Let’s Talk Overstaffing

July 3, 2012 2 Comments

Blog Editor Allen F. Weitzel has been a trailblazer in the recreation field for 45 seasons, most recently leading the safety and training department at a California amusement park for 25 seasons.

By Allen F. Weitzel

 

An industry chat group recently broached the subject of overstaffing.  Is there such a thing?  Is correct staffing an easy thing to do?  Let us take a minute to address staffing and scheduling.

 

Surprise Productivity

 

During my career in the amusement industry, I only encountered one instance where the staffing levels matched the income, resulting in ideal productivity.  I was in charge of the construction of a new remote-a-boat operation at a park where I was employed.  Shortly before we opened to the public, we had the pond framed in, but there was no water in the pond.  We had no gags or pond obstacles in place, and the boats were in storage.  An “Attraction Closed” sign and chain hung across the front.  We did have the coin-operated consoles in place, but no boat steering wheels were on the consoles.  We were two weeks away from opening, and I received a call from Joan in Accounting, asking me if I was in charge of the remote-a-boats.  I said I was.  She asked to what account number I wanted the $36 credited.  I asked what $36.00?  She said a rookie cash control employee had emptied the coin drawers in the boat consoles; not knowing the attraction was non-operational.  That employee collected $36 on a closed attraction.  Therefore, 144 guests played the remote-a-boats with no water in the pond and no boats in sight, and having to cross an “attraction closed” sign and chain to get to it.  We received no refund complaints during that time.  Obviously, the Guests saw a coin console and put coins in, only to realize there was nothing happening.  Most likely they were too embarrassed to complain.  It was an interesting example of perfect staffing for the proper income.

 

Managers will not always have income fall in their lap.  Proper staffing is not simple. 

 

Quick Lesson Plan

 

I cannot list every staffing issue and address it, but this list should give you some ideas that might help improve your staffing and scheduling skills.

  • The middle day of a three-day holiday weekend is the busiest.  Crowds slow down by mid-afternoon of the third day.
  • It is much easier to be well-staffed in advance for a busy day, and cut back if necessary, than it is to scramble to find workers at the last minute.
  • When you schedule or cut labor, seek advice from the line supervisors as they are the ones that are most affected if you over-schedule or cut too deep in the wrong areas.
  • Some facilities pay an on-call premium.  If an employee is not scheduled and then called into work that same day, they receive a higher hourly pay rate for that shift.  Check with your legal counsel or human resources department before establishing this procedure.
  • Use extra staff during slow periods to do cleaning, restocking or to perform cross-training.
  • Stagger the times that you send employees home, to prevent cutting labor too fast or deep.
  • Establish and use productivity rules of thumb, such as one relief worker for every five employees, etc.  
  • Self-break crews do not necessarily use less labor than scheduled relief crews.
  • Staggering employee clock-in times will help your relief staff implement a timely break and meal period schedule.
  • If you permit a schedule switch between employees, be sure the switch is with equally trained employees.  Do not swap a rookie for a well-trained veteran.
  • Before cutting back, check to see if any other departments need the labor.
  • Constantly update employee contact information. Employees do not remember to tell you when they change their phone number, address or email.

 

The Critical Points

 

  • The morning of an operational day is the most critical.  Everything has to be completed before opening, employees call in sick, equipment may break down, or supplies need to be restocked.  If you have a tendency to overstaff, overstaffing least impacts the morning shift.
  • Schedule the best trained person to do the task and the best workers on busiest days.
  • Make schedules very clear to prevent workers from failing show up for a shift due to scheduling confusion.
  • Walk your facility daily to determine how well the employees are working under your current schedule.

 

Additional Help

 

If you would like to receive additional scheduling tips, provide your email contact information in our blog comment section and I will send the information to you.

Back
2 Comments to “Let’s Talk Overstaffing”
  1. All excellent ideas! Great work Allen.

    • Barbara,
      Thanks for the kind words and for continuing to check out our blogs. I am glad you enjoy our efforts. If you ever have any ideas for topics you want addressed, feel free to
      submit them or drop me a note. Thanks, as always, for your support. Best, Allen

Sponsors

Soft Play

Leader in designing, manufacturing and installing soft contained playground equipment.

Comstock - Castle Stove

Commercial cooking equipment.

Belson Manufacturing Co.

Park and recreation outdoor furniture and equipment.

Richie's Italian Ice

Italian Ice Kiosks and Carts

Sureshot Redemption

One-stop source for prize redemption counters at entertainment centers.

Beckman Insurance Agency

Amusement attractions insurance.

Rides-4-U, INC.

New and used rides, kiddie, family, major and thrill.

Gerber Manufacturing, Ltd.

Outdoor furniture, benches, picnic tables and grills.

Hoffman Mint

Tokens, medals, coins and key tags.

Tokens Direct

A wide variety of tokens.

Adventure Golf

Miniature golf courses, consultants, architecture and design.

Price Chopper, Inc. Wristbands

Admission, financial equipment and wristbands.

S&S Worldwide

Large Park amusement rides.

SnowMasters

Evaporative snow systems.

Weldon, Williams & Lick

Admission systems and wristband ticketing.

Gould Manufacturing, Ltd.

Concession trailers and Antique, Jeep and Grand Prix auto rides.

Wisdom Industries, Ltd.

Amusement ride manufacturer, new and used rides.

Midway Concepts (Circus Tops)

Premier designers of stainless steel food service equipment.

U.S. Bowling

Award-winning independent company brings bowling to your venue.

Thomco Insurance (Fun Pro)

Fun Pro is an insurance program especially designed for party planners and party rental businesses.

Max Flight

Manufactures interactive virtual reality motion-platform game systems including networkable flight and roller coaster simulators.

Berk Paper & Supply

Concession supplies.

Splashtacular

Manufacturer of waterslides

R&R Creative Amusement Design

Designers of unique themed parks, attractions and environments for the entertainment business.

Formula K Raceways

Go-karts, kiddie cars and bumper boats, go-kart parts and tires.

Embed

Provides innovative IT products and services with a primary focus on card-based solutions and database applications for the leisure and retail industries.

Tube Pro

Waterpark tubes.

Spectrum Sports

Climbing walls, ropes courses, go-karts and more.

Family Fun Corp.

Waterpark walls for rivers, bumper boat and splash down pools.

Playsmart

Patented soft play design, soft playgrounds.

Money Tree - ATM

ATM machines.

Birthday University

Concept development, training and birthday party touring seminars.

Jane Farrell Turf and Carpets, Inc.

Commercial carpet, printed and decorative patterns, loop and cut-pile construction. Wall coverings in fluorescents, Class A fire rated. Colored turf, both traditional and neon colors.

CFX Composite & Effects

Special effects make-up and prosthetics

Friedman Group Ins.

Insurance for amusement devices.

Qubica

Sells capital equipment to bowling centers.

Store on Wheels

Importer and distributor of quality toys, lighting and novelties. Cater to the amusement, retail and entertainment industries.

Castle Golf, Inc.

Planning, design and construction of miniature golf courses and family fun parks.

Davis & Davis, Inc.

Planning consultants for wet/dry attractions, mini-golf, go-kart tracks and laser arenas.

Precision Dynamics (PDC)

Wristbands with no hidden costs, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Wristband System.

Quik N' Crispy (QNC)

Quik n’ Crispy greaseless fryer.

Omega Carpets

Printed carpeting for all your facility needs.

International Special Events (ISERA)

Risk purchasing group, a better way to purchase liability insurance, specializing in inflatables and much more.

Center Edge Software

Facility Management Software Solutions

Fast Corp Vending

Frozen food vending machines

Subway

Fresh food and sandwich options.

Zebec Water Sports

Large variety of waterpark needs

Johnny Rockets
LMap Powered by Silvercrest
Premier Polysteel
Spectrum Sports
Cannonball Blaster
Funovation
Empex Water Toys