GAA can’t establish how many employees it has or how much they cost, startling Human Resource review finds

The GAA is unable to establish how many people are actually employed in the Association.

Colm Keys

The GAA is unable to establish how many people are actually employed in the Association.

A presentation to Central Council on Saturday on the ongoing Human Resource Review disclosed that the GAA can't state "with absolute certainty" the current number of employees or a definitive cost of the workforce.

A steering group has been working to implement the findings of a 2019 independent assessment of the GAA's HR arrangements at all levels of the Association.

But employment and job specification has become so unwieldy and layered that overall numbers and cost have no definitive figures.

Central Council heard that despite a significant amount of research, data gathering and analysis, the bottom of the employment conundrum could not be reached.

It is a startling development for the GAA who are also having to face up to a number of challenges on the HR front, according to the HR review update.

These include:

  • Potential legal exposures due to failures in compliance with a range of employment legislation
  • A current GAA employment structure that relies heavily on the goodwill of employees and their high regard for the GAA.
  • A vast majority of GAA units employing staff that have very limited HR management experience or skills.
  • A lack of parity between employees around the GAA.
  • Current employment policies, procedures, structures, contractual arrangements and processes that are inconsistent.
  • Multiple reporting lines, (voluntary Officers and paid managers), and the often changing priorities of various units within the GAA which caused confusion for employees around their roles.
  • An ongoing sprawl of both job titles and descriptions and employee numbers.
  • A failure to focus on outputs and outcomes that is a frustration for employees resulting in a lack of meaningful discussion in relation to performance and progression.

The current project team has set a number of objectives by the end of September aimed at cleaning up the vast anomalies.

They aim to ensure compliance by all GAA units with legal and health and safety requirements and obligations by identifying and addressing existing gaps and breaches.

And they want the development and implementation of uniform employment policies, procedures and practices for all GAA units.

They also want to centralise the payroll for all employees - something which doesn't happen at present as some employees are paid by counties or provinces directly and aim to develop and implement uniform terms and benefits for all GAA units and employees to ensure consistent application.

A standard job approval and recruitment process for all GAA units and the development and implementation of HR management system for recruitment, contract management, performance management, communications, payroll and termination and retirement is also planned.

A knock on effect is that the new funding model for coaching and games development is not being rolled out at the planned pace.

In February 2022, the details of the new model were unveiled with an October 1 start date.

But counties have been told that until the HR review is complete and new practices around employment are in place, which could be October according to the presentation to Central Council, the full roll-out of the new funding mechanism will not be in place.