This is the second of two Game Plan columns focusing on becoming an employer of choice. For more, check out our August issue.
“… And what do you do, Mike?” the guy grilling the burgers at the neighborhood barbecue asked casually.
“I’m the golf course superintendent at Laurel Lake Country Club. It’s an amazing place to work. I have a great team and my manager really appreciates the job we do. If you’re thinking about joining a club, why don’t you come out as my guest one day?”
Is that the kind of answer one of your staff members would give in a similar situation? If it is, you’re in an enviable position in this tight labor market — you’re what’s known as an “employer of choice.” Employers of choice enjoy higher retention rates, better productivity from their teams and a healthier workplace culture. What’s more, they don’t have to search as hard for top talent because the best people come to them, hoping to join their team.
So how do you create that kind of reputation for your club? It doesn’t happen overnight, but it can start with the ways in which you promote job openings. Here are five keys to positioning your club as a place where top talent wants to work:
1. Show your colors up front. Describe who you are and what your course or club represents. This description of your values and the high standards to which you hold team members is attractive to top performers. Stating your values and the significance of the position helps prospective employees know if your club is one where they would be proud to work.
2. Describe the job benefits clearly. Benefits are an important differentiator in today’s workplace, but don’t think of them in limited terms. Beyond health insurance, sick leave and vacation days, benefits include respect, being part of a winning team, and the opportunity for continued professional learning and development. Make sure you help prospective employees understand the full range of benefits that you offer.
3. Tell what the job entails. Pay attention to the language you choose to describe the job and its responsibilities. And don’t be hesitant to describe the job in demanding terms. Top performers want jobs that challenge them and ones that matter. Describe the team that the prospective employee would join, its work ethic and its team spirit. Being a part of a great team is a strong incentive to employees who enjoy collaboration and sharing.
4. Know your competition. Being an employer of choice requires that you do your homework to know how your compensation, benefits and culture compare with the competition. In a tight job market, it’s also important to realize that your competitors include more than golf clubs and other golf operations courses. You’re also likely competing with landscape companies and hospitality positions for top talent. Knowing what competitive organizations offer helps you structure benefits and comp attractively while being mindful of the budget.
5. Tell stories of valued performers. Stories of performance, customer service, overcoming adversity and teamwork give new employees insight to the organization and the culture they are part of. Think of it as a window into your team room, which allows you to describe the human components of the job that are not a part of the formal job description.
In his book, “Attracting and Retaining Talent: Becoming an Employer of Choice,” Dr. Tim Baker emphasizes the importance of standing on trustworthy values. “In plain terms, being an employer of choice means establishing a business that is a great place to work. If companies don’t genuinely act to become an employer of choice, then good employees will simply vote with their feet and move to a forward-thinking employer who offers them what they want.”
Remember the story of the janitor at the Johnson Space Center in Houston who, when asked by President John. F. Kennedy about his role, said, “Mr. President, I’m part of the team that is putting a man on the moon.”
Don’t you wish that janitor worked for you?