As summer kicks into full gear and attendance soars at your commercial pool, it becomes more important than ever to be fully staffed with lifeguards and other workers who are familiar with your facility, its processes, and its patrons. Avoiding mid- and late-summer turnover in staff is crucial. Fortunately, there are some easy strategies you can follow to create a strong, positive work culture that keeps staff coming back day after day — and year after year.
Offer Competitive Pay
Your lifeguards are safety sentinels, who have undergone specialized training and certification. Their vigilance and expertise is critical to keeping your pool’s patrons safe and preventing the tragedy of an injury or drowning. Recognize their value by offering competitive pay, with opportunities for regular raises the longer they stay with your organization.
Reward Strong Performance
As the summer wears on, it can be easy for staffers to grow bored and look for excuses to call in “sick” or even to jump ship for a different job. Keep it interesting by instituting a reward system, which is a proven way to keep your employees motivated and to enhance your pool’s image among future employees. Rewards don’t have to take the form of raises or bonuses. Think creatively about ways to call out your top performers — perhaps by naming a “lifeguard of the week,” offering gift certificates to the snack bar, or by granting a paid day off to one standout staffer each month.
At each of the 12 American Pool offices, for instance, we’re hosting a Lifeguard Appreciation Week to show our thanks and appreciation for lifeguards hard work and service. The week will include opportunities to win free lifeguarding t-shirts and cups, icy beverages to help lifeguards stay cool in the sun, and fun social events. In addition, we’re offering prizes and incentives for lifeguards through our $10,000 Summer to Win campaign. How does it work? Each office nominates a top-performing lifeguard every month of the summer, along with one Lifeguard of the Year at the close of the season. All nominees receive prizes ranging from the iPad Mini and FitBit Flex to a $25 Starbucks gift card. One lucky lifeguard will become American Pool’s Lifeguard of the Summer and take home our grand prize, a $500 Amazon gift card.
Monitor and Mentor
Lifeguards at most commercial pools tend to be on the younger side, around age 16 to 19, and for many, this is their first real job. Given their inexperience in the ways of the working world, it’s important to monitor them closely, remain clear about scheduling, and to provide consistent on-the-job supervision. Make daily rounds to ensure they are properly dressed, positioned, and scanning the waters. When possible, conduct skills checks while they are on the job rather than requiring excessive in-service meetings before and after work. Consistent supervision not only builds confidence and expertise in your staff — it opens lines of communication: Staffers will be more apt to share questions and concerns early, while problems are easy to address.
Keep it Fun
Lifeguarding is serious business, but that doesn’t mean your guards can’t have fun when they’re not in the chair. Look for ways to create an engaging work culture, whether through staff parties, potluck picnics, or with events like Lifeguard Appreciation Week. By encouraging employees to network and socialize, you’ll build camaraderie in your staff and loyalty to your operation.