Would you like to volunteer for your club?

A couple of weeks ago The Sunday Times ran their annual report on the Best Companies to Work For. The organisers sent confidential questionnaires to staff within participating businesses focusing on issues such as how employees feel about:
· the head of the organisation, senior managers, and the company’s values and principles
· and communicate with their direct manager
· training and their future prospects
· stress, pressure at work, and work life balance
· towards their immediate colleagues and how well they work together
· their organisation has a positive impact on society
· the level of engagement employees have for their job and organisation
· their pay and benefits

Businesses are then ranked according to the overall level of satisfaction amongst staff.

Many businesses see a high ranking in this survey as a key competitive factor in terms of attracting the highest calibre staff, but also a tool to show customers that their happy staff provide better customer service. (Sainsbury’s undertake regular staff and customer satisfaction surveys store by store, and surprise, surprise the conclusion is that stores with happier staff have happier customers).

In a world where almost every single community sports club claim they cannot get volunteers it is striking there is precious little focus on how we develop happy volunteers, who then provide better service and attract other happy volunteers.

Mansfield Rugby Union Club has just emailed everybody involved with the club a 12-question questionnaire focusing on their views on how the club is being run. (This club actually has been accredited by Investors in People for its volunteer development and management).

So the question all clubs should ask themselves is: How would we fare if there was a Best Club to Volunteer For survey? How would your volunteers score on the eight questions above? Because, I am 100% convinced that the happier your current volunteers are, the welcoming your club and the easier you will find it to attract and, importantly, retain, volunteers.

Would your volunteers actually promote volunteering at your club because one can enjoy the experience and add value to the running of your club? Do you actually focus on volunteer recruitment, happiness and management?

Note to Sports Awards organisers: Many of you include awards for volunteers, which is great. Most of these awards are given to people who have often dedicated their lives to their sports and their clubs. What an about an award for Best Local Club to Volunteer For? Following the lines of the questions above, this would also encourage clubs to involve volunteers who can give a finite number of hours, but nevertheless can add value to their club and sport. You can call it ‘bite-sized’ volunteering if you want.

Bourne Leisure proves that staff motivation helps create good customer experiences

Runner-up in the Best Big Companies to Work For was Bourne Leisure. This company runs Haven, Butlins and Warner Hotels. With more 5,000 staff this expanding group strives to create ‘magical experiences’ for holidaymakers, as well their staff. 84% of staff say they have fun with their colleagues and 77% of them say they can make a valuable contribution to the company’s success.

The Butlins’ ethos has always been to invest in each site every year, so customer notice an improvement every time they return.

Warner Leisure Hotels organise a wide range Experience Breaks from archery and real tennis tuition to horse riding.

By the way. Guess where John Dunford, boss of Bourne goes on holiday with his wife and son? Butlins, of course.

An inspiration for our leisure centres, I would say.

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