Michael D. Vogt
Maintaining healthy turf may be the easy part of being a superintendent, managing healthy employee relations in an ever increasing sized organization is a pre-requisite for golf course staff success.
Strong employee relations are required for high productivity and more importantly, human satisfaction. Employee relations generally deal with avoiding and/or resolving issues concerning individuals which might arise out of or influence the work scenario. Strong employee relations depend upon healthy and safe work environment, percent involvement and commitment of all employees, incentives for employee motivation, and an effective communication system in the organization. Healthy employee relations lead to more efficient, motivated and productive employees which further lead to increase in overall productivity.
Good employee relation signifies that employees should feel positive about their identity, their job as well as about being a part of such a great organization. Despite the importance of strong and healthy employee relations, there are circumstances in the life of every organization when employee and management relations are hampered. Instances of such circumstances may be as follows:
When the employees do not behave as per accepted norms of behavior, it is known as employee indiscipline. Absenteeism, change in employee’s behavior, slow performance and grievances are all forms of employee indiscipline. Thus, when the employees fail to meet management expectations in terms of standard performance and behavior, it is referred to as indiscipline. In such cases, it must be ensured by the management that steps should be taken so that employee’s behavior is in conformity with the managerial expectations.
Similarly, the employees also expect from the management to provide them a safe working environment, fair treatment, proper incentives, participation in decisions, and needs satisfaction. The failure on part of management to meet these expectations is termed as employee grievance.
When the employees fail to meet their own expectations whether in terms of personal goals, career goals, performance, self-respect, etc. it is referred to as employee stress. Excessive workload, insufficient workload, peer pressure, excessive/unreasonable use of authority by the management, lack of promotional opportunities, nature of job, etc. all again lead to employee stress.
All the above mentioned organizational factors influencing employee relations must be carefully undertaken. An optimistic approach to strengthen disciplinary culture rooted on shared norms of employees should be adopted. An effective grievance corrective system should be there. Stress management strategies should be followed in the organization.
Improving Employee Relations
Employee relations must be strengthened in an organization. To do so, following points must be taken care of:
- Employee has expectation of fair and just treatment by the management. Thus, management must treat all employees as individuals and must treat them in a fair manner. Employee favoritism should be avoided.
- Do not make the employees’ job monotonous. Keep it interesting. Make it more challenging. This can be done by assigning employees greater responsibilities or indulging them in training programs.
- Maintain a continuous interaction with the employees. Keep them updated about company’s policies, procedures and decisions. Keep the employees well-informed. Informed employees will make sound decisions and will remain motivated and productive. Also, they will feel as a member of organizational family in this manner.
- Employees must be rewarded and appreciated for a well-done job or for achieving/over-meeting their targets. This will boost them and they will work together as a team.
- Encourage employee feedback. This feedback will make the employers aware of the concerns of employees, and their views about “you” as an employer.
- Give the employees competitive salary. They should be fairly paid for their talents, skills and competencies.
- Be friendly but not over-friendly with the employees. Build a good rapport with the employee. The employee should feel comfortable with the manager/supervisor rather than feeling scared.
Performance Management—The Key to Fostering Over-Preforming Employees
What’s the secret to achieving greater organizational success? Strong Performance Management—the processes you put in place to measure and reward the abilities of your workforce to meet and exceed goals.
Improving morale, creating loyalty and increasing overall productivity in your employees through performance management is the key to your company outperforming the competition. An effective performance management system is at its best when it establishes a true pay-for-performance culture which, in turn, develops employee engagement. The process for linking a company’s compensation plan to individual or team performance includes setting, measuring and rewarding achievable performance expectations.
There are many ways to approach the task of creating a performance management process, but most are organized something like this:
- Individual goals and corporate strategy are defined and communicated company-wide.
- Progress on goals is monitored, and management provides coaching on performance.
- Individual performance is appraised with feedback and formal documentation.
Compensation is given based upon performance. If performance meets or exceeds the desired standard, a reward is given. If performance does not meet the desired standards, a performance development plan is created to address the gap, and a new performance date is scheduled.
The first step in performance management is setting the stage correctly—defining individual goals and aligning them with the corporate strategy. The process of setting goals should be a collaborative process between a manager and his or her employees. Once the company-wide strategy is established, individual goals should be created that support the “big picture”. Major job functions and responsibilities, both shared and individual, should be addressed within a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) goal framework.
Specific: Well-defined to inform employees exactly what is expected, when, and how much.
Measurable: Provide milestones to track progress and motivate employees toward achievement.
Achievable: Success needs to be attainable with effort by an average employee, with a bit of a stretch.
Relevant: The goals should focus on the greatest impact to the overall corporate strategy.
Timely: A goal should be grounded within a time frame to create a sense of urgency for completion.
Monitoring Progress on Goals
Managers need to be aware of their employees’ progress on goals in order to step in with coaching assistance or resources when it appears that goal targets may be missed or, even better, to acknowledge successes with appropriate monetary or non-monetary rewards. In addition to the need for managers to review the employees’ productivity, it’s also important for the employees to track their own progress on goals. Having this information handy is helpful during the all-important appraisal process to inform management of the steps involved in reaching a goal or to highlight successes from earlier in the year. The secret to high performance: review individual and team goals at least once a week or month to clarify your focus and use this information as a basis for performance discussions. You can use the opportunity to review the progress and adjust timelines, request additional resources if necessary, or even broaden the goal once more information is gathered from other sources.
In order to get the most out of their employees, the appraisal process should include listening, observing, giving constructive feedback, and providing recognition. Most performance management solutions include writing assistants and coaching tools to help managers find just the “right words” to give constructive analysis of the employee’s performance. The most important part of the appraisal is to provide feedback about what the employee has successfully learned and still needs to learn and create a plan to provide the opportunity for the employee to develop those necessary skills. This can be an important factor not only in the employee's growth, but also in the health of the entire organization since employees have a greater sense of loyalty to companies that develop talent from within and thus become more engaged in their work. These development plans also allow the company to create a pool of talent for strategic succession planning.
A successful pay-for-performance compensation strategy can be the key to retaining your top talent and driving organizational performance that exceeds all expectations. At its core, pay-for-performance serves to align your people with the goals and objectives of the company and motivate and reward your top performers, while continuing to develop the under performers to become greater assets to your organization.
It is important for an employee to know that if his or her work performance meets or exceeds expectations that he or she will be rewarded for the hard work appropriately through pay raises, bonuses or other rewards (flexible schedule or time-off, gifts, recognition through awards, etc.) Pay for performance compensation structures not only account for the individual, but also for the working environment and performance of the team as well, encouraging the employees to band together to reach the common goal.
With golf maintenance staffs getting larger in number and especially multi-cultural, a first-rate performance management plan is the key to creating an engaged and aligned workforce—the hallmark of all successful businesses. Without one, your course or club could lose more than just time and money – you could lose knowledge, employees and, in the end, your competitive edge in your local marketplace.