Part 2: 8 Ways to Foster Best Staff and Showcase your Club’s Work Culture
In part one of this two part article post we covered a few club-specific policy considerations for your Employee Handbook to help protect your club’s reputation and liability. Today, in part two we will share 8 ways your Club Employee Handbook can help motivate your team, retain your best staff, ensure compliance, and how these aspects work to promote your club’s culture and reputation for excellence.
1) Introduction to your Club’s Culture, Mission, and Values: The introduction is perhaps the most important aspect of your Employee Handbook as a way to help new employees understand your club culture and how they will fit in. Your introduction should help foster a sense of pride and belonging; studies show this helps employees become more productive in a shorter period of time. The introductions section of an Employee Handbook will answer these questions: “What do we do that sets us apart?” “History of the Club’s origin, mission, and values your team is passionate about.” Plus express, “How can I, as a new hire, become a part of this culture?” The introduction section sets the standard for the employment relationship in general, and provides a guidepost for the remaining policies communicated in the handbook.
2) What Your Club Expects of Employees: A well-written handbook communicates to employees a clear understanding of their responsibilities and expectations. Your handbook should serve as a compass of the club’s policies and procedures. For example, advise employees what the procedures are for requesting time off, whom they should contact when they have an unscheduled absence, and what the timing should be. It should also let them know who to go to if they have questions about any of the specific policies in the handbook. By providing clear, accessible information about an employee’s general responsibilities regarding safety, timekeeping, reporting, and so on, will help ensure your staff continues moving in the right direction.
3) What Your Employees Can Expect From Club Management and Leadership: An employee handbook clarifies club objectives and leadership styles, as well as management best practices, to foster healthy management-employee relationships. It also outlines logistics, such as timekeeping requirements, hours of work, pay periods, and so on. Further, a complete employee handbook advises employees of their various entitlements to federal and state leaves, such as FMLA or Jury Service Leave. These clearly communicated policies help to eliminate confusion and inconsistencies that result when handbooks are silent on these topics.
4) Clearly Communicate Key Policies Your Club Follows: No policy is effective if it is practiced inconsistently. A handbook will accurately communicate your club’s policies regarding employment, conduct and behavior, compensation, and other policies and procedures your club follows. Most importantly, managers can refer to the handbook when answering questions or making decisions regarding your policies, and ensure their actions are consistent with your policies and best practices.
5) Showcase the Benefits of Working at Your Club: Many clubs offer robust benefits package to help retain and attract the best and brightest employees, so be sure they know about your full suite of offerings by communicating these in the handbook. Does your club offer vacations, 401k, health insurance, paid parental leave, or other benefits to employees? Make sure they know about these policies and the eligibility requirements by communicating them in the handbook.
6) Ensure Compliance with Federal and State Laws: No matter what state you’re in, or how many employees you have, you are subject to state and federal employment laws. Your club’s handbook not only communicates these various entitlements and obligations to employees, but is useful in demonstrating that your club strives to be compliant with these regulations. For example, if your employee is called away to active-duty military service, you will want to be sure they understand their rights and obligations when reporting this leave time to you. Your Military Leave Policy should clearly define these parameters to the employee. Other similar government mandate policies should be defined as well, such as state disability leave, federal FMLA leave, etc…
7) Defend Your Club Against Employee Claims: Unfortunately, employers should consider it a matter of when, and not if, they will face a lawsuit or similar challenge from a current or former employee. When this happens, one of the most useful documents you can provide your attorney or third party investigator will be a copy of your handbook. A thorough and compliant employee handbook will help to show that the club has exercised “reasonable care” towards its employees. The employee’s signed acknowledgement page will show that the employee had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the club’s policies, a chance to ask related questions, knew who they could turn to for help at the club, and agreed to follow the terms and conditions of employment set forth by the club.
8) Let Employees Know Where to Turn for Help: Ultimately, you want employees to feel comfortable turning to a trusted member of management for help when they want to report workplace violations, obtain workplace-related assistance, and find answers to any other questions they may have. The alternative is for them to turn to an outside third party, like the EEOC or DOL, which could trigger a costly and time-consuming investigation. When a handbook not only outlines one or two management individuals for an employee to turn to in these situations, but also designates another individual to turn to in the event the employee disagrees with the first decision, they are more likely to keep their complaints in-house, and this is a good thing for employers.
Unlike other work environments, clubs cannot afford to train ever-changing service staff; they must seek ways to attract and keep their best employees motivated for longevity to make the most of their labor investment. This mindset is even more important due to the rise of Millennials in today’s workforce, which studies show they value being a part of a “work family” that engenders loyalty, trust in leadership, provides benefit packages, professional development opportunities, and ultimately offers a sense of accomplishment. For them, work isn’t just about income, and they are much less willing to endure unpleasant conditions on the job. Approximately 46% of the US workforce will be comprised of this generation by 2020; unlike preceding generations, Millennials were raised with a lot of structure, consistent coaching or feedback, instant access to information, and are accustomed to understanding precisely how they are to be assessed.
By integrating these 8 aspects into a well-written, clearly defined Employee Handbook will not only help to protect your club from possible litigation and lax behavior around your club’s policy standards, but should also help your employees feel secure in knowing exactly what is expected of them to succeed, and bolster a sense of pride to be a part of your exceptional organization. Practice reviewing your Club Employee Handbook annually; let it serve as a motivational tool for current employees by way of reminding them of all the wonderful benefits they receive from being a member on your team, and it should clearly define what’s expected to be a member of your club's staff. Most people want to be a part of an organization they can be proud of, when they are, they will brag about the benefits to others, and when others see employees who are enthusiastic about their work place, often they ask, “Are you hiring?”
“8 Reasons Your Organization Should Have an Employee Handbook” HR Advisor Newsletter: February 2015