We are in the process of reevaluating our security scheduling model and I am hoping to learn from other museums that have similar 24/7 staffing needs for shifts and positions that cannot go unfilled (even in the case of illness or other emergency). Would anyone be willing to share samples of how they handle this in their environment?
On a related note, anyone use an employee scheduling tool that they love?
Thanks to all for your insight!
We use When to Work to manage student guard schedules, docent schedules, and intern schedules: WhenToWork Online Employee Scheduling
It even has a convenient mobile app.
When I was Guest Services Director at Longwood Gardens, the team liked "when to work".
The features that created efficiencies for the team was as follows:
As for the question of security 24/7 and how to manage those unexpected attendance challenges, the team always had an on-call staff person for the midnight shift so in the event of call outs the on-call staff person was expected to cover, you will need to look into employment laws on how the on-call staff has to be compensated.
Hope this helps.
This is a challenge that security directors face regularly. Security departments are typically staffed at the minimum essential personnel level, often leaving no latitude for the absence of an officer even for part of a shift. There basically 2 conventional responses, overtime for proprietary personnel or the inclusion of a contract security service. We currently use a combination of both to ensure we can meet our staffing requirements for the museum.
We usually use overtime to handle short notice absences such as call-offs or mid-shift emergencies. This may include an officer from the preceding shift staying over to cover the entire shift, officers from the preceding and following shifts covering portions of the absence or possibly having an officer who is scheduled off cover the shift. Overtime should only be a short term option as it can become very taxing and at a point even detrimental to the department. This is especially true in smaller departments where there are fewer officers shouldering the burden. Long term use of overtime can also have a significant negative impact on morale, as officers tire and begin to experience "burn out" they will begin to see the continued staff shortage as a lack of care or concern on the part of the organization leadership. There is also a financial burden that should be taken into account.
We use our contract provider to cover absences when we have more advance notice. Our provider has trained security personnel and we provide site specific training to a core group of those personnel who can then be scheduled and operate much as one of our own officers. This is a good solution for covering scheduled time off, longer absences like LOAs or even the time it takes to fill a vacancy in the proprietary staff. There are a number of quality providers in most larger cities.
Unconventional or lesser used options might include:
Hiring of a temporary on call staff - This would be the equivalent of trying to maintain your own contract staff and unless you plan on using them a lot it can be very difficult and costly to maintain a quality group that can operate effectively.
Use of an "Augmentee" staff - This would involve identifying and training staff members outside of the security department to take on the responsibilities. This can be a complicated process and should be thoroughly vetted to ensure there are no legal or labor issues that will be violated in your jurisdiction. The HR and Payroll functions will have to be able to properly track and pay the separate jobs and there will need to be adequate oversight from the leadership to ensure that the combination of the security position and the person's other function don't create a conflict of interest of undue risk.
I hope something in this helps or answers your question. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions.
We also use When to Work and love it. We have the same problem, 24/7 shift coverage. One of our biggest successes was adopting a shift rotation and moved away from hiring for specific shifts. Each officer, supervisors included, rotate shifts every three months. Example, John Doe Security Guy works Jan-Mar on the grave shift, the switches Apr-June to Swings, then to days.They may not do it in that specific order but they do rotate. We've found it keeps them all more connected to the mission, allows us to cover sick calls, vacation requests, etc since all officers are trained on all shifts and most importantly we don't have as high a turn over.
Kevin WrightSecurity Manager
Monterey Bay Aquarium
American Alliance of Museums2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 1005Arlington, VA 22202