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Staffing Challenges and Opportunities: Strategies to Ramp Up Your Workforce

In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity. – Albert Einstein

The hospitality world, specifically the private club labor market, has been turned on its head. KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE recently completed several weeks of recruitment efforts in the Las Vegas area, making major inroads into many hard-hit hotel and resort areas to ensure those impacted workers understand the virtues of working in private clubs. Several months ago, the reoccurring employment theme centered on the difficulty of attracting and retaining employees. “It is a tight labor market out there,” was repeated by clubs as national unemployment numbers continued to hit all-time lows.

COVID-19 has given the private club industry a great opportunity to recalibrate the makeup of its workforce. Call to mind Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, and one of his famous leadership dictums to remove the bottom 10% (“the C players”) of each business unit’s employees each year.

This is not to say you should not bring back 10% of your team, but rather that this is a great chance not to bring back those that spend their days actively trying to sink the boat that is your team culture. Studies show that if you put 10 of your teammates in a paddle boat 3 of 10 will paddle vigorously toward the team goals, 4 of 10 will just coast on the energy of the three paddling hard, and the last 3 of 10 will be actively trying to sink the boat (your culture).

Even converting the three sinkers into active coasters will make your boat faster and save teammates’ energies for better things, but with millions of unbelievably talented hospitality people being furloughed, replacing your sinkers will never be easier.


Three months ago, KKW told clubs there is no magic pill to solve the tight labor market, but there are ways to increase your success in attracting and retaining talent by making sure you are an employer of choice. That has not changed. There are a lot of wonderfully talented people looking for work, but there are also many great organizations that are going to try and snag them, so make sure you’re focused.

There are endless approaches to making an organization highly sought after by the talented and the committed. Where do you begin? The key strategies must be right for any of the smaller or more tangential ones to be meaningful. For example, the Five Cs to get the team focused as “one” include:

1. Culture – One culture everyone believes in

2. Communication – Open, clear, and concise in every direction

3. Clarity – No doubt about who you are as an organization and where you want to go

4. Collegiality – Sincere interest in one another on the team

5. Cultivation – Be a teaching organization and develop growth plans for your teammates

Once you nail the Five Cs, many of your building blocks are much easier and more intuitive, including:

• Fair pay

• Good benefits

• More schedule flexibility

• Work-life balance

Knowing what makes you a sought-after employer is the first step. The next is strategic implementation. A big variable that makes it more challenging for your club to be an employer of choice are the generational gaps. There are three distinctly different generations battling it out in the workforce, and each of them values life and work a little differently. Millennials, generation Xers, and baby boomers couldn’t be more different in their expectations of an organization. Still, in order to find the common threads, clubs must take the time to get to know employees and their varied expectations.

Good news: If you’re nailing the Five Cs, you’re covering everyone’s needs. Along with the generational challenges you face, technology is always there to help, hurt or drive you crazy. Your reputation as an employer can be broadcast throughout the cyber world, giving a stronger voice to employees. Facebook, Twitter, Glassdoor and Knozen are giving employees the power to help or harm your reputation in a powerful and lasting way. For those employers doing it right, it will only perpetuate your positives. For those missing the beat, it will only draw more attention to your weaknesses.

Bottom-line: It matters. Your team culture is your club’s culture. You can’t have an average place to work and have an above-average club. The Five Cs take time and strategic planning, so get on it. In the interim do these things now to ebb the tide:

• Be pickier about recruitment and teammate selection

• Onboard new teammates better

• Teach and train methodically

• Recognize team efforts consistently

• Seek teammate feedback and use it to make you better Are you ready to take advantage of this opportunity that COVID-19 has provided?

Are you an employer of choice? Do you have a team that is happy to be there, that is growing and that is unified? If not, you likely cannot and will not achieve success on a consistent, sustainable basis. If you need to, begin your plan to change today and seize this opportunity.