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

Enchanted Castle Studios

Fiberglass statuary and figures for restaurants, mini-golf, theme parks and other attractions.

Muncie Novelty Co., Inc.

Admissions, financial equipment, printing and tickets.

Brunswick Bowling

Entertainment bowling center developer and manufacturer of bowling equipment and entertainment products.

A’maze Ventures, Inc.

Mazes for every location, new and used.

Extreme Engineering

Industry leader in zip lines, climbing walls, jumper systems and adventure products.

West Coast Netting, Inc.

Experienced netting manufacturer on the leading edge of innovation.

Art Attack

Theming, miniature golf, parade floats, 3D props, air-brushed murals, signage and art panels.

Amusement Entertainment Management (AEM)

Premier entertainment consultants.

See Coast Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Coin-operated binoculars and telescopes.

Weldon, Williams & Lick

Admission systems and wristband ticketing.

Sureshot Redemption

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

Empex Water Toys

Aquatons Water Toys

Adventure Golf

Miniature golf courses, consultants, architecture and design.

Tarobots

Boxerjocks robotic boxing amusement ride game attraction.

Wells Fargo

Commercial insurance for inflatables and event planners.

Northeast Insurance (NIC)

Insurance programs.

Namco

Namco America is a premier manufacturer of coin-op arcade attractions, ranging from the hottest titles like Crazy Typhoon and Jumpin’ Jackpot to classic game-room experiences such as the Pac-Man 25th Anniversary upright that features Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. Specialized pieces such as Wonka Sweetland and Flamin Finger are favorites too! For arcade gaming fun, Namco America is your answer.

Quik N\’ Crispy (QNC)

Quik n’ Crispy greaseless fryer.

Klopp International, Inc. (Playmeter)

Quality coin counters and sorters.

Water Wars (T&D Enterprises of Brainerd)

Water Wars water balloon game, portable or startionary.

Cost of Wisconson

Creators of simulated environments, duplicate structures, sculpted figures, exhibits, water features, mini-golf and more.

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.

Lazer Runner

Laser Tag Systems

Laser Star

Laser shooting galleries, laser tag, dark ride target systems, overhead target ranges.

Tokens Direct

A wide variety of tokens.

Flagship Carpet

Custom carpets and rugs.

Poly Products

Tables, benches and related products. Green products for a green world.

Adventure Glass

Unique paddleboats.

Hoffman Mint

Tokens, medals, coins and key tags.

Embed

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

Penny Press

Penny souvenir machine, great for parks, FECs, bowling and skating centers, museums and tourist attractions.

U.S. Bowling

Award-winning independent company brings bowling to your venue.

Ride Development Corp.

Electric floor, gas and battery-powered bumper cars.

Family Fun Corp.

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

Funovation

Laser maze challenge

Chestnut Identity Apparel

Uniform supply, embroidered apparel and flag manufacturing.

Sacoa

Designed and manufactures PlayCard, the rechargeable debit card system.

Castle Golf, Inc.

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

Rio Syrup

Over 250 flavors, syrups and concentrates for shaved ice, sno cones, shushes, food colors. Now featuring Hawaiian Flower Cups.

National Rock & Sculpture

Dedicated to the conceptual design and development of themed environments.

Coast to Coast

Coin-operated entertainment, crane machines.

Center Edge Software

Facility Management Software Solutions

California Portable Dance Floor Company

Comstock – Castle Stove

Commercial cooking equipment.

Omega Carpets

Printed carpeting for all your facility needs.

Challenger Industries

Sports surfaces, carpets and mini-golf surfaces.

Qubica

Sells capital equipment to bowling centers.

Lil Orbits Inc.

Food equipment, donut machines and vendor carts.

Spectrum
Extreme Engineering
Funovation
Premier Polysteel
Rebound Unlimted, Inc.
Embed
LAI
American Conference