- Hire wisely. Juanita Hernandez of the Lee Richardson Zoo said she seeks out employees who not only accept seasonal work, but prefer it. “This is a great job for teachers. I have one employee who is a teacher, and the part-time summer hours fit her schedule perfectly.”
- Weigh the pros and cons of engaging a private food service contractor. Brad Streeter, a restaurant owner who provides food service to the Sunset Zoo, said companies like his bring expertise and cost-effectiveness. “Zoos often don’t know much about training people for food service jobs. Private companies in the food business do a better job, cheaper.”
- Don’t deny a job to an employee’s friend or family. Bob Danner of the Louisville Zoo said employees who already have relationships at the zoo are likely to assimilate into the job faster and elevate morale.
- Be honest about payroll limits. Steve Lopez of the Phoenix Zoo said he explains the nature of the job to all employees up front. “We do tell everyone that this is seasonal employment,” he said. “We explain that they’re more than welcome to come back, but the hours are the hours.”
- Watch the weather. Scot Mangold of the Mesker Park Zoo said he gets a weather report on his phone each morning. “If you schedule people all week and then it rains, you have to send people home,” he said. “Fighting against the weather is the biggest challenge.” –
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