By Jean Cash
Oasis, a Paychex® Company
Many resorts, country clubs, even golf course communities with restaurant or lodging facilities have gone quiet in response to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. Everyone from kitchen and restaurant staff, to hotel, golf course and maintenance personnel have either lost their jobs, or may be at risk of losing their jobs.
In this unprecedented situation, no road map exists to help property managers and HR professionals address the issue and communicate with their teams, members and guests.
The following tips can help club and resort managers and HR professionals navigate risk during this rapidly evolving pandemic.
Keep in mind, employment laws and regulations vary by state and locality, so inquire with your HR legal counsel or other trusted business advisors about your specific situation.
– Review your existing policies and your business continuity plan (BCP). A global infectious disease outbreak such as COVID-19 can impact your business in terms of risk to employee safety, loss of sales, delivery of member services, and economic uncertainty. Your BCP should also address how HR and leadership will handle issues related to the employees and patrons, including members and guests. The right resources can provide trusted, verified information on workplace health and business continuity best practices, as well as market research to understand how businesses like yours are responding to the outbreak to proactively address the pandemic and correctly execute their BCP.
– Allow flexibility in managing an evolving situation. In a situation like this, it’s difficult to know what the next couple of weeks or months will have in store. Look for areas of flexibility in your business operations, e.g., changing hours of operation, staggering employee shifts or golf course tee times, accepting credit card payment only by phone, allowing one guest per golf cart or transitioning to take-out and delivery service options for resort restaurants.
– Share guidance. HR should review, summarize and distribute updates and advisories to the team from governmental organizations, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and state and local health or business regulation government agencies. Review and know what restrictions and requirements have been enacted that affect your type of property or the region where you’re located. Download, print and hang agency posters and fliers to help increase awareness around symptom identification and the importance of good hygiene. The more people know, the better they can handle the situation. Educating employees about transmission, risks and how to protect themselves can provide them with a sense of empowerment over the situation.
– Enhance cleaning and sanitation processes. With dining areas closed for many restaurants, refocus your efforts on keeping the kitchen clean and sanitary. Ensure onsite managers and staff stay abreast of state and local health department requirements, OSHA guidance and industry standards on the proper use of disinfectants throughout the kitchen and staff areas.
– Communicate and collaborate beyond the HR department. HR is tasked with more than the safety of employees. Best practices and practicality demand that HR professionals partner with their peers and leadership. These can include customer-facing and other positions that may have heightened exposure to affected patrons and vendors. Working closely with other positions can shore up potentially weak areas, build camaraderie and provide peace of mind.
– Be transparent. HR leaders should coach management staff to be transparent, address each situation on a case-by-case basis (while maintaining the consistency mentioned above), and always seek to best understand each person’s unique situation.
– Prepare for tomorrow. This situation will pass. How will your organization emerge? Club and resort workers and managers have gained newfound respect from the wider community as front-line warriors who are leaving their loved ones at home to clock in and serve as your first point of customer contact. Use this as a learning opportunity. Invest in their development, as well as offer competitive compensation and robust benefits packages to retain the employees you have, and to attract your next wave of loyal staff.
Most importantly, don’t panic. As a leader, you set the tone for how your employees respond to these challenges. From your organization’s headquarters to the clubhouse, resort property or golf facility, your team is looking to senior leaders, including those in HR, for measured guidance. Avoid misinformation, turn to reliable sources, and be your team’s trusted advisor.
With the right approach to HR, you’ll help keep your club’s restaurant or golf operations running smoothly and maintain high morale among those who have faced what we all hope are temporary layoffs, and keep the team’s collective psyche in check.
Jean Cash is Area Manager of HR Services for Oasis, a Paychex® Company, a leading Professional Employer Organization (PEO) providing Human Resource Administration, Employee Benefits, Healthcare Reform (ACA), Payroll Administration and Risk Management services to help small- and medium-sized businesses to compete with Fortune 500 companies.