By Myles Leong, Golf Operations Manager for Monaghan Golf Group at Fraserview & Langara Golf Courses
In an ideal world, employee training happens before the busy season with the hopes that your team will hit the ground running. However, this isn’t always possible and sometimes we are flying by the seat of our pants when we are dealing with mid-season employee changes. Nevertheless, training new employees and the continued professional development for your returning employees is essential to the smooth operation of the everyday workplace.
While training should be done at the beginning of every season, on-going training for both new and returning employees helps strengthen skills, develop a clear understanding of performance expectations and workplace culture with the end result of becoming a stronger member of the team. Training is also a great way to get to know your employees and their capabilities.
Let’s look at some reasons why formal training – as opposed to learning ‘on the fly’ – is beneficial:
Consistency of service
In a busy golf operation where we can see upwards of 300 golfers per day, it is absolutely vital that everyone from your newest employee to your most seasoned vet be working on the same page. To ensure a high level of consistent and efficient customer service, all team members should learn the standard way to answer phone calls and greet your guests, right down to how to park the power carts in the morning. An understanding of your service standard should all be consistent to ensure the best guest experience. This consistency will also prevent any confusion that may occur without proper training and will ensure a black and white understanding of the policies and procedures.
Proper training will increase productivity. If your employees are fully trained, they will know what their duties and performance expectations are which will positively impact the quality and quantity of their performance. Proper training engenders a certain level of trust and therefore there will be less need for constant supervision; you can know that your employees are doing a great job even when you aren’t around. With this trust and independence comes ownership over the tasks which improves the level of service and overall morale of employees; team members will be motivated to work and their job satisfaction will be higher. Sometimes untrained employees lead to unhappy employees, which in turn, leads to unhappy customers.
An enormous benefit to properly training employees is ensuring safety and proper risk management. It’s essential to cover all aspects of safety including WHIMIS, how to operate the AED and manage theft prevention. This will theoretically decrease work-related injuries. In case of emergencies, all employees should know the proper protocol and procedure without assistance. Furthermore, risk management training will assist employees in understanding the rights and wrongs of workplace behaviour involving customers as well as other employees.
Giving and getting feedback
Training will involve some back and forth, questions, demonstrations and conversations with your team members. Attuning yourself to both visual and verbal cues will help identify the strengths and weaknesses of employees. When giving feedback, try giving ‘guided cues’ rather than telling the employee what they did wrong and what they should have done. Ask the employee what they think went wrong in the situation and what they should do the next time. This gives the employee an opportunity for self-reflection, critical thinking and problem solving in determining a solution on his or her own. And don’t forget the positives! Always acknowledge and thank your employees when doing a good job, and be specific! This will make your employees feel acknowledged and accomplished and they will want to strive to do more. This opens to door to grooming the cream of the crop for more advanced positions in your business.
Proper training – and on-going training – results in employees who will have a strong understanding of all aspects of your operation. From consistent customer service to increased productivity, from an understanding of policies and procedures to an awareness of potential safety hazards, the trained employee provides enormous value to your company.