Jack Dillon writes the IN MY OPINION post. Jack is an expert in the golf shop, service, purchasing, presentation, and communications. Jack is the author of the new book: Jump the Line: 101 Lessons for Professional Success. If you want a better operation, a better team in 2022, contact Jack today. You can reach him at 407-973-6136, or at jackd@careerdividends.com. Jack is available to help you and your team. Jack lives in Orlando and on Zoom.

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