Benefits-Based Staffing

The second contingency is that the impact of the first phase outcomes must be measurable. During the third phase, benefit outcomes, the mentor summarizes the achievement of target goals through a comprehensive evaluation, which may include a pre/post evaluative format. The pre-test should be administered to the staff prior to employment. At the end of the employment or season, staff should receive the post-test. Measuring progress toward set goals should also be part of regular employee evaluations. This requires the staff member to be an active part of his or her evaluation, ensuring the use of a reliable scale. The key to evaluation is the development of quality, appropriate objectives, ensuring the development of desired, positive results.

Phase 4–Benefits-Based Awareness

The final phase is Benefits-Based Awareness. Successes are communicated to the community and administration through an effective marketing effort that may include seasonal and annual reports, speaking engagements and news releases. This process is a recruiting tool, as well as a marketing point for the agency, and further demonstrates the benefits of working for the department.

Seasonal and part-time staffing programs have the potential to be one of a recreation department’s most effective services. To have the greatest impact, however, a reliable system must be applied. By adapting the Benefits-Based Programming Model into a Benefits-Based Staffing Model, current staff and former employees can articulate the benefits of returning to the agency year after year, as well as to be ambassadors for the agency, long after they have worked for the organization. Some of the current part-time and seasonal staff may be the future recreation professionals. When used effectively, mentoring, evaluation, and marketing can enhance an existing seasonal and part-time employment program, and contribute to the holistic growth and development of the entire community.


Rossman, J. R., and B. E. Schlatter. Recreation programming: Designing leisure experiences. Champaign, Illinois: Sagamore Publishing, 2003.

Matthew Griffith is the pool operator for Georgia Institute of Technology. He has an extensive aquatics background managing municipal, private, school district and university programs. As an instructor, Griffith has taught CPO courses around the country, as well as holding numerous other certifications in pool operations and service. He can be reached via e-mail at

Joseph Walker is an assistant professor of recreation at the University of North Texas. His recreation background includes aquatics, community/special event programming, facility operations/development, staff management and comprehensive planning. He can be reached via e-mail at

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