1 August 2021 at 5:24 pm #56839Mr John Burton-JonesMember
The focus of the Horizon strategy and previous club initiatives aimed at improving physical facilities will no doubt improve members enjoyment, but a club is not a resort, where offering ever smarter facilities may be relied on to attract future guests. The success of a club ultimately lies in the quality of interactions between members and, importantly, between members and staff- something I wish to highlight in this post. Members’ experiences of these interactions are central to their perceptions of the club and their overall enjoyment.
I suggest that the quality of interactions between members and staff has been reducing over recent years, mainly due to over dependence on part time and casual staff, particularly in the F and B area, but also due to high turnover among staff generally. Poor staff retention has led to a situation where members are little known by staff and vice versa. In the past the doorman or the barman or the person in the sports center would tend to recognize members and greet them by name and an offer of help – a rare event nowadays. Members too would know staff members by name. Staff today even appear unfamiliar with each other and with club procedures; the Polo Bar for example is often full of staff talking to each other about their rosters, punctuated by the occasional sound of walkie talkies – all adding to the feeling of being in a commercial establishment rather than a club.
The tragedy is that younger members who have never experienced the benefits of staff who knew them and knew the club may not realize what they are missing – after all, if one grew up with plastic trees why would one desire the real thing? Physical attractions are of course desirable, but reliance on such attractions is the essential difference between a resort and a club. Hurlingham has always been one of the world’s great clubs, it would be a pity for it to evolve into little more than a smart resort.
I would like to recommend that as part of the Horizon project explicit staffing policies and strategies be developed, aimed at improving staff retention and training, with a view to enhancing member services. I would be interested in hearing other members’ views on this subject.26 August 2021 at 12:12 pm #57143639511Member
Hello John, over the last few years our turnover has been comparable to other organisations, but has increased recently as we come out of the pandemic and the labour market beings to recover. This has resulted in a higher number of new staff joining the Club, and getting to know our more regular members. I agree with you that the balance between our permanent and casual teams is a difficult one. We prefer to have permanent members of staff, allowing for a stronger engagement, more training and development, more appropriate benefits etc, as you suggest. However, the nature of the variation of revenues (I’m talking mostly about F&B here) is such that we need to supplement our core teams with some level of more casual workers so that we can react to seasonal, weekly and sometimes daily variations! I think one of the major challenges for Hurlingham, and many other Clubs, is finding the balance between a financially efficient operation and excellent member service and experience. I would be interested to hear the views of other members on their experiences. Victoria Harris, Deputy Secretary
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