I'm looking at ways to reduce staff this coming summer, and I was curious about the supervisory structure of other facilities. I have been told that, ideally, a supervisor should oversee no more than four employees. Our structure has traditionally been to have one facility manager, who supervises 3-4 pool coordinators, who supervise about 16-20 lifeguards and head guards.

What do you do at your facility?

Also, if you have more than one supervisor on staff at a time, do you designate one person to be "in charge," or do they all operate as equals?

Thanks for your input

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My facility has changed it's management structure several times over the past 5 years to exactly that end, reduce costs and maximize efficiency. Our current management structure consists of three administrative staff, one Director and two Superintendents. The administrators will serve as Manager on Duty (MOD) for designated shifts, but when not serving as MOD try to avoid stepping on the toes of who is. Beneath the admin staff are hourly supervisors who supervise the entire day to day operations of the facility, both on the safety side (Lifeguards) and service side (desk staff). We have an assistant supervisory position on the service side to help address customer concerns and monitor the front desk area, which frees up the Supervisor to keep a closer eye on the operations in and around the water, as well as see to water chemistry and routine maintenance when needed.

On any given day we have one MOD who supervises the entire staff of 16-20 employees, including the service assistant supervisor who helps oversee the 3-6 service staff on duty.

All of our hourly management staff also serve in the subordinate positions (Lifeguard, desk worker, etc) to help keep them fresh on the necessary skills, and do not act in a supervisory capacity when working in those positions (extenuating circumstances excluded)

When a lot is going on at once such as during nightly cleaning at closing time, the Supervisors will appoint "leads" to each task, making that person responsible for that task and the other employees working on that task, but it is an informal position. We have found that using leads helps give senior employees a taste of management, and also takes away the burden of one supervisor having to keep track of multiple groups and tasks simultaneously.

Hope that helps.
I am the pool manager and LGI. We have another asst. manager that helps me and works when I am not there. There are 20 lifeguards and 10 slide attendants at my facility. We work together as equals but I am still the one who makes all final decisions. There is also a head lifeguard who serves in our place if we are busy. They also assist with big decisions or other things that may be needed. As far as schedules go I make them all. I also head all inservices and meetings. The other two who are in charge really just step up if I am unavailable or have prior obligations.
Supervisory staff guidelines for your area should be defined in your state or local sanitary code.

If I staff more than one supervisor at a time I find it necessary to define responsibilities clearly for sure or they sometimes step on eachothers toes. If there is a double up because a senior guard covers for a lifeguard in a pinch, that person defers to the senior guard who regularly has the shift.
We do not designate managers per staff, rather managers per program. We have two facilities which offer rec swim, swim lessons and Jr. Guards. We always have a manager on duty (in charge of the overall program and customers) and a lead guard on duty (in charge of the staff) for each of these programs, no matter how many staff are currently working. If it's really busy or we're in a pinch, the lead guard will step in and teach or guard and the manager will be in charge of everything.

Our managers and lead guards are assigned their duties, so even if two are scheduled at once, one is assigned as manager for their program and the other may just be preparing for their program or working their program. For example, Rec Swim and Jr. Guards go on at the same time, so we have one Rec Swim manager, in charge of Rec Swim, and one Jr. Guard Manager in charge of only Jr. Guards. They do not cross over into eachothers assignments unless asked by that manager.
We have a Recreation Supervisor, who oversees the entire aquatic department, 1 full time and 1 part time Recreation Programmer, who's duties include the research and development of new programs, performance tracking, budget analysis, marketing etc. They supervise 3 Recreation Coordinators, who's responsibilities include the development and evaluation of approx. 35-45 lifeguards/swim instructors/fitness instructors (who are broken into 3 basic shifts, based on swim lessons offered Mon. - Sun.), the implementation of new programs, and the overall day-to-day pool operations. This system works well because it offers multiple layers of protection regarding safety of patrons attending the facility, as well as ensuring that employees are receiving the most "tools for their toolbox" in order to have the best possible chance at being successful, thus increasing productivity and a greater overall customer satisfaction.


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