7 Ways to Fill the Labor Gaps in Parks and Recreation

Devin Meister

March 29, 2022

Everybody is tasked with doing more with less – but the weight on the parks and recreation departments and facilities everywhere is at another level. Driven by increased demand for services through the pandemic that often hasn’t kept pace with funding, patron experiences have sometimes suffered.

On top of that, the labor issues facing every industry create significant challenges for staffs that already run lean and rely on many entry-level and seasonal employees. You want and need to create a great experience for your employees as well. The fact of the matter is employees have options. As Shep Hyken wrote in Forbes, “An employee experience that creates loyalty is every bit as important as a customer experience that creates customer loyalty.” Even entry-level employees want to be empowered to do their job well, improve, and feel appreciated. Word gets around about bad experiences. On top of that, hourly wages are continuing to rise.

All that said, the critical busy season is fast approaching. While technology won’t solve your need to hire lifeguards (at least not yet) here are some ways that you can use it to make sure your season is a success.

1. Online Registrations and Reservations

Today’s average audience is tech-savvy and not-intimidated by technology. The younger generations are even more comfortable in a digital world – online is their native habitat! Enable patrons to do as much as possible online and encourage them to do. This can eliminate unnecessary calls or visitors into the office, decrease wait times on necessary calls, and create the experience that patrons expect.

2. Streamline Communication Creation

There’s no doubt that your brochures, activity and program guides, and other communication materials are critical to getting the message out to your community. But they can also be one of the time-consuming manual tasks for your already strapped staff. That all changes with systems that can combine your online calendar, activities, and other digital inputs into automatically generated documents that are always up to date and accurate.

3. Self Guided On-premise Service

Consider creating self-service check-in stations at pools, community centers, fitness centers, and other creative places with a variety of Kiosk options. From a simple tablet to a dedicated touchscreen, it’s great for enabling patrons and guests to access what they need when they need it while freeing existing staff for other necessary tasks.

4. Electronic Egress Pass Management

The one thing the labor shortage is going to ensure is that everyone wants the most value for their spend (employer) and time (employees). Sitting at a gate is not productive for both parties. Maybe worse is the time taken to escort visitors to unlock a door or gate. Just because it has to be secure and monitored doesn’t mean it takes a person. A variety of technology from simple ID cards to key Fobs to even more advanced biometric scans can deliver entry options for a variety of situations.

Learn more about Vermont Systems Access Control

5. Digital and Contact-less POS

Streamlining transactions was a goal before the labor situation was tight. Making it easy for your employees to receive payments and simplify sales at concessions, pro shops and front counters across your organization results in a better experience for everyone. RecTrac Touch Screen POS options make it possible. And with Mobile RecTrac, you can enable your staff to leverage mobile devices (smartphones) for fully integrated RecTrac POS processing anywhere your team needs to complete a sale.

6. General Ledger

For a number of reasons, it’s imperative to have an integrated general ledger interface to the accounts finance system. For the purposes of this post, we’ll stick with labor savings. And they are significant. This interface eliminates manual processes by providing an electronic export of transactional information, formatted to meet the needs of the finance system.  This allows users to automatically pass the General Ledger transactional information to the finance software instead of manually entering the data. This minimizes the hands in the system, saves steps and hours of work for those in the system, all while reducing the potential for errors (and potential for more work.)

7. Onboarding and Online Training

Once you make a hire, timing is of the essence. This is especially true with seasonal employees that need to start and existing staff that have limited time to train them. Online self-training enables you to onboard and bring new staff up to speed quickly and keep managers free to attend to other tasks. Getting certifications online and ahead of time enables everyone to get back to serving guests and down to business.

Rising to Expectations

The fact is that community and guest expectations are high and not going to diminish. As tough as the situation is, you’re expected to deliver. Technology can enable you to overcome many challenges and deliver experiences that build loyalty with both your staff and patrons. See what technology could do for you with a custom consultation.