Supplement Feature - February 2009
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At the Ready

Staffing Aquatic Facilities

By Jessica Royer Ocken

Top Tips for Streamlining the Staffing Process

You may have gathered many of these from the case studies themselves, but just to review, here are strategies that can smooth the process of hiring and maintaining the aquatic safety pros you need:

  • Pay as well as you can, and if you're not the highest payer in town, look for other benefits you can offer employees (more hours, flexible schedule, fun atmosphere).
  • Consider starting a "feeder program," such as junior lifeguard training.
  • Build a relationship with local accrediting agencies. Offer your facility as a place for certification classes, or at least make sure you're on the list of aquatic centers they recommend to job seekers.
  • To encourage continuity, offer to pay for recertification for returning lifeguards who agree to work another season.
  • Offer incentive pay for lifeguards who earn their water safety instructor certification and are willing to help with swimming lessons.
  • Run your aquatic center as a "meritocracy," where employees are rewarded based on demonstrated skills and contribution to the team, not just the length of time they've worked there.