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Connect With Your Committed Employees
Brent Darden
Chairperson, REX Roundtables for Executives

Staff retention is as crucial as member retention

The ongoing saga of “the great resignation,” which describes the millions of individuals who left their jobs during the pandemic, continues in the labor market. Staffing challenges remain at the very top of the list for most club operators.

This phenomenon has been compounded by the rise in remote work opportunities, flexible schedules, increases in minimum wage, and overall aggressive pay-scale increases by many of the largest employers. As a result, the competition for talent is reaching unprecedented levels, especially for front-line workers. In fact, Gallup data highlights that one in 10 employees say they have been recruited in the past three months, even though they were not actively looking for a new job.

The harsh reality is that even your most committed team members may be at risk of leaving. Not only are many employees emboldened by current trends, including the talent shortage, but they are also expecting more from current or potential employers.

We all understand the importance of member retention. This same value, if not more, should be applied to staff retention. As with member retention, it’s far easier to commit to current employees than to spend resources to find replacements.

How to Incentivize Employees

Leaders need to be proactive about engaging their existing team members and reattracting proven performers. In April 2022, McKinsey & Company released timely research regarding the top reasons employees accepted their most current job. Here are the top five:

  • 1. Structure and flexibility:
    Employees appreciate having some version of work-life balance and flexibility about how, when, and where work gets done. Although many positions have specific schedules and processes, having a conversation to explore personalization of their work experience can be very beneficial.
  • 2. Pay and benefits:
    Competitive compensation is simply a given, and keeping pace with current market benchmarks requires a significant adjustment for most clubs. Additional benefits and perks are something clubs can creatively offer to enhance pay packages.
  • 2. Performance expectations:
    Gallup research finds that “when employees strongly agree they received meaningful feedback in the past week, they are almost four times more likely than other employees to be engaged. Give feedback freely, frequently, and fervently. Celebrate successes, offer constructive insights, and ask for their direct feedback.
  • 4. Professional development:
    Through the pandemic, the vast majority of clubs neglected this area as they focused on survival, adapting to Covid safety protocols, and business recovery. Employees clearly want organizations to invest in their career and personal growth.
  • 5. Meaningful work:
    The pandemic spawned a recalibration of priorities for many, with multitudes seeking more rewarding and purposeful careers. Make sure to reinforce the value of each individual’s contribution toward the goal of helping members lead healthier, happier lives.

I’ve often challenged leaders to consider whether, given the opportunity, they would rehire a current team member again? This same paradigm is increasingly a consideration for staff. Given the opportunity (which is perhaps now more prevalent than ever), would they choose to work for your organization again?

A thoughtful approach can make this answer a resounding YES!

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