Eliminating the Burden of Staff Scheduling: From Two Weeks to Five Minutes

Staff scheduling was no easy task for Philips Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, before the organization started to use AwareManager.

The guest services team scheduled more than 100 internal staffers per event through their former scheduling system, which was so inefficient, that they chose instead to largely rely on paper schedules and email to get the job done. Multiply that by 5-10 events per month, and you have an administrative headache. Each month, event coordinators would share the schedule of events for the next 30 days, and staffers would then confirm their availability via email or by checking off which days they could work on the paper schedule. Then the event coordinators would sort through the schedules to figure out who could fill each needed position. In total, it took two weeks to finalize the event schedules for the upcoming month.

“We needed a solution that would truly automate the scheduling process – unlike the system we had in place – and would also guarantee that we had the right people, with the right qualifications on hand for each event,” said Jason Parker, Senior Director of Customer Service and Operations at Philips Arena.

The team at Philips Arena made the jump to AwareManager’s Gunner platform for event-day operations with one goal in mind: to dramatically reduce the time needed to coordinate staff scheduling.

To do this, AwareManager created event templates for each event type – concert, game, family event, etc. Each template contains every staffing position needed for that event and where that staffer is needed in the arena on event day. The result: visual representations of who needs to be where in the venue, and when, during each unique event type.

A profile was then created for each staff member in Gunner, which serves as the system of record for tracking each person’s qualifications, certifications, current availability and contact information.

With all this information in one place, the Gunner platform can automatically schedule the right staff member for the right job based on their availability – no more paper, no more back-and-forth via email just to know who can work.

“The team was nervous about the time and effort it would take to move to an entirely new system, but the AwareManager team made the transition fast and easy – with very little heavy lifting required from our staff,” explained Parker.

The Philips Arena guest services team definitively met their goal, scheduling for a month of events in minutes, rather than the two weeks needed using their former scheduling system.

In addition, on event-day, managers and section leaders now use the Gunner mobile application to check in and confirm that staff are in position, so event coordinators have real-time insights on staff readiness. The Gunner mobile application is now also being used at Philips Arena for live incident management. Staff members can record new incidents and response to incidents in progress – all via their mobile devices.

“With AwareManager, we’ve eliminated an entire week’s worth of work every month,” said Parker. “That coupled with ability to track both staff and incidents in real-time has revolutionized our event day operations.”