5 Tools for Increasing Staff Engagement at Your Club 

I’ll admit, when I signed up for this topic a few months ago, I had a much different article in mind. I thought about all the fun ways technology creates opportunities for staff engagement and interaction. And sure, technology is still fun, but in this COVID world in which we now find ourselves, it’s shifted from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’. Literally overnight, clubs were forced to shift to remote working and find ways to compensate for the face-to-face interactions they relied on daily with their members and staff. Along with the operational impact of remote working, club leadership now has to solve for the optics associated with team engagement in a virtual environment.

The Stakes Have Been Raised

This is no easy task when you consider the issues that already existed with employee engagement. A recent Gallup study poll found that incredibly, only 30% of employees said they’re engaged in their job. More than 50% of employees said they weren’t engaged, and almost 20% of employees stated that they were actively disengaged. I’d venture to guess those numbers are now more reflective of unemployment rates than engagement rates, and engagement rates for those still employed have most likely dropped even further. This could certainly be attributed to the shift to remote working - and it could also be attributed to how we’re now defining engagement.

Pre-COVID employee engagement was defined as the measure of how emotionally invested your staff is in the organization. An engaged employee WANTS the club to succeed; they don’t just want the next paycheck. They believe in the club’s mission. An engaged employee needs to feel like they’re part of a team that’s working towards a common goal, and crucially, they need to feel that they are a valued staff member of the club.  While all of this is still true, the stakes have been raised because many employees are going to view their value as the central driver in the safety precautions their club puts in place. How a club responds to the needs of their employees is an investment in their health and well-being, and that will certainly impact engagement. 

The Role of Technology is Essential

So where does technology come? Well, some clubs might feel hesitant to issue their staff with new gadgets, like smart devices and tablets. Traditionally these tools have been viewed by employers as distractions and productivity sinks that take up people’s time with games about candy and farms and pirates. But that’s not the case. The operations and systems of the club must be accessible by staff on and off club property. Staff must be enabled to execute their work on remote devices, and in contactless ways.

Club leadership should use technology to encourage staff to work and train virtually. By allowing for virtual communication between staff, as well as with members, leaders will boost employee engagement. This will result in happier, more motivated, and more productive employees. Below are some suggested tools to facilitate safe engagement on and off club grounds.

1. Website, Reservation, and Mobile Tools

Protecting your staff is just as important as protecting your members. Creating an experience that allows staff to engage in a safe and controlled environment is key. Utilize website and reservation systems to adjust the spacing of groups on a golf course, control court access and times, and maximize pool and fitness center use while staying within guidelines. Build in additional time for your staff to sanitize equipment between use. Reconfigure dining for capacity, table spacing, and proximity.  Introduce Mobile POS to create a digital hostess for member dining check-in.

2. Extend the Use of Mobile Apps, Email Marketing, SMS, and Virtual Tour Systems

Allow your staff to communicate with current and prospective members utilizing digital body language. With tools like email marketing and SMS, virtual communication can be more frequent, consistent, and relevant. Creating virtual tours with drone footage or Google’s Virtual Tour Creator means your staff can still market the amenities of the club at a safe distance. These same tools can also be used for communicating among staff. Ensure that all staff are clear on procedures and adjusted operations by sending push-notifications through the club’s app, as well as email and SMS. 

3. Leverage File Sharing and Wikis

Tools like Dropbox or Google Drive provide inexpensive and easy-to-use interface solutions for storing important documents. You gain the peace of mind that everything is safe and well-communicated, not to mention backed-up on the cloud. Wikis allow you to create a resource where your employees can find all the information they need on their own – a self-access center for training and development. It’ll help everyone get on the same page and keep all your employees up to date on the right way of doing things.  

4. Consider Gamification

A key issue with engagement is generating motivation with your staff daily. Gamification makes practical day-to-day activities, like training or simply checking-in, more compelling. Using it appropriately can boost participation rates and increase employee motivation. People have a natural desire to compete, and if there’s a fun, measurable way of doing so, you’ll notice employees joking and comparing with one another. 

5. Practice Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Recognition

43% of workers cite a lack of recognition as one of their biggest sources of unhappiness at work. Smart organizations have started to adopt P2P (peer-to-peer) recognition to boost employee engagement. Identify tools, like LinkedIn’s new recognition feature, to help your staff feel valued and respected. Teammates become cheerleaders for one another and create stronger support networks. When senior management is too busy, having an active network of colleagues behind you can make all the difference to engagement and productivity. Creating a culture of recognition is truly a beautiful thing. It creates a whole new attitude and outlook on the company and on working life. 

The Coronavirus is accelerating one of the biggest transformations in decades. Yes, it’s a health crisis but it’s also an incredible opportunity to transform. Leadership now has the chance to ensure their staff, through actions, that they are safe, supported, and emotionally secure.

Want to learn more about how Clubessential and the Essential Suite can personally help your club staff and build engagement even now? Schedule a personal consultation.