Pooling Resources

One area to be flexible on is scheduling. Remember when you were in high school and really wanted to go to the prom or on a vacation, or needed extra time to study for the SATs?

Well, young people are still that way. Certain situations are going to come up that are life and death to these teenagers. Do the best to give prom night off. While unexcused absences, tardiness, and calling in sick at the last minute don’t have to be tolerated, good employees who need time off shouldn’t be penalized. If a lifeguard is that good, he or she will be able to find another job. Letting that person go means you just cut the top 10 percent instead of the bottom 10 percent.

Treat teens fairly in this one area, and word will get out that you are a good employer, and there will be a larger group of potential employees to choose from. Remember: these young adults still have social lives.

Knowledge Is Power

There’s nothing worse than receiving a phone call from the mayor (or any elected official) asking why the lifeguard was talking to his girlfriend for 30 minutes while she and her family were at the pool the previous day. Make sure the staff knows and understands who the local stakeholders are. Whether it’s a member of the board of directors, city council, commissioners, etc., every patron may have some connection to persons of influence, and the staff needs to understand this.

Recognizing the hierarchy of the organization guarantees employees will take their jobs much more seriously, and have a greater sense of pride. Take the time to explain the big picture, especially if the facility is part of a government agency. Show the lifeguards an organizational chart, and where they fit into it. Explain who’s elected, who’s an employee, etc.

Chances are these teens don’t know much about local politics (who does at that age?), so take the time to show them. Then, when an elected official’s brother-in-law, neighbor, etc., swims at the facility, he or she will relay the message of how attentive, courteous and professional the staff was. Not only will the lifeguards take pride in hearing these compliments, they will realize that the public is watching them, and cares about what they do.

Andrew Fine is the community services supervisor for the city of Mission Viejo in California. He can be reached via e-mail at affine@cityofmissionviejo.org.

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Related posts:

  1. Tapping Natural Resources
  2. Pooling Resources
  3. Climbing & Adventure Resources
  4. Pooling Sailboat Skills
  5. Guarding The Bottom Line

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