Chapter 10: Managing Human Resources in the Golf and Club Industry

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Define human resource management and explain how managers develop and implement a human resource plan.
  • Explain how companies train and develop employees, and discuss the importance of a diverse workforce.
  • Identify factors that make an organization a good place to work, including competitive compensation and benefits packages.
  • Explain how managers evaluate employee performance and retain qualified employees.

Human Resources at RiverBend Golf Community

Photo of Riverbend Golf Community staff
Photo by Riverbend Golf Club Staff used with permission, All Rights Reserved.

“At RiverBend Golf Community we believe that finding the right candidate who fits with our existing team is the key to our success. When recruiting for new team members, it is imperative that all new staff understand the level of service they need to provide on a daily basis. During the interview process we rely on our Human Resources specialist to assist with questions that will draw out their understanding of customer service and what detailed experiences they have had during their prior employment. Once hired, the onboarding process for new employees is extensive where they meet with not just their direct supervisor but also other senior leaders. Our success relies on individuals who understand and appreciate that they are working for the Club and Community and not solely their specific department. Our belief at RiverBend is to support all team members by providing them with professional development opportunities that will further their skillset which will assist them in their professional pursuits. Ultimately, we realize that our success depends on how well we hire, train and develop these employees each and every season.” [1]

Human Resource Management

Employees at Golf Courses and Club’s are vital to business success.  In most cases, they are the face of the business, and every dollar of sales passes through their hands.  If a customer has a positive interaction with an employee, the customer will come back. If an encounter is negative, the customer is probably gone for good. That’s why it’s crucial for Golf courses and clubs to recruit and hire the right people, train them properly, motivate them to do their best, and encourage them to stay. Thus, the golf course and club’s works to provide satisfying jobs, a positive work environment, appropriate work schedules, and fair compensation and benefits. These activities should be the core strategy of golf courses and clubs to deploy human resources in order to gain a competitive advantage.

This process is called human resource management (HRM), which consists of all actions that an organization takes to attract, develop, and retain quality employees. Each of these activities is complex. Attracting talented employees involves the recruitment of qualified candidates and the selection of those who best fit the organization’s needs. Development encompasses both new-employee orientation and the training and development of current workers. Retaining good employees means motivating them to excel, appraising their performance, compensating them appropriately, and doing what’s possible to keep them.

Human Resource Planning

How do golf courses and clubs make sure that their organizations are staffed with the right number of committed employees? Managing these tasks is a matter of strategic human resource planning—the process of developing a plan for satisfying an organization’s human resources (HR) needs.

A strategic HR plan lays out the steps that an organization will take to ensure that it has the right number of employees with the right skills in the right places at the right times. HR managers begin by analyzing the company’s mission, objectives, and strategies.

Job Analysis

To develop an HR plan, HR managers must be knowledgeable about the jobs that the organization needs to perform. They organize information about a given job by performing a job analysis to identify the tasks, responsibilities, and skills that it entails, as well as the knowledge and abilities needed to perform it. Managers also use the information collected for the job analysis to prepare two documents:

  • A job description, which lists the duties and responsibilities of a position
  • A job specification, which lists the qualifications—skills, knowledge, and abilities— needed to perform the job

HR Supply and Demand Forecasting

Once they’ve analyzed the jobs within the organization, HR managers must forecast future hiring (or firing) needs. This is the three-step process summarized below.

Simple graphic with three steps to consider in the performance appraisal process. The first step is to set goals and performance expectations and specify criteria that will be used to measure performance. The second step is to complete a written evaluation that raters performance according to the stipulated criteria. The third step is to meet with the employee to discuss the evaluation and suggest means of improving performance.
“How to Forecast Hiring (and Firing) Needs”

After calculating the disparity between supply and future demand, HR managers must draw up plans for bringing the two numbers into balance. If the demand for labour is going to outstrip the supply, they may hire more workers, encourage current workers to put in extra hours, subcontract work to other suppliers, or introduce labour-saving initiatives. If the supply is greater than the demand, they may deal with overstaffing by not replacing workers who leave, encouraging early retirements, laying off workers, or (as a last resort) firing workers.

Recruiting Qualified Employees

Armed with information on the number of new employees to be hired and the types of positions to be filled, the HR manager then develops a strategy for recruiting potential employees. Recruiting is the process of identifying suitable candidates and encouraging them to apply for openings in the organization.

Before going any further, we should point out that in recruiting and hiring, managers must comply with anti-discrimination laws; violations can have legal consequences. Discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly on the basis of a characteristic unrelated to ability. Under Section 3 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, it’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of “race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered.”

The Canadian Human Rights Commission and Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect and enforce a number of federal employment laws and protect each Canadian’s right to equal treatment under the law, including the following:

  • Equal Pay: Section 11 of the CHRA which protects male and female employees who do substantially equal work from a difference in wages.
  • Other Factors: Section 15(1) of the Charter protects every Canadian’s right to equal treatment with respect to employment regardless of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability 

In Canada, each jurisdiction (3 territories and 10 provinces) is governed by its own Human Rights Code or a version of it that offers its citizens an additional layer of protection against discriminatory practices. For example, in Ontario, it is the Ontario Human Rights Act.

  • The Employment Equity Act of 1986 identifies specific populations which are protected from discrimination (women, visible minorities, indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities). Individuals who feel that they have been discriminated against can take their case to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Other legislation includes the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Labour code.
Where to Find Candidates

The first step in recruiting is to find qualified candidates. Where do you look for them, and how do you decide whether they’re qualified? Golf courses and clubs must assess not only the ability of a candidate to perform the duties of a job but also whether he or she is a good “fit” for the company– i.e., how well the candidate’s values and interpersonal style match the organizations values and culture.

Internal Versus External Recruiting

Where do you find people who satisfy so many criteria? Basically, you can look in two places: inside and outside your own organization. Both options have pluses and minuses. Hiring internally sends a positive signal to employees that they can move up in the company—a strong motivation tool and a reward for good performance. In addition, because an internal candidate is a known quantity, it’s easier to predict his or her success in a new position. Finally, it’s cheaper to recruit internally. On the other hand, you’ll probably have to fill the promoted employee’s position. Going outside gives you an opportunity to bring fresh ideas, skills and talent to the company. In any case, it’s often the only alternative, especially if no one inside the company has just the right combination of skills and experiences. Entry-level jobs are usually filled from the outside.

How to Find Candidates

Whether you search inside or outside the organization, you need to publicize the opening. If you’re looking internally in a small organization, you can alert employees informally. In larger organizations, HR managers generally post openings on bulletin boards (often online) or announce them in newsletters. They can also seek direct recommendations from various supervisors.

Recruiting people from outside is more complicated. It’s a lot like marketing a product to buyers: in effect, you’re marketing the virtues of working for your company. The following are ways to advertise openings:

  • A dedicated section of the corporate website (“Job Centre,” which lists openings, provides information about the golf course or club experience, and facilitates the submission of online applications)
  • College and university campus recruiting (holding on-campus interviews and information sessions and participating in career fairs)
  • Internships or Co-ops designed to identify future talent among college students
  • Announcements on employment websites like LinkedIn, Workopolis, Indeed, LeapOut, JobBank, Eluta. 
  • Social Media
  • Local job fairs
  • In-house recruiting posters
  • Word-of-mouth
Copetown Woods Instagram Post on recruitment
“Copetown Woods Golf Club Instagram Post” © Copetown Woods Golf Club, used with permission.

Read: Non-Amazing, Need Not Apply by Barry Forth, Copetown Woods Golf Club Golf Business Canada Magazine (page 44)
“We knew that many of the positions we were hiring for would have applicants that would have little to no experience… We knew that if we found the right people, we could train them to become great in their role… Rather than a document full of lies and overstated skills everyone else has, we opted for a 30 second elevator pitch video…  The videos allowed their personalities to come out, provided a chance for their creativity to shine and it allowed us to understand who they are as a person as opposed to what we could read on a piece of paper. “[2]

The Selection Process

Recruiting gets people to apply for positions, but once you’ve received applications, you still have to select the best candidate—another complicated process.

The selection process entails gathering information on candidates, evaluating their qualifications, and choosing the right one. At the very least, the process can be time-consuming—particularly when you’re filling a high-level position—and often involves several members of an organization.

Contingent Workers

Though most people prefer to hold permanent, full-time positions, there’s a growing number of individuals who work at temporary or part-time jobs, either by choice or as the only available option. Many of these are contingent workers hired to supplement a company’s permanent workforce. Most of them are independent contractors, consultants, or freelancers who are paid by the firms that hire them. Others are on-call workers who work only when needed, such as substitute teachers. Still, others are temporary workers (or “temps”) who are employed and paid by outside agencies or contract firms that charge fees to client companies. In the golf and club industry, many entry level positions are hired seasonally.  In Canada, most seasonal golf course positions start in April and end late October.

Watch the video: What is the ‘gig’ economy by Financial Times [6:32] (transcript available).

The Positives and Negatives of Seasonal Workers

The use of seasonal workers provides golf courses with a number of benefits. Because they can be hired and fired easily, employers can better control labour costs. When things are busy, they can add workers, and when business is slow, they can release unneeded workers. Seasonal workers are often cheaper than permanent workers, particularly because they rarely receive costly benefits. Employers can also bring in people with specialized skills and talents to work in specific areas of the operation without entering into long-term employment relationships. Finally, companies can “try out” seasonal workers: if someone does well, the golf course can offer permanent employment; if the fit is less than perfect, the employer can easily terminate the relationship or not invite the employee back the next season. There are downsides to the use of seasonal workers, including increased training costs and decreased loyalty to the golf course. Also, many employers believe that because seasonal workers are usually less committed to company goals than permanent workers, productivity and motivation suffers.  In many cases, it is very difficult to retain your most talented seasonal workers because their is a risk of losing them to competitors who provide permanent positions with better stability.

Developing Employees

Because companies can’t survive unless employees do their jobs well, it makes economic sense to train them and develop their skills. This type of support begins when an individual enters the organization and continues as long as he or she stays there.

New-Employee Orientation

Have you ever started your first day at a new job feeling upbeat and optimistic only to walkout at the end of the day thinking that maybe you’ve taken the wrong job? If this happens too often, your employer may need to revise its approach to orientation—the way it introduces new employees to the organization and their jobs. Starting a new job is a little like beginning college; at the outset, you may be experiencing any of the following feelings:

  • Somewhat nervous but enthusiastic
  • Eager to impress but not wanting to attract too much attention
  • Interested in learning but fearful of being overwhelmed with information
  • Hoping to fit in and worried about looking new or inexperienced [3]

The employer who understands how common such feelings are is more likely not only to help newcomers get over them but also to avoid the pitfalls often associated with new-employee orientation:

  • Failing to have a workspace set up for you or orientating you to the job you were hired to do
  • Ignoring you or failing to supervise you
  • Neglecting to introduce you to coworkers
  • Swamping you with facts about the company [4]

A good employer will take things slowly, providing you with information about the company and your job on a need-to-know basis while making you feel as comfortable as possible. You’ll get to know the company’s history, traditions, policies, and culture over time. You’ll learn more about salary and benefits and how your performance will be evaluated. Most importantly, you’ll find out how your job fits into overall operations and what’s expected of you.

Training and Development

It would be nice if employees came with all the skills they need to do their jobs. It would also be nice if job requirements stayed the same: once you’ve learned how to do a job, you’d know how to do it forever. In reality, new employees must be trained; moreover, as they grow in their jobs or as their jobs change, they’ll need additional training. Unfortunately, training is costly and time-consuming.  Fortunately, for students attending or graduating from a Professional Golf Management program, they already have a foundation of knowledge of the golf and club business with the necessary technical skills employers are seeking.

Many Canadian companies focus much of their training on diversity skills. What’s the payoff? They create a more inclusive workplace and bring new voices and ideas to their way of doing business. Some of these companies also get additional rewards by being recognized as being Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. Diversity and inclusion give these company’s a competitive advantage.

Equity,  Inclusion, and Diversity in the Workplace

The makeup of the Canadian workforce has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. In the 1950s, more than 70 percent was composed of males. [5] Today’s workforce reflects the broad range of differences in the population—differences in gender, race, ethnicity, age, physical ability, religion, education, and lifestyle. As you can see below, more women have entered the workforce. However there is continual need for females in the golf industry, which is currently underserved.[20]

Simple table showing recent statistics from StatsCan on woman and men’s participation rate in the workforce. Population overall is 50.7% female and 49.3% male, The workforce consists of 47.4% female and 52.6% male, and the relative participation rate is 0.93 for females and 1.06 for males.
“Employment by GenderGroup, 2017”

Most companies today strive for diverse workforces. HR managers work hard to recruit, hire, develop, and retain a diverse workforce. In part, these efforts are motivated by legal concerns: discrimination in recruiting, hiring, advancement, and firing is illegal under federal law and is prosecuted by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Companies that violate anti-discrimination laws are subject to severe financial penalties and also risk reputational damage.       

Reasons for building a diverse workforce go well beyond mere compliance with legal standards. It even goes beyond commitment to ethical standards. It’s good business. People with diverse backgrounds bring fresh points of view that can be invaluable in generating ideas and solving problems. In addition, they can be the key to connecting with an ethnically diverse customer base. In short, capitalizing on the benefits of a diverse workforce means that employers should view differences as assets rather than liabilities.

What Makes a Great Place to Work?

Every year, Great Place to Work Canada analyzes comments from thousands of employees and compiles a list of “The 100 Best Companies to Work for in Canada,” which is published in Fortune magazine. Having compiled its list for more than twenty years, the institute concludes that the defining characteristic of a great company to work for is trust between managers and employees. Employees overwhelmingly say that they want to work at a place where employees “trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do, and enjoy the people they work with.” [6]They report that they’re motivated to perform well because they’re challenged, respected, treated fairly, and appreciated. They take pride in what they do, are made to feel that they make a difference, and are given opportunities for advancement. [7]The most effective motivators, it would seem, are closely aligned with Maslow’s higher-level needs and Herzberg’s motivating factors. The top ten companies are listed below.

Job Redesign

The average employee spends more than two thousand hours a year at work. If the job is tedious, unpleasant, or otherwise unfulfilling, the employee probably won’t be motivated to perform at a very high level. Many companies practice a policy of job redesign to make jobs more interesting and challenging. Common strategies include job rotation, job enlargement, and job enrichment.

Job Rotation

Specialization promotes efficiency because workers get very good at doing particular tasks. The drawback is the tedium of repeating the same task day in and day out. The practice of job rotation allows employees to rotate from one job to another on a systematic basis, often but not necessarily cycling back to their original tasks. When working your college co-op in the golf industry, it is encouraged that students rotate jobs throughout the entire operation to gain a better understanding of the business as a whole. Through job rotation, employees develop new skills and gain experience that increases their value to the company, especially if they are working towards a management position. So great is the benefit of this practice that many golf courses and clubs (especially public and semi-private) have established rotational training programs. Companies benefit because cross-trained employees can fill in for absentees, thus providing greater flexibility in scheduling, offering fresh ideas on work practices, and becoming promotion-ready more quickly.

Job Enlargement

Instead of a job in which you performed just one or two tasks, wouldn’t you prefer a job that gave you many different tasks? In theory, you’d be less bored and more highly motivated if you had a chance at job enlargement—the policy of enhancing a job by adding tasks at similar skill levels. The job of pro shop attendant, for example, might be expanded to include merchandising and setting up clothing and equipment displays in the pro shop . The additional duties would add variety without entailing higher skill levels.

Job Enrichment

Merely expanding a job by adding similar tasks won’t necessarily “enrich” it by making it more challenging and rewarding. Job enrichment is the practice of adding tasks that increase both responsibility and opportunity for growth. It provides the kinds of benefits that, according to Maslow and Herzberg, contribute to job satisfaction: stimulating work, a sense of personal achievement, self-esteem, recognition, and a chance to reach your potential.

The aforementioned example of the pro shop attendant expanding his/her duties to include merchandising, provides a sense of satisfaction and if the job is done right and sales increase, achievement and recognition!

Work | Life Quality

Building a career requires a substantial commitment of time and energy, and most people find that they aren’t left with much time for non-work activities. Fortunately, many organizations recognize the need to help employees strike a balance between their work and home lives. [8] By helping employees combine satisfying careers and fulfilling personal lives, companies tend to end up with a happier, less stressed, and more productive workforce. The financial benefits include lower absenteeism, turnover, and health care costs.

Alternative Work Arrangements

Some companies, which have consistently made the list of the “Canada’s Top Family-Friendly Employers”, [9] and is committed to helping “employees balance work and their personal lives through a variety of flexible work options.” [10]

  • Flextime – Employers who provide for flextime set guidelines that allow employees to designate starting and quitting times. Guidelines, for example, might specify that all employees must work eight hours a day (with an hour for lunch) and that four of those hours must be between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thus, you could come in at 7 a.m. and leave at 4 p.m., while coworkers arrive at 10 a.m. and leave at 7 p.m. With permission, you could even choose to work from 8 a.m to 2 p.m., take two hours for lunch, and then work from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Compressed Workweeks – Rather than work eight hours a day for five days a week, you might elect to earn a three-day weekend by working ten hours a day for four days a week. In the hospitality industry, this is obvious not possible, however, schedules can be devised to allow rotating weekends off.
  • Job sharing – Two people share one full-time position, splitting the salary and benefits of the position as each handles half the job. Often they arrange their schedules to include at least an hour of shared time during which they can communicate about the job.
  • Telecommuting means that you regularly work from home (or from some other non-work location). You’re connected to the office by computer and cell phone. You save on commuting time, enjoy more flexible work hours, and have more opportunities to spend time with your family. According to Statistics Canada, almost 40% of Canadian jobs can be done from home.[11] Telecommuting isn’t for everyone. Working at home means that you have to discipline yourself to avoid distractions, such as TV, personal phone calls, and home chores and also not be impacted by feeling isolated from the social interaction in the workplace.  As a result of the pandemic, golf course middle and upper management have more readily adopted the idea of conducting meetings through tele-conferencing application.
  • Family-Friendly Programs–  In addition to alternative work arrangements, many employers, offer programs and benefits designed to help employees meet family and home obligations while maintaining busy careers. Health Benefits that cover the employee and dependents is a way companies demonstrate a commitment to their workforce. See below for some examples of family friendly programs.

Family Friendly Programs

Dependent Care

Caring for dependents—young children and elderly parents—is of utmost importance to some employees, but combining dependent-care responsibilities with a busy job can be particularly difficult. Some companies provide employees with up to 50 hours of paid time off annually to help with a range of personal matters. This flexibility is a good “piece-of-mind” for employees.

Parental Leave and Support

New parents in Canada are guaranteed paid leave via Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits. Some companies may go a step further with a tops-up payment for new parents to 100% of their salary for up to specified amount of weeks. Some companies provide further supports for new parents by providing those on leave support with their transition back to work.

Caring for Yourself

Some companies offer employees comprehensive health and dental benefit coverage programs. They also provide employees with generous vacation allowances and personal days for employees to use in any way they want. They may also offer an Employee Assistance Program for employees experiencing personal and/or work-related problems that may negatively affect their job performance and overall well-being. If staying fit makes you happier and more productive, some companies, for example, may offer a $400 fitness club subsidy and/or offer the equivalent of 1.25% of an employee’s salary for home gym equipment. [12]

Unmarried Without Children

You’ve undoubtedly noticed by now that many programs for balancing work and personal lives target married people, particularly those with children. Single individuals also have trouble striking a satisfactory balance between work and non-work activities, but many single workers feel that they aren’t getting equal consideration from employers [13] They report that they’re often expected to work longer hours, travel more, and take on difficult assignments to compensate for married employees with family commitments.

Needless to say, requiring singles to take on additional responsibilities can make it harder for them to balance their work and personal lives. It’s harder to plan and keep personal commitments while meeting heavy work responsibilities. Frustration can lead to increased stress and job dissatisfaction. In several studies of stress in the accounting profession, unmarried workers reported higher levels of stress than any other group, including married people with children. [14]

With singles, as with married people, companies can reap substantial benefits from programs that help employees balance their work and non-work lives. For example, some companies offer a “concierge service,” which maintains a dry cleaner, travel agency, convenience store, and fitness centre close to their place of work. , New York. [15] Single employees seem to find these services helpful, but what they value most of all is control over their time. In particular, they want predictable schedules that allow them to plan social and personal activities. They don’t want employers assuming that being single means that they can change plans at the last minute. It’s often more difficult for singles to deal with last-minute changes because, unlike married coworkers, they don’t have the at-home support structure to handle such tasks as tending to elderly parents or caring for pets.

Compensation and Benefits

Though paychecks and benefits packages aren’t the only reasons why people work, they do matter. Competitive pay and benefits also help organizations attract and retain qualified employees. Companies that pay their employees more than their competitors generally have lower turnover. This strategy allows the company to attract extremely talented workers who, moreover, aren’t likely to leave the company. Low turnover is particularly valuable in the hospitality industry because it depends on service-oriented personnel to generate repeat business and a loyal customer base. In addition to salary and wages, compensation packages often include other financial incentives, such as bonuses and profit-sharing plans, as well as benefits, such as medical insurance, vacation time, sick leave, and retirement accounts (ie. RRSP matching].

Wages and Salaries

The largest, and most important, component of a compensation package is the payment of wages or salary. In order to meet your minimum obligations and pay for the expenses in your life, you need to know the wage or salary of the given position you are applying for!  The National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) provides an annual benefits and compensation report. []

Piecework and Commissions

Sometimes it makes more sense to pay workers according to the quantity of products that they produce or sell. If you’re working on commission, you’re probably getting paid a percentage of the total dollar amount you sell. If you were paid a commission for pro shop sales, you’d get a certain amount of money for item you sold.

Incentive Programs

In addition to regular paychecks, many people receive financial rewards based on performance, whether their own, their employer’s, or both. Other incentive programs designed to reward employees for good performance include bonuses or gifts.  In the golf industry, one of the major perks is a free golf membership!

Bonus Plans

Bonus plans have become quite common, and the range of employees eligible for bonuses has widened in recent years. In the past, bonus plans were usually reserved for managers above a certain level. Today, companies have realized the value of extending plans to include employees at virtually every level. The magnitude of bonuses still favors those at the top. An example of this is a retro-active wage increase for every hour that you worked in a golf season provided you stay employed until the end of the contract.  

Profit-Sharing Plans

Though profit-sharing is not common in the golf and club industry, an employee’s profit share is paid annually as a percentage of the employee’s earnings and is based on the company’s net profit. This is a great incentive and motivator to reach the companies goals and targets.

Stock-Option Plans

This is only possible for golf companies that are publicly traded on the stock exchange. Here are examples from other industries on how it would work; WestJet’s [a popular Canadian Airline] compensation plan gives employees the right to participate in their Employee Share Purchase Plan. This enables employees to purchase WestJet shares amounting to up to 20 per cent of their gross salary and the company will match their contributions. [16]This is used as an incentive to attract and retain good people.

U.S.-based Starbucks, by contrast, isn’t nearly as selective in awarding stock options. At Starbucks, all employees can earn “Bean Stock”—the Starbucks employee stock-option plan. Both full- and part-time employees get Starbucks shares based on their earnings and their time with the company. If the company does well and its stock goes up, employees make a profit. CEO Howard Schultz believes that Bean Stock pays off because employees are rewarded when the company does well, they have a stronger incentive to add value to the company (and so drive up its stock price). Starbucks has a video explaining its employee stock option program on this webpage. [17]


Another major component of an employee’s compensation package is benefits— compensation other than salaries, hourly wages, or financial incentives. Types of benefits include the following:

  • Legally required benefits (Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, Workplace Safety and Insurance Boards)
  • Paid time off (vacations, holidays, sick leave)
  • Insurance (health benefits, life insurance, disability insurance)
  • Retirement benefits
  • Fringe Benefits; like golf privilege’s, food programs, pro shop discounts etc.

The cost of providing benefits is staggering. According to a 2015 survey by the Conference Board of Canada, it costs employers an average of $8,330 to provide benefits for each full-time employee. More than half of the employers surveyed indicated a rise in benefit costs, with an average 6.2 percent increase between 2013 and 2014. [18]

Many workers received benefits in addition to those required by law, including vision care, semi-private hospital stays, and out-of-country medical coverage. [19] Plus the majority of companies surveyed indicated that they provided benefits to permanent part-time employees who work a minimum number of hours per week. Part-timers often receive no benefits at all. [20]

Performance Appraisal

Employees generally want their managers to tell them three things: what they should be doing, how well they’re doing it, and how they can improve their performance. Good managers address these issues on an ongoing basis. On a semiannual or annual basis, they also conduct formal performance appraisals to discuss and evaluate employees’ work performance.

The Basic Three-Step Process

Appraisal systems vary both by an organization and by the level of the employee being evaluated, but as you can see in Figure 11.8, it’s generally a three-step process:

  1. Before managers can measure performance, they must set goals and performance expectations and specify the criteria (such as quality of work, quantity of work, dependability, initiative) that they’ll use to measure performance.
  2. At the end of a specified time period, managers complete written evaluations that rate employee performance according to the predetermined criteria.
  3. Managers then meet with each employee to discuss the evaluation. Jointly, they suggest ways in which the employee can improve performance, which might include further training and development.

It sounds fairly simple, but why do so many managers report that, except for firing people, giving performance appraisals is their least favorite task? [21]To get some perspective on this question, we’ll look at performance appraisals from both sides, explaining the benefits and identifying potential problems with some of the most common practices.

Simple graphic with three steps to consider in the performance appraisal process. The first step is to set goals and performance expectations and specify criteria that will be used to measure performance. The second step is to complete a written evaluation that raters performance according to the stipulated criteria. The third step is to meet with the employee to discuss the evaluation and suggest means of improving performance.
“The Performance Appraisal Process”

Among other benefits, formal appraisals provide the following:

  • An opportunity for managers and employees to discuss an employee’s performance and to set future goals and performance expectations
  • A chance to identify and discuss appropriate training and career-development opportunities for an employee
  • Formal documentation of the evaluation that can be used for salary, promotion, demotion, or dismissal purposes [22]

As for disadvantages, most stem from the fact that appraisals are often used to determine salaries for the upcoming year. Consequently, meetings to discuss performance tend to take on an entirely different dimension: the manager may appear judgmental (rather than supportive), and the employee may get defensive. This adversarial atmosphere can make many managers not only uncomfortable with the task but also less likely to give honest feedback. (They may give higher marks in order to avoid delving into critical evaluations.) HR professionals disagree about whether performance appraisals should be linked to pay increases. Some experts argue that the connection eliminates the manager’s opportunity to use the appraisal to improve an employee’s performance. Others maintain that it increases employee satisfaction with the process and distributes raises on the basis of effort and results. [23]

360-Degree and Upward Feedback

Instead of being evaluated by one person, how would you like to be evaluated by several people—not only those above you in the organization but those below and beside you? The approach is called 360-degree feedback, and the purpose is to ensure that employees (mostly managers) get feedback from all directions—from supervisors, reporting subordinates, coworkers, and even customers. If it’s conducted correctly, this technique furnishes managers with a range of insights into their performance in a number of roles.

Retaining Valuable Employees

When a valued employee quits, the loss to the employer can be serious. Not only will the firm incur substantial costs to recruit and train a replacement, but it also may suffer temporary declines in productivity and lower morale among remaining employees who have to take on heavier workloads. Given the negative impact of turnover—the permanent separation of an employee from a company—most organizations do whatever they can to retain qualified employees. Compensation plays a key role in this effort: companies that don’t offer competitive compensation packages tend to lose employees. Other factors also come into play, such as training and development, as well as helping employees achieve a satisfying work/non-work balance. In the following sections, we’ll look at a few other strategies for reducing turnover and increasing productivity. [24]

Creating a Positive Work Environment

Employees who are happy at work are more productive, provide better customer service, and are more likely to stay with the company.[25]

Take a few moments and watch the video: RSA Shorts “Drive” video by Daniel Pink at RSA [10:47] (transcript avaiable) which summarizes recent research on motivation and comes to some interesting conclusions.


The Employee-Friendly Workplace

What sort of things improves employee attitudes? Ask yourself… “what would my employer need to do to make me a happier worker?”  Is it job security? Better pay? Better amenities? Better work conditions?  There are several things that contribute to a “happier worker” and it’s the companies responsibility to unlock the potential of all staff members. By doing this, studies indicate a reduction of employee turnover which is the result of a satisfied workforce.

Recognizing Employee Contributions

Thanking people for work done well is a powerful motivator. People who feel appreciated are more likely to stay with a company than those who don’t. [26] While a personal thank-you is always helpful, many companies also have formal programs for identifying and rewarding good performers. The BIG question for employers is what form of recognition is a perfect motivator for the employee? Is it money, gifts, or is it just the act of recognizing a “job well done” or “pat on the back”?

Involving Employees in Decision Making

Companies have found that involving employees in decisions saves money, makes workers feel better about their jobs, and reduces turnover. Some have found that it pays to take their advice!  In many cases, our front-line worker… those who are closest to our members and customers, can have great ideas on how to improve processes, procedures and quality of service. As a result, this provides employees with a sense of purpose and a feeling of value within the organization.

Why People Quit

“Employees don’t leave jobs, they leave managers”

As important as such initiatives can be, one bad boss can spoil everything. The way a person is treated by his or her boss may be the primary factor in determining whether an employee stays or goes. People who have quit their jobs cite the following behavior by superiors:

  • Making unreasonable work demands
  • Refusing to value their opinions
  • Failing to be clear about what’s expected of subordinates
  • Showing favoritism in compensation, rewards, or promotions [27]

Holding managers accountable for excessive turnover can help alleviate the “bad-boss” problem, at least in the long run. In any case, whenever an employee quits, it’s a good idea for someone—other than the individual’s immediate supervisor—to conduct an exit interview to find out why. Knowing why people are quitting gives an organization the opportunity to correct problems that are causing high turnover rates.

Involuntary Termination

Before we leave this section, we should say a word or two about termination—getting fired. Though turnover—voluntary separations—can create problems for employers, they’re not nearly as devastating as the effects of involuntary termination on employees. Losing your job is what psychologists call a “significant life change,” and it’s high on the list of “stressful life events” regardless of the circumstances. Sometimes, employers lay off workers because revenues are down and they must resort to downsizing—to cutting costs by eliminating jobs. Sometimes a particular job is being phased out, and sometimes an employee has simply failed to meet performance requirements.

Employment at Will

Is it possible for you to get fired even if you’re doing a good job and there’s no economic justification for your being laid off? In some cases, yes—especially if you’re not working under a contract. Without a formal contract, you’re considered to be employed at will, which means that both you and your employer have the right to terminate the employment relationship at any time. You can quit whenever you want, but your employer can also fire you whenever they want.

Fortunately for employees, over the past several decades, the courts have made several decisions that created exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine. [28] Since managers generally prefer to avoid the expense of fighting wrongful discharge claims in court, many no longer fire employees at will. Good practice in managing terminations is to maintain written documentation so that employers can demonstrate just cause when terminating an employee. If it’s a case of poor performance, the employee would be warned in advance that his or her current level of performance could result in termination and then be permitted an opportunity to improve performance. When termination is necessary, communication should be handled in a private conversation, with the manager explaining precisely why the action is being taken.

Key Terms

Partners: Those working at Starbucks are called partners.

Human resource management (HRM): The process, which consists of all actions that an organization takes to attract, develop, and retain quality employees. Each of these activities is complex.

Human Resource Planning: The process of developing a plan for satisfying an organization’s human resources (HR) needs.

Recruiting is the process of identifying suitable candidates and encouraging them to apply for openings in the organization.

Discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly on the basis of a characteristic unrelated to ability.

Equal Pay: Section 11 of the CHRA protects male and female employees who do substantially equal work from a difference in wages.

The Employment Equity Act of 1986 identifies specific populations which are protected from discrimination.

The selection process entails gathering information on candidates, evaluating their qualifications, and choosing the right one.

Job rotation allows employees to rotate from one job to another on a systematic basis, often but not necessarily cycling back to their original tasks.

Job enlargement: The policy of enhancing a job by adding tasks at similar skill levels.
Job enrichment is the practice of adding tasks that increase both responsibility and opportunity for growth.

Job sharing: two people share one full-time position, splitting the salary and benefits of the position as each handles half the job.

Telecommuting means that you regularly work from home. You’re connected to the office by computer and cell phone.

Incentive: Many people receive financial rewards based on performance, whether their own, their employer’s, or both.

Bonuses: Annual income is given in addition to salary.

The compensation Plan also gives employees the right to participate in their Employee Share Purchase Plan.

Benefits: Compensation other than salaries, hourly wages, or financial incentives.

360-Degree Feedback: The approach in which employees (mostly managers) to be evaluated by several people or get feedback from all directions—from supervisors, reporting subordinates, coworkers, and even customers.

Upward Feedback: The approach that requires only the manager’s subordinates to provide feedback.

The employee-friendly work environment helps SAS employees focus on their jobs and contribute to the attainment of company goals.


Key Takeaways

  1. The process of human resource management consists of actions that an organization takes to attract, develop, and retain quality employees.
  2. Human resource managers engage in strategic human resource planning—the process of developing a plan for satisfying the organization’s human resource needs.
  3. The HR manager forecasts future hiring needs and begins the recruiting process to fill those needs.
  4. In recruiting and hiring, managers must comply with anti-discrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They cannot treat people unfairly on the basis of a characteristic unrelated to ability, such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.
  5. HR managers also oversee employee training, from the first orientation to continuing on– or off-the-job training.
  6. Attracting a diverse workforce goes beyond legal compliance and ethical commitments, because a diverse group of employees can offer perspectives that may be valuable in generating ideas, solving problems, and connecting with an ethnically diverse customer base.
  7. Employees are motivated to perform well when they’re challenged, respected, treated fairly, and appreciated.
  8. Some other factors that contribute to employee satisfaction include job redesign to make jobs more interesting and challenging, job rotation, which allows employees to rotate from one job to another, job enlargement, which enhances a job by adding tasks at similar skill levels, and job enrichment, which adds tasks that increase both responsibility and opportunity for growth.
  9. Many organizations recognize the need to help employees strike a balance between their work and home lives and offer a variety of work arrangements to accommodate different employee needs, such as flextime (flexible scheduling), job sharing (when two people share a job), and telecommuting (working from outside the office).
  10. Compensation includes pay and benefits. Workers who are paid by the hour earn wages, while those who are paid to fulfill the responsibilities of the job earn salaries. Some people receive commissions based on sales or are paid for output, based on a piecework approach.
  11. In addition, employees can receive year-end bonuses, participate in profit-sharing plans, or receive stock options.
  12. Managers conduct performance appraisals to evaluate work performance.
  13. Turnover is the permanent separation of an employee from a company and may happen if an employee is unsatisfied with their job, or because the organization is not satisfied with the employee. Sometimes, firms lay off workers, or downsize, to cut costs.

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Business Fundamentals for the Golf & Club Industry Copyright © 2022 by Robert Foster is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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