The More they Know the More they Grow!

October 11, 2011

Tips on selecting and preparing your undergraduate student employees to work as Facility Supervisors

Kacy Toberg, CRSS
Facilities Coordinator
Georgia State University

About Georgia State University and our Student Recreation Center:
Georgia State University is an urban research institution located in the heart of downtown Atlanta. We have approximately 31, 500 students as of the Fall Semester 2010. The Department of Recreational Services employs around 150 student employees each semester to work in the various activity and program areas of our 161,112 square foot Student Recreation Center. This is a 29.5 million dollar facility with over 1,500 entries per day!

BIG job with BIG responsibilities:
The position of Facility Supervisor is the highest position an undergraduate student employee can obtain in our department. Each semester we have about a dozen Facility Supervisors, with one on duty every hour the Student Recreation Center is open. They are the primary liaison between the professional staff, our student staff and our customers. The Facility Supervisor is responsible for all decisions in lieu of professional staff.
Responsibilities Include:

  • Key Holder (issued and responsible for a key to the facility)
  • Opening and Closing procedures (as early as 5:30 am and as late as 11:30 pm)
  • Cash Reconciliation (preparing and securing the daily start up money and deposits)
  • Facility Security and Risk Management (doing rounds, addressing and documenting any potential hazards)
  • Employee Management (documenting behavior or attendance issues, managing breaks and conducting employee evaluations)
  • Emergency Response (lead emergency action procedures and document all Incidents and Accidents)
  • Enforce policies and procedures with both student staff and our customers
  • Be a good Ambassador of the Department (customer service, accessible and visible to the student staff and our customers)

Application and Selection Process:
To apply for a position as a Facility Supervisor, students must be currently enrolled at Georgia State University and have worked in any area of our department for a minimum of one semester. The application includes a response to an essay question which must be typed. Most recently we have used this essay question on the application:
What do you feel is the primary purpose of the Department of Recreational Services, and how
does the position of Facility Supervisor fulfill that purpose?

By asking this question, we generate prior to the interview a good perspective on the candidate regarding their awareness of the size and scope of our department, and the role the Facility Supervisor plays within it. The interview lasts about 30 minutes and is conducted by a search committee comprised of professional staff, graduate assistants and current Facility Supervisors. It is important to ask the right questions. Here are some topics we include when preparing interview questions:

  • Tell us about yourself. (Interests, area of study, skills, goals)
  • Leadership style and experiences
  • Conflict Resolution (experience dealing with it)
  • Define the role of a Facility Supervisor and why you want to become one
  • Transitioning from peer to Supervisor (challenges you may face)
  • Building trust and teamwork
  • Rate your attention to detail on a scale of 1-10
  • What would your co-workers say about you
  • Make 1 suggestion on how to improve the department (policies, procedures, programs, etc)
  • Scenario question (How would you deal with a…irate patron, disobedient employee, emergency situation)
    *Although they have not yet been trained on how to correctly deal with all of these scenarios it is valuable to get an idea about their ability to handle high pressure situations and their decision making process.

When selecting candidates to promote to Facility Supervisor, factors such as maturity, responsibility, ability to lead by example, customer service and performance history are evaluated in addition to the application and interview. Applicants must be seen as self —starters, enthusiastic and good ambassadors of the department. We have had successful applicants come from all areas of our department (Aquatics, Intramurals, Facility Operations, Fitness, etc.). Hiring a diverse Facility Supervisor staff increases the knowledge base for your team and improves the quality of discussions and in-service training that take place in bi-weekly meetings.

Training and Evaluation:
The training process for Facility Supervisors is extensive. It is comprised of the successful completion of the following:

  • First Aid, AED and CPR for the Professional Rescuer (C-PRO) training
  • Training and shadowing in the areas they will supervise but have not previously worked. This could include any of the following: Fitness, Facility Operations(Equipment Desk/Game Room), Service Counter and Office
  • Shadowing a current Facility Supervisor for two openings, two closings and two mid-day shifts
    *Practice opening and closing procedures, keys, lights, doors, equipment set up and take down
  • Orientation — Expectations and Review of paperwork and forms
  • Emergency Procedures: Calling an ambulance, Accidents, Incidents, Inclement weather, Fire alarms, Active shooter, and Bomb threats
  • Conflict Resolution: addressing customer concerns, employee conflicts, supervising your peers
  • Policies and Procedures (how to explain the why’s behind them)
  • Being FIRM but FAIR with policy enforcement (with employees and customers)
    Some strategies to help with policy enforcement:
  1. Be Consistent
  2. Be Knowledgeable
  3. Listen Actively
  4. Speak Clearly
  5. Remain Calm
  6. Support your staff
  7. Give alternative options

The training process takes about 6 weeks to complete and we meet at the start of the process, in the middle and once the training is completed to assess the Facility Supervisors level of knowledge and comfort with what is expected of them. Once they have successfully completed these requirements they are able to work or “fly solo” as the Supervisor on Duty.

Facility Supervisor evaluations are conducted each semester and consists of feedback from the Attendants they supervise, the Graduate Assistant, the Facilities Coordinator and the Associate Director. Facility Supervisors are also asked to evaluate themselves, and both quantitative and constructive qualitative feedback is given. Goals are also established for them to work on in the coming semester. These evaluation meetings are about 30 minutes in length and have proven to be very valuable in the growth and development of our Facility Supervisor team.

Above and Beyond…The more they KNOW; the more they GROW:
As our Facility Supervisors develop, we encourage them to expand their knowledge and leadership skills by taking on additional responsibilities such as: training new employees, serving on committees, attending leadership conferences and workshops (both on and off campus). We also encourage them to be a part of our national or state association if they have an interest in pursuing a career in recreational sports. Regardless of what field they chose to go in to, the skills they learn as Facility Supervisors prepare them to be leaders in life!

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