5 Emerging Trends in Workforce Development

In today’s business world, it’s more important than ever to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to workforce development. With new technologies and changes in the economy, the way we develop our employees needs to evolve as well. Here are some emerging trends in workforce development that you should be aware of.

The rise of the gig economy and how it’s changing the way we work

The gig economy is reshaping the choices available to workers and providing opportunities unlike ever before. Whether you’re a part-time or full-time worker, new doors are opening up that allow individuals to build flexible careers without being confined to typical nine-to-five roles or simply job hopping from one employer to another. With the emergence of the gig economy, workers now have the freedom to pursue multiple income streams and design their own business model. But perhaps most significantly, freelancing allows people to draw on their own skill sets and assets that may not be adequately harnessed in traditional work environments. The rise of the gig economy is creating a more diverse and autonomous labor force, allowing us all to explore our potential and take charge of our futures.

Don’t think this applies to the golf industry?  I have seen more “independent contractors” show up in various regions of the country to fill in for golf course superintendents, executive or sous chefs, and clubhouse managers.  The individuals are filling a real need with specialized skills and knowledge to fill in short-term gaps.

The importance of upskilling and reskilling for today’s workforce

Today, the workforce is faced with a unique challenge. With technological advances and changes in consumer preferences happening at a rapid rate, it is important to stay proactive when it comes to training and development. In order to remain competitive in today’s labor market, employees must continually take initiative to keep their skills up-to-date. This can be achieved through “upskilling” and “reskilling” – two concepts that are becoming increasingly popular solutions for staving off obsolescence. Upskilling involves honing existing skills while reskilling requires learning completely new sets of knowledge or aptitudes. By investing these valuable resources into their workers, organizations can ensure they maintain a staff well equipped with the necessary tools to navigate a quickly changing society.

Our case study is the usage of Registered Apprenticeship programs, which has continued to catch interest from facilities across the United States. Here is an example – https://www.nystaapp.com/jobs/c/0/i/61766529/nysta-apprenticeship-program 

How to make your workplace more attractive to top talent

Attracting top talent to your workplace should be a priority, and there are many creative ways you can do this. Using vivid language in job descriptions to capture the interest of potential candidates is essential, as well as creating an environment which encourages collaboration and fun. Flexible work hours and added vacation time can also draw in prospective employees who may have competing lifestyle demands. In addition, offering competitive salaries, innovative methods of rewards and recognition, a practice of setting job promotions and career paths all send the message that your organization is serious about investing in its valuable team members. Ultimately, making your workplace attractive to top talent often comes down to innovation and agility: focus on new ideas that show potential employees they will be valued and constantly challenged as part of the team.

The benefits of workplace diversity and inclusion

The modern workplace is enriched with diversity and inclusion when everyone’s unique point of view, abilities and life experiences can be expressed freely. Through celebrating and leveraging the diversity of its staff, an organization can create a much stronger, dynamic team – one in which every team member feels respected and part of the success story. Workplace inclusion encourages everyone to contribute their ideas, breaking down any barriers that may exist between colleagues or departments. This promotes creative solutions to challenges, which helps the organization thrive rather than merely survive in a competitive landscape. Simultaneously, through increased visibility of people from different backgrounds, organizations can better reflect society in their corporate identity and attract new customers from diverse communities. Ultimately this results in higher bottom-line performance for the organization as talent can develop more efficiently; maximizing productivity and company growth.

The future of work and what it means for businesses

Businesses all over the world are beginning to ponder the future of work, a concept that has been discussed often in recent years. With new developments in technology coming every day, physical locations for employees may change or become obsolete altogether, as more people take up remote and flexible working practices from the comfort of their own homes. Additionally, automation will likely play a larger part in the golf industry, changing the way businesses interact with customers and streamlining certain processes. The importance of commitment to ethical behavior and clear management processes will be paramount as we move into this new era. It is an exciting time for change and an opportunity for businesses to progress with the times.

As the gig economy keeps growing and changing the way we work, employers need to stay ahead of the curve in order to attract and retain top talent. Through upskilling and reskilling initiatives, creating an attractive workplace environment, and nurturing diversity, employers can create a great workplace that appeals to job seekers and boosts their bottom line. While it’s impossible to know for certain what the future of work holds, possessing these skills and qualities will help businesses survive in what may be a rapidly shifting landscape. As challenging as it might sound now, given enough nurturing of worker’s skills and capabilities, as well as cultivating a positive environment in the worksite, together we can all forge our way forward into the future of work.

4 Tips to Attract Turfgrass Students

Written by Mitch Rupert, Talent Strategist at Tyler Bloom Consulting

I didn’t know what to expect as I prepared for the first industry job fair I’ve attended. But I was certainly curious.

What would the Penn State University students in attendance want to talk about? What kind of advice would they be looking for as they navigate the seemingly endless tables of golf and industry leaders looking to hire them?

What surprised me as the fall day in State College, Pennsylvania, unfolded is that many of the students I spoke with didn’t necessarily have a plan. I watched as they walked into Alumni Hall and headed toward their desired course.

You couldn’t shine a flashlight in the cavernous room without hitting representatives from a course which has hosted a major championship. They garnered much of the attention of the students in attendance, and for good reason. The reputation of those clubs and the opportunities they afford those who work there are well documented.

The big takeaway is what I heard from those who came by our table.  Unsure and indecisive about their career pathway, the students didn’t always know exactly what they were looking for as they searched out internships or their first full-time employment. 

With the state of labor the way it is — especially in the golf industry — more power than ever is in the hands of the employees. So as these recent or soon-to-be turfgrass graduates enter the professional field, it’s important to have a plan of how you can attract and develop them.  Ultimately, why do you want to attract them?

Turfgrass graduates are the proverbial unicorns that nearly every job advertisement on industry job boards targets and desires. With enrollment numbers in a state of flux over the last five to ten years, filling entry-management positions has continued to be a challenge for golf facilities across the country. 

Employers who desire candidates with a turfgrass education need to remember this key message: candidates don’t know what they don’t know. Employers have the ability to adapt their offerings not purely based on compensation and benefits, but laying out a career pathway for success that is catered to individual needs, drives and motives.

Here are some considerations:

Plan for the organization you want to build

A sound career pathing blueprint starts with the right questions. Those include, but aren’t limited to:

  • What does successful career pathing look like at your facility and the industry?
  • What does our personal development program entail?
  • How does career pathing vary for different ambitions?
  • How do student interns and turfgrass graduates help us achieve business goals?

Traditionally, student interns and turf graduates provide a feeder system for entry level assistant roles and technician positions.  Ensuring you are able to provide foundational on-the-job experience will help prevent gaps in future skill needs.

Does the course setup for Ladies Day depend on the knowledge of plant pathology to get the job done?  No. Does a turf education guarantee someone can identify  the difference between 10 ounces per acre of growth regulator or 10 ounces per thousand square feet of growth regular?  One would hope. 

Consider the student pool, while limited, typically can bring energy and focus on career goal attainment, and they are looking to climb the managerial ladder.  Their goals can be tailored to provide learning and development through operations, technically focused tasks, small crew leadership and site specific agronomics.

When you encourage people to set goals that might stretch them, both behaviorally and in terms of their practical skill set, you’re building leaders at all levels. And companies that promote leadership throughout the organization are better equipped to withstand adversity and change. 

Being transparent and upfront about how the internship experience will help point individuals in the right direction will provide security and confidence for students. 

Develop a marketing and engagement budget

Employers continue to use social media in creative ways to highlight company culture, employee testimonials, career opportunities, operational practices and their employer brands.  

Develop a budget to cover items like communication and marketing materials, training, kick-off events, incentives or reimbursements.  Without adequate funding and support, your program stands little chance of sustaining itself and making a long-term impact. 

Consider looking at your annual budget expenses for 2023, and investing a portion into some collateral marketing to enhance your image and reputation.  Our friend, Brian Laurent of Superintendent Network, has developed some fantastic videos. 

Invite school advisors and faculty to your site to view operations, receive input and demonstrate why your facility will provide a great experience for students.

Encourage one-to-one mentorship

The #1 differentiator in the fight for good talent is you.  Your leadership, or lack thereof, will define your success in recruitment. Not every candidate wants to work at a top 100 facility or host a professional tournament, so consider reshaping your value proposition to provide one-to-one mentorship.  

Being able to have direct access to the main leader is desirable, and can have a major impact on someone’s trajectory.  Employees want to know they can talk shop at the end of the day, ask questions and pick the leaders mind.  Consider setting weekly internship meetings, guest industry speakers, calibration classes, irrigation repair and career development sessions.  

Providing career and leadership guidance will encourage employees to seek opportunities within the company rather than outside it.  Involving your key players such as equipment managers and assistants will make a real impact.  Don’t go at this alone, because you’ll likely be overwhelmed. 

A big reason why companies struggle to attract interns is a bad mentor-mentee match.  Word of mouth spreads within universities and peer networks, and thus leaves companies wondering what’s left to do. Ultimately, good mentorship helps match goals, strengths, personal interests and more to run an effective internship experience.

Be open to redefining the existing role 

For the most part, candidates will experience routine daily practices, applications, course setup and other typical duties in any internship. We can’t forget the fundamentals. However, providing different growth opportunities and exposure will attract a diverse pool of candidates. 

Create management scenarios, and consider your definition of “management.” Individuals can manage other things besides people. For example, you can oversee:

  • Projects
  • Initiatives
  • Systems

Consider these options when you have a strong individual contributor whose interests or behavioral strengths don’t align with traditional or existing management roles. Tie the opportunity to a goal or ambition they’ve expressed. In doing so, you’re developing leadership traits while acting on their developmental priorities, fostering both engagement and growth.

Make it easy for an employee to take advantage of various niche tasks. Want to establish new technology programs?  Delegate tasks such as the digital job board, social media or moisture management readings.

Does the individual need to improve communication skills?  Consider offering crew management for the week, leading a Green Committee meeting or safety meeting.

Consider highlighting where you work

This has everything to do with what geographic region of the country in which you’re located, and the assets of your location beyond the golf course.

Why is this important? Individuals are moving their life to work there. Highlighting the town and social component may sweeten the pot.  Location plays a huge role in attracting and retaining the best employees, many of whom keep a close eye on where they’re based in order to optimize work-life balance. 

Fortunately, it is becoming more and more common for clubs to offer some sort of housing setup or stipend, which should help relieve some of the cost of living burden. But it’s not a given, and that’s an important question to discuss with your key stakeholders. 

And by carefully considering these recommendations, you’re going to give yourself a better chance of landing the proverbial unicorn.

4 Steps to Build a World Class Culture

Building a top-notch workplace culture is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity in today’s hiring environment. Whether you are looking for executive level talent or building the bench to execute your operational game plan, taking deliberate action steps is critical now more than ever.

When most people think of culture, they think of pie-in-the-sky ideologies: ping pong tables, paid luncheons and other soft perks. Company culture refers to a company’s core values and is reflected in the attitudes, behaviors, and practices of an organization and its employees. 

Poor leadership, bad workplace environment, little to no training, lack of engagement, poor compensation and benefits, complacency, and lack of good hiring practices all contribute to talent problems. 

“Your employees are the engine that powers your business, and your company culture is the fuel; are you choosing regular unleaded, or premium? The advantages make it worth upgrading your time, attention, and effort,” said David Silbert, who is a content writer for the Predictive Index.

Building a world class culture doesn’t happen overnight, but here are four steps to get you started, or to help strengthen your existing programs. 


Often leaders aren’t clear on who they are, let alone what their organization is about. Understanding your motivators, drives and what gets you fired up will be helpful in setting the tone within your operation. Spending time to identify and discover ourselves is the first step to building a world-class culture. 

Identifying and articulating your values not only provides decision-making guideposts, but also can help guide actions for your organization. Examples of values can be innovation, teamwork, integrity and communication. If you need assistance, there are a number of assessments such as Strengthsfinder 2.0, Predictive Index, Enneagram, DISC and Meyers-Briggs that can provide insights into yourself. 

As you transition into thinking about your organizational culture, what key behaviors do you hold sacred, and what matters most to your existence? What are your core beliefs or convictions? These are feelings and sentiments that we will defend no matter the odds and at the risk of being the only person in the room sharing them. These beliefs are important to our employer brand because they clearly communicate who we are underneath the surface. 

Let’s look at Oprah’s personal values: perseverance, generosity or kindness, appreciation, and sincerity. By her own admission these seem to be the most consistent values she mentions: (Read more on Oprah.com — What Defines Me: www.oprah.com/inspiration/oprah-what-defines-me.) 

The majority of the Oprah Winfrey Network’s (OWN) programming and public activities exemplify those values. OWN’s shows are inspirational and educational. They tend to empower others and focus on personal development or enlightenment. 


A strong company culture supports a positive work environment, which improves employee satisfaction, reduces time-consuming conflict, and empowers team members to take pride and ownership of their contribution to the organization as a whole. 

Here’s the secret sauce: you have to integrate your team into the process. If they are not part of the process, they will not see any value in solicitation of their input because it will feel as if it is not valued.

In your next management team meeting, poll your team members on the following questions.

  • What is our purpose in what we do?
  • What are the core traits that make us unique?
  • What angers you or frustrates you about the existing work environment?
  • What are our goals in the next year to five years?

Finding a company which aligns with the goals and values which matter most to the employee is important to new hires, especially in a competitive job market.

Employees who appreciate an organization’s values and have a strong sense of belonging are ultimately happier at work, and therefore, more productive and invested in the company’s success. By engaging your new employees from the start with effective onboarding practices, it will stimulate the employee and have them excited to take on the job they’ve been hired for.

You don’t need to wait for a big ‘AH HA’ moment to inspire employees. Frequent check-ins during the work day — out on the golf course or in the break room — is a simple strategy to build rapport. Setting one-on-one meetings or quarterly reviews is a practice we recommend more than the annual employee review. It allows the employer to gauge where the employee is seeing success or struggling and effectively put in place a process to deal with either situation.

Most importantly, reward behaviors which align to your values. On-the-spot recognition is a simple strategy to ensure your team feels acknowledged for demonstrating the right values.


Every company’s culture will vary depending on the organization’s mission statement, leadership styles, behavioral expectations, and shared values. 

However, what shouldn’t be left up to chance is intentional mentorship or employee development, including your own. Instituting continued education and development shouldn’t be reserved for senior managers only. There are endless resources at your disposal to increase the hard and soft skills of your employees.

Basic online education from our regional or national associations, industry publications, YouTube, and other services such as Golf Safety are cost effective and replicable. 

Many companies are creating their own internal development programs to expose their team members to various industry experts. 

Scheduling time for your team to engage in these training sessions is your biggest challenge. What doesn’t get scheduled won’t get done, so mark it on a calendar, send it out in a Google calendar invite or other scheduling tools. 

Don’t reserve continued education only for the months of November through February. Create time once a month for a 20-30 minute presentation, video or discussion within your team. Consider topics beyond just the typical on-the-job competencies, such as leadership development, wellness, financial management and other areas. As you broach topics in these sessions which revolve around life outside the job, you show you care about your employees as people, and not just cogs in the maintenance machine. 

Whatever the platform may be, creating a once-a-month training and education for your team is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity in the competitive labor market. 


A key component that often is missing and the hardest part of the job for any manager or team leader is providing feedback and accountability. A crucial component to providing feedback is identifying successes and failures, and developing a strategy to bring action and behaviors into alignment with your stated goals. However, if there is no follow up then ambitious goals fizzle out. 

Gaps in feedback allow for toxic relationships and environments to grow. Whether issues are developed from poor policy, communication failures, inconsistent leadership, or individual employees, addressing the issue at hand is paramount. 

It’s important to state the facts you have as a manager, but equally important to give the employee a chance to explain their side of the story. More often than not, by revealing their rationale, they’ll actually help you coach them through how to approach the situation in the future. 

Here are five approaches which can help employees grow and improve through feedback:

  • Make feedback timely
  • Be truthful
  • Be specific
  • Take an unassuming approach
  • Don’t rush positive feedback

Building a world-class culture takes time and effort. There are many components to producing a positive company culture, including compensation and benefits, innovation, and goal-setting. Taking the time to build an impressive company culture, employees will be empowered to feel like they’re truly part of any success the company achieves.

And with empowered employees, you can accelerate all of your organization’s efforts to build toward success.

6 Strategies to Accelerate Your Career

As the fall hiring season picks up in the golf industry, leaders and professionals from all backgrounds continue to explore career pathways. 

Being a viable candidate, to some degree, has never been easier given the lack of qualified applicants for open positions across many sectors, including the golf industry. Companies are focused on attracting qualified candidates who will stay and serve for not just their role, but the broader goal of the organization. 

There is still uncertainty around the job market. The Great Resignation’s trickle down effects from the COVID-19 pandemic is still in play. Will things come back to normal? Who truly knows. But employees are empowered now, more than ever, to take control of their careers. Top candidates have carte blanche in choosing where they want to work. 

Thoughtful career planning will ensure you come out of this — whether in your current employment or future — standing on top. 

Whether from a Business Owner, Board of Governors, General Manager, CEO or a committee, we have consistently heard these three traits as being pivotal to what stands out about candidates. 

  • Self-awareness
  • Humility
  • Team Builder

A polished resume and cover letter, portfolio of work and presentation skills are all part of the package to landing your dream job.  Today, we’re going to focus on the most important step in your career strategy — self-awareness. Without this, you may continue to live a life not fully fulfilled, coming up short on career aspirations and spinning in circles. 

Who you are.

You have to get clear on who you are, which isn’t the same as what you do. If you could look back at your life’s work, and those pivotal moments, how would you describe yourself? What problems do you solve? What are you passionate about? What would your friends say about you, your family, your closest peers, your archrivals, your employees? 

Do you have a set of core values which serve as guiding principles and show up in your daily life? 

Brain dump all the words that resonate with you and you would be most proud to represent. List out your top 15. Break it down to the 10 that you are really passionate about, and then down to your top 3-5. 

This may seem “rah rah” to some, but getting focused on who you are is a critical step in landing your dream job and preventing you from taking the wrong job.  

If you need help there is a list of assessments which can provide an objective viewpoint. We utilize The Predictive Index, so feel free to shoot me a message to learn more. But also explore these options: 

  • DISC
  • Strengthsfinder 2.0
  • Predictive Index
  • Meyers-Briggs
  • Enneagram
  • RightPath

These assessments may reveal some personality blindspots that are contributing to falling short in your job search quests. 


Benchmark your skills and take inventory of your traits. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, but it’s important to document your successes in agronomics, communication, staff training/development, business, project management, leadership, environmental stewardship, water management, etc.

It’s also important to take stock of the soft skills you have — empathy, overcoming adversity, time management, delegation, coaching and many more. 

Take the time to write these out and keep an ongoing database of your strengths, skills and accomplishments to pull from. 


Whether starting out in your career or a savvy leader, you can benefit from a fresh perspective. Identify three people who may have some expertise about business opportunities or career paths. Consider surrounding yourself with those who have more positive, encouraging voices and limit the less positive voices.

It has been said that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with on a daily basis — family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and others you interact with. This may also include virtual connections or voices you listen to via podcasts or social media platforms. 

Here are some questions to ask to gain feedback. 

  1. What topics do people come to you organically for advice about?
  2. What is a one word problem you solve?
  3. How do you overcome problems? 
  4. What do people ask you a lot about?
  5. What are three things I’m good at?
  6. What do I underestimate about myself?

Research & Network

What is your dream job? Have you actually listed this out and put it on paper? Visualizing the scenario is a great step that often no one takes. 

If your goal is to be the Superintendent at Three Jack National, then it would behoove you to align yourself with those closely associated with Three Jack National. 

Job boards, referrals, social media and your internal network are great resources to learn about career opportunities.

If you don’t have a connection, go to LinkedIn and send an invite to mutual connections that may have previously worked at the facility, or better yet the existing hiring manager. Given the state of labor, I don’t know a hiring manager who wouldn’t take a direct message, email or phone call to talk about career opportunities at their facility. 

As you make your way through the conference and education circuit this winter, be prepared with business cards to network. Don’t miss an opportunity to meet someone who may have potential influence for your next job. It is a small industry and it’s getting smaller by the day.


Career success means different things to different people at various stages of life. Change is a constant in life. You change, the world changes. You get to choose your direction. 

What causes are you drawn to? What needs in the world do you feel most passionate about? Do you have skills which align with your passions that could make an impact? 

Think about 6-12 months from now and imagine what you would want your life to look like if you could never fail. Let go of what someone else wants for you or what you think society wants for you, or what the industry wants for you. 

Consider not just business success, but your relationships and wellness. Losing one affects the others.


Nobody starts a process with the intention of fizzling out after a few weeks. But the reality is that sometimes life gets in the way, and without having something in place to keep us accountable, we can start to drift. 

There have been various stages in my career that I didn’t have the right accountability to keep honest to my goals. Instead, I often overlooked experience and wisdom from those who walked the path before me. When you have accountability to someone other than yourself, it’s harder to let things slide.

Whatever doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done, so it’s time to take what you can do right now and put it on your calendar. 

Your first focus must be THIS week, maybe even TODAY! Here is a simple 3-step process you can easily repeat to gain momentum and pursue your goals. 

  1. Choose what you can do next to achieve each goal? What is holding you back? What can you do, learn, or discover to push past?
  2. Schedule when you will do it. Get specific on a day and time. Put it on your calendar. 
  3. Act on it.

How to build trust within your team

Building trust within a team — new or established — takes deliberate discipline. It is not a passive process which just magically produces results.

You know how devastating it can be when you try to get your team to work together, but there’s constant disagreement, a lack of communication, and missed expectations. During these low points, it feels impossible to imagine coaching a team to get through a week of work let alone their full potential.

Building collaborative and accountable teams that deliver consistent results is a reflection of team trust. 

If your team isn’t willing to trust one another, they most likely won’t take risks. Consequently, they’re not going to be able to effectively adapt or innovate when challenging situations head their way. We all know problem solving is a must to succeed.  Worse is if you let one bad apple or group of employees persist within the team. It will be tough to re-establish trust as friction spreads. 

When an employee doesn’t mesh well with the people on their team due to trust issues, this can lead to friction among the team or disengaged individuals. No matter how talented those individuals are separately, if they can’t trust one another, they’ll never get the top results.

A Classic Case study

The classic case study example is the end of the New England Patriots’ dynasty. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are unquestionably one of the greatest duos in sports and set the gold standard for teamwork at the highest level of the NFL. Toward the end of their epic run, there were lingering trust issues which led to friction which bled into the media. (Easy to say from this armchair quarterback) 

Think about a highly cohesive team that you’ve been part of in the past. Why did that team work so well? 

Now, think about a team that you’ve been a part of that didn’t work well in the past. What do you think the unsuccessful team was missing which the previous successful one had?

When a new process, project or objective surfaces, it is best to pause and take a moment to ensure everyone is aligned. 

Understand how decisions can impact individual jobs or the overall work style of your team. Some individuals are more inclined to fly by the seat of their pants. Others require a step-by-step outline. Being clued into the personalities of your key stakeholders and how they interact can keep everyone united.

Creating an environment where your team can play “complementary football” to adapt to the strengths and weaknesses will help achieve team cohesion. 

What are some action steps you can employ today? 

First, focus on the team dynamic. 

Bring the group together, create a safe space for discussion, ask for feedback, and allow others to speak candidly. Not only does this show respect, but it also provides opportunity for diverse thinking, improved outcomes and ability to be transparent to generate healthy conflict.

In most cases, one person doesn’t have all the answers and that should be transparent amongst the group. Be willing to share decision making and consensus, play to the strengths for the greater good.

If not, teams can feel paralyzed, like they are stepping on toes and have to run decisions through one authoritarian which can bring productivity to a halt. 

Second, consider assigning team roles based on their strengths. Ask them who they feel would best complement their abilities. Set accountability checkpoints to encourage trust and move in a productive direction. 

Ultimately, team morale may decrease if there is a lack of control over decisions.

Finally, encouraging healthy conflict and feedback will nurture those that have been previously uncomfortable as it is not a common practice. 

Here are six other steps to build trust within a team.

  1. Be vulnerable: Don’t pretend you have all the answers, and be willing to share decision making and praise.
  2. Be accountable: Follow through on your commitments and your role in projects. This can be as simple as communicating weekly with the team on project timelines.
  3. Be deliberate: Say exactly why you’re taking specific steps.
  4. Be transparent: Be open and honest about what causes change.
  5. Be open: Allow others to speak candidly for better feedback
  6. Have a clear goal in mind: This allows all team members to be aligned on a project or objective. Not having a clear strategy can lead to frustration around responsibilities.

Key Strategies to Retain Today’s Top Performers

As summer burnout is hopefully cooling off, one question we hear from leaders is “How do I retain top performers?” 

To combat voluntary turnover, some strategies include offering new or more generous compensation and benefits, flexible work options, and creating learning and development opportunities. 

A different perspective to consider, “How do we keep top performers engaged?” It is a constant journey that requires a lead by example approach, consistent attention, fine tuning and putting people in roles they are designed to succeed in.

Employee engagement may seem like another corporate buzzword, but behind the phrase is a great deal of merit and muscle. Many companies are shifting their hiring focused talent strategy to motivating and inspiring their current workforce. 

Let’s start with some basics.


Employee engagement is a measure of how motivated a person is within their job, team, hiring manager and organization.

We know working with top performing organizations, employee engagement is more than having one-off employee parties and perks. It’s a constant focus and practice rooted in individual relationships with the job, team, hiring manager and organization. 

That focus allows employees to become invested in their work, inspired by their work, remain committed to the long term vision of the organization, and feel empowered to go the extra mile.


Engaged employees are more likely to put in the discretionary effort which makes your company more productive and delivers results. Employee engagement is a catalyst for great teamwork, achievements, relationships, and bottom-line results.

A Gallup study stated a highly engaged workforce is 14% more productive than teams with low engagement. 

Conversely, a lack of employee engagement can result in a loss of productivity, turnover, and misalignment with the job itself.

Here is a simple tool to measure how much it may be costing you. https://predictiveindex.outgrow.us/disengagement-cost


You can collect the information through behavioral assessments, employee feedback software, employee engagement surveys, 1-on-1 meetings and exit interviews. 

While we can advise using our implementation tools, consider creating your own with these helpful tips.


“I am/am not excited to come to work every day.”

“My manager does/doesn’t bring out the best in me.”

“I feel respected/disrespected by the people I work with.”

“There is/isn’t honest two-way communication.”

These may be statements that resonate, but you’ll never know unless you measure it.  

Here is a specific example: Employee A begins a position he is wired to do. Months go along, they are performing at a satisfactory level and progressing, communicating well with the team and other direct reports. Suddenly, the individual reports to the hiring manager they are resigning, citing burnout as contributing factors. You and your team are in shock, can’t pinpoint the reasons and attribute this to a generational issue. 

Had you had some level of engagement and feedback, you could gain accurate insights the individual wasn’t aligned to the job itself.  You may have been able to prevent turnover and develop a tailored approach to managing this individual. 

Focusing from the top down view — organization, team, manager, and job — can help you prescribe improvements instead of going at it blind. 

You can probe with the right conversations. If you sense morale is low among a group of employees, bring it up privately during your next 1-on-1 meeting. Consider asking the following questions:

  • Are you enjoying your current role?
  • Do you feel supported by the team?
  • In what ways can I improve as a manager?
  • How do you feel about the state of the company?


Trying to revamp engagement in one day, week or month is unrealistic. Start small to improve one or more areas, and be relentlessly consistent.  

  • Make a daily habit to recognize your people for a good job (either publicly or privately)
  • Celebrate behaviors which exemplify the best of your company culture
  • Have regular feedback discussions with your employees. Employees not only want their voices heard, but also want expectations around the work they are being assigned. When an employee feels they can provide their opinions and they matter, they will be more likely to contribute or go the extra mile. 

One thing I know, retention strategies don’t happen behind a computer desk…get after it. 

Live Webinar: How to Stand out in a Job Search

The market for top talent is as tight as it has ever been.  Great jobs are hard to come by.  Breaking through the noise, and standing out in an ultra competitive market doesn’t happen by accident.

Join us in this 1-hour session to learn an easy and simple way to stand out and land the job of your dreams.

Key Learning Concepts: 

  • 5-step formula to differentiate yourself from the competition
  • Identify how to align your strengths to the key competencies of the job
  • Benchmark the top traits that every Search Committee seeks
  • The characteristics of great application materials

To register go to registration.

NYSTA begins Apprenticeship outreach at New York FFA Convention

In early May, NYSTA Board Members Chris Pogge and Dominic Morales set up a display and informational booth at the annual New York State FFA Convention in Syracuse’s On-Center. Larry Cosh (Finch Golf/Turf Equipment) and Tyler Bloom were also on hand to support NYSTA’s efforts.  Over 2,000 students and over 250 Ag. Educators attended the Convention.

The focus for attending the two-day event was career awareness, introducing the new NYSTA Apprenticeship program, and begin interacting with students and Ag. Educator as possibilities to start a Pre-Apprenticeship program at the high school level.

Industry support enhanced efforts that highlighted career opportunities in the Turfgrass industry. Also, NYSTA’s effort to secure New York State TESF annual grant funding made this all possible.

Finch Turf displayed their new GPS technology sprayer, Grassland Equipment displayed Toro’s new all electric walk behind greens mower, and Toro’s new Outcross 9060 versatile utility vehicle. In addition, Finch and Grassland sponsored the purchase of Tee shirts as prizes and give aways for students and faculty.

SUNY-Delhi set-up a display booth adjacent to the NYSTA booth which highlights the educational opportunities and their partnership with NYSTA’s Apprenticeship program’s Related Instruction requirements. SUNY-Delhi also setup a mini turf bowl type contest for student participation. SUNY-Delhi will provide on-line courses that will eventually lead to obtaining an AAS degree.

To learn more about the initiative, please go to https://www.nysta.org/careers.html

Apprenticeship program takes aim at helping solve labor shortage in NY’s turfgrass industry

By John Reitman

Golf course superintendents and sports turf managers throughout New York struggling to find help soon will have a new labor source to tap to quench pipeline to tap to alleviate their labor woes.

The New York State Turfgrass Association is finalizing a statewide registered apprenticeship program for the turfgrass industry. The program will help NYSTA employer partners find and secure talent for specialized skilled positions in an industry starved for trained and educated professionals by creating a career pathway for job seekers throughout New York on golf courses, sports facilities, athletic fields, lawn/landscape and other turf-oriented businesses.

The program provides a template to help employers provide state-approved training for an existing employee or a newly recruited worker, said Dom Morales, the retired SUNY Delhi instructor who is helping organize the project for NYSTA.

The New York State Department of Labor is in the final stages of approving the template. Once approved, the program will offer 4,000 hours of structured, on-the-job training and additional instruction through a host of cooperating partners.

The concept has been in the works since 2018. Once approved, the program will offer training, education and certification for groundskeeper – golf course, groundskeeper – sports turf and turf equipment technician.

“Programs like this have been discussed before,” Morales said. “This program is the first time something like this has been done on a statewide basis.”

Tyler Bloom Consulting helped develop core competencies for the training program and will help market the concept to employers throughout New York. So far, six employers have signed on to either train an existing employee or use the apprenticeship to attract new help.

“I saw this as a way to make an impact in the turf industry and solve a problem,” Bloom said.

“This is not just one faction of the turf industry. This is multiple factions coming together to solve a really big problem.”

Once the program is up and running, it will do so on a one-year probationary period.

“There are a lot of checks and balances,” Morales said.

“It is currently in the hands of the Department of Labor, and it should be approved by late May, or early June.”

There is an increasing number of high school students across the state who at least express a passing interest in careers in agriculture and horticulture. As many as 140 high schools in New York have a Future Farmers of America chapter or some other type of agriculture education program.

Morales and Bloom are going to Syracuse May 12-14 for the state’s FFA conference that is expected to attract more than 2,000 high school students interested in some sort of agricultural career.

“Ag-ed has exploded here,” Morales said.

“The apprenticeship program also would be ideal for a veteran, or someone looking for a career change. This is where the rubber meets the road.”


Hiring for the Times – Golf Course Industry

With candidates holding more leverage and options than ever, it might be time to adjust your approach to job searches. Tyler Bloom offers 10 tips to help navigate the evolving process.

The employer-employee dynamic has flipped, and maybe for good. Good candidates are scarce, whether because they left jobs during the Great Resignation in no hurry to return, or simply because they know the leverage they possess. Your interview process needs to stand out. You need to be efficient and impressive – for the sake of both the interviewers and the in-demand interviewees.

This tip sheet will help you improve on a few of the critical skills needed.

1. Self-evaluation

There are so many factors which determine the volume of candidates a position will receive, including salary, location, and an organization’s ability to grow and develop. By taking an honest look at your organization’s reputation and culture, you can better determine what kind of candidate you’re looking for and the profile of a person who would excel in the organization.

2. Open-mindedness

Whether you are actively in a search process or will be filling a position in the near future, open-mindedness with your candidate pool is paramount. While you may be looking for a certain amount of experience or education, the traditional pool of industry trained and educated workers isn’t what it was five to 10 years ago.

3. Know your ideal hire

Set a job target that includes behavioral and cognitive requirements by having key stakeholders within your organization identify the key motivators and drives of a specific position. Ensure that everyone is aligned with the expectations of the role. Key contributors to define the role could be top performers in the job or those who frequently work with this individual. Utilize assessments like those from DISC, Meyers-Briggs and Predictive Index to help you determine those requirements.

4. Make sure position responsibilities are clearly defined

The arbitrary title and responsibilities of any one specific role varies by organization. Getting clear on the precise responsibilities of the position, knowledge, skills and aptitude will be much easier to determine the type of candidate that would be a fit and to achieve your desired results. In addition, ensure salary commensurates with the skillsets you’re seeking by studying regional compensation reports of comparable organizations.

5. Create a compelling job advertisement

Check to see if there are any conflicting qualities. Consider the length of job description. Highlight your culture, upcoming or previous projects, advancement of team members, and be transparent about compensation and benefits.

6. Target traditional and consider non-traditional candidates

The best employees are gainfully employed, and they often speak and network with other top candidates. Beyond internal networking, target audiences of similar backgrounds. The traditional avenues include industry specific job boards, industry networks and peers, universities and local associations. Consider alternative sources such as social media, trade associations and apprenticeship programs to reach various audiences.

7. Evaluate beyond the briefcase

To determine if a candidate is a good fit, you need to look beyond the résumé or the interview. Our instincts can tell us important information. But when we rely on nothing but our gut, we open ourselves to headaches. A strong interview process doesn’t always mean a strong candidate and résumé are often fluffed.
Read between the lines of someone’s resume and find the transferrable skills which could make a candidate a diamond in the rough. Real-world experience doing the work you are looking to have done should count for something even if the education doesn’t fit your criteria.

  1. Conduct a consistent process

To ensure objectivity, questions should be consistent, objective and measurable. Use similar interview questions versus random conversations. Don’t forget to do your due diligence in using background and reference checks to find any information on the candidate.

9. Communicate regularly

The depth of quality candidates you get for a job means absolutely nothing if you can’t act in a timely manner to keep the candidates interested and abreast of their place in the search process. Going multiple weeks without any form of communication with a candidate is a good way to have the candidate lose interest or question the quality of the leadership of a club, and potentially have them drop out of the search process.

10. Commit time to the process

If the role you’re hiring for is an important asset to your organization, you must dedicate time to sourcing, screening candidates, updating them on the process of the search, scheduling phone and in-person interviews, and the final onboarding process.