“We don't need a recruiter, we have a Director of Human Resources….”
In our travels, we frequently hear that refrain. While the two positions are complementary, they are not the same. Most private clubs have one person who is “responsible” for human resources; meaning that they are the person who handles employee benefits, as well as paperwork for new employees, but they handle other administrative duties as well. Larger clubs may even have the resources to employ one full-time person to focus solely on human resources, but many clubs split the position and have a senior staff member who assumes the HR responsibility; along with other responsibilities. Sometimes this person is the Controller/CFO, sometimes this person is the General Manager, sometimes it is someone else. But the point is that human resources is not their primary role or responsibility.
A new trend in clubs (along with other industries) is to outsource the HR functions. Usually someone, whether employed or outsourced, is keeping the HR functions of support and coaching to current employees; ensuring the organization is compliant with local and national regulations; benefits administration; employee record-keeping and termination; to include all the pertinent paperwork. This is a crucial role within any organization and a trained dedicated professional should be responsible.
So, we’ve established that once the employees are in the door, a person is taking care of their human resource needs but who is recruiting new talent to the club?
In today's challenging labor market, recruiting new staff can be a full-time job. If your club is busy year-round, natural attrition and turnover will require a substantial number of new employees. If your club is seasonal, the pressure increases prior to the season, but then you may find yourself with a significant amount of time between hiring pushes. Sourcing qualified candidates SHOULD be a continuous year-round process, but often this is a process that gets pushed off until the need is dire. It takes more than 100 work hours to recruit a mid-to upper-level manager within the club industry. Some questions we have when we run across a club who claims to not need a recruiter are:
Is Recruiting a Function that a General Manager has Placed on Department Heads?
Does each department head feasibly have the time to source and qualify the best candidate for each position within their schedule of primary job functions? Are department heads offering the job to the first candidate that completes the interview and accepts the rate of pay offered?
Does the New Hire Fit with the Brand?
Are you taking the time to find a new hire who will hit the ground running from day one and immediately become an integral part of the team? Do you use personality tests to assess whether the new hire is a good match with the existing team? Did you know Chik-fil-A takes between 6 months and 6 years to hire home office senior staff?
What Ability Does the New Hire Have to Grow into a Future Leadership Position?
The clubs with the strongest staff are ones who hire their team based upon current and future staffing needs; meaning they are hiring a candidate with the intention that the person will be a part of the staff long enough to grow professionally into a leadership or management role, as current leadership and management grows professionally.
Does Your Team Check References? How Far Back and Deep do They Dig?
These days, its very easy for candidates to take time to do research on the current open positions at your club, your club’s reputation, and even if your club’s current pay rates commensurate with other area clubs. The same can be said for a manager doing their research to determine information about candidates—not only do managers have the ability to do phone references, but they also should be checking their employees’ online presence as well. This is the most crucial portion of hiring. Nothing predicts the future like previous behavior. You should spend a significant amount of time checking references; ideally the same amount of time as it takes to conduct the candidate’s primary phone interview with each reference.
If you are like most clubs, the answer to most of these questions is “no” or “I don’t know.” Given the current economic climate, staffing and recruiting will only get more difficult. Some clubs are taking the lead in recruiting, but they are up against stiff competition as other industries dedicate significant resources to recruiting. Many young, talented hospitality-driven individuals are being lured away by local restaurant chains and hotels. Those two industries are spending the resources to attract top talent, leaving your club with a group of sub-standard candidates. Allocating resources, whether internally or externally, to recruiting will pay dividends to your club.
Do you have questions on how to recruit, retain and attract the best and brightest staff to your club? I’d love to hear from you!
Brian Armstrong is RCS's primary recruiter, and a Certified Club Manager with over 17 years of management experience in all types of clubs. Brian's industry knowledge is vast and extends to every area of the club. This well-rounded expertise combined with a forward-thinking perspective enables Brian to effectively and strategically guide clubs and their Boards into the 21st century while still respecting the traditions of the past. He was elected President of the National Capital Club Manager's Association in 2012 and 2013, served over 5 years on the Board and countless others on various committees, and shares RCS's passion for giving back to the industry.
Contact him at Brian@consultingRCS.com or visit the RCS website at www.consultingRCS.com.