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11/4/2018 » 11/6/2018
2018 Annual Conference

2017 September October Director's Corner
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Director's Corner 
by Scott Ellis, Superintendent, Wellshire Golf Course 
As I talk to my fellow Superintendents this year, the conversation starts out the same as it does most years. How has your summer been? How are your rounds looking? After that most times, the talk turns to labor. Specifically, the lack thereof, and managing and retaining current employees.

Nationwide, unemployment rates are at 4.7%. As of July 21st, Colorado ranks last, or first depending on how you look at it, with an astonishingly low rate of 2.3%! What this means for us in the golf industry is that there are fewer people looking for jobs, especially for the wage we pay. For most of us, starting wages for seasonal employees range anywhere from $10-$13 per hour. A few years ago, this was extremely competitive and applications were piled high on our desk, allowing superintendents to be selective when hiring, and allowed for replacement of employees lost to attrition during the season. Now, this happens to be the same starting wage range as a lot of retail and fast food jobs, plus they don’t have to wake up at 4am every day. Fewer and fewer people want to work for us.

So, what to do? The answer is easy, right? Increase the hourly wage we pay. That may be a possibility for some courses, but for many, static budgets and flatlined yearly rounds won’t allow this. The solution is to make our jobs more attractive to prospective employees. Here are a few tips to achieve this:

Take a Marketing Approach to Recruiting
To recruit the best, employers have to make recruiting a 24/7 activity. If you only recruit when you have openings, you can’t get the best, because the pressure to hire someone immediately causes you to be less selective and often results in a bad hiring decision.

Make it Easy to Find Employees
To hire the best, you’ve got to make it easy for the best people to apply. If you accept phone calls, résumés, and applications only during regular business hours, you discourage the very people you should be trying to recruit -- all the good people who are busy working. This means you must modify or extend your hours for accepting applications and conducting interviews to sync with applicant availability.

Today’s job applicants are busy. They sit down at the computer and “let their fingers do the walking.” If you’re not using Internet job boards and your company website to advertise your jobs, you’re missing the boat.

Simplify your application process. Many companies lose jobseekers by making the process too complicated and/or time-consuming.

Become Flexible
Many employers recruit for full time positions when many hourly workers would prefer 30 or fewer hours per week. Schedules can be adjusted so that crews are full during busy times and lighter when labor is not as needed. 20 employees at 20 hours a week can be more effective than 10 employees at 40 hours. This flexibility also can attract people looking for secondary sources of income or golf benefits such as professionals or retirees. 

Seasonal staffing shortages are a problem I do not see going away anytime soon, but hopefully these tips can help you to attract and hire quality employees so they see how satisfying our jobs can be.

Contact Gary Leeper at RMGCSA
Voice: 303-255-9611 Fax: 303-458-0002
12011 Tejon St., Ste. 700., Westminster, CO 80234 EMAIL: