Masters Week has finally come and gone! All of the golf world descended upon Augusta, Georgia for April 8-14 for the 2013 Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Now we close out with a couple remaining tidbits from the week that was.
Once again, Augusta National Golf Club put on a demonstration this week with The Masters on how to run an event for a sports organization right – such a heavy emphasis on the customer experience was the overarching goal and it was certainly achieved.
However, Augusta National Golf Club wasn’t perfect. They deployed a couple of questionable operations strategies, one of which was the use of temporary labor.
The club has a full-time staff, a series of volunteers who are on site just for the tournament, and droves of temporary labor in the golf shop, the concession stands, in grounds sanitation, and with security.
The volunteers for the tournament – grounds crew, supervisors, golf course superintendents, shot charters, gallery control, manual scoreboard operators, etc. – come from miles and miles away to be up close to the action. The volunteers have (almost) all been doing these same roles at The Masters for multiple years so they are skilled at what they do. (Why do they volunteer? Besides being up close and integral parts of the operation, because of very special and unique benefits I’m not going to publish here, but trust me when I say they are special privileges.)
The temporary staffs in the golf shop, concessions operations, grounds sanitation, and security are all paid (and don’t receive the special privileges). These staffs are mostly younger kids, in high school or college in the local area (Augusta schools coordinate spring break with The Masters – have you tried driving a busload of kids through Masters traffic?) or folks looking to make some extra money. All temporary labor personnel go through training prior to the week of The Masters.
Operation of the golf shop, concessions, and grounds sanitation are very straight-forward, and so the training is pretty standard. The processes are similar to those in stores and restaurants, as well as your nearest Adopt-A-Highway sign.
However, security is a completely different animal. Lots of special rules, regulations, badge colors, permissible areas versus non-permissible, scanners, metal detectors, cross here not there, guests on lists, gallery control, and on and on. On top of that, the security personnel also play such a critical role in maintaining the customer experience at a high level, and the processes are much more difficult and non-standard relative to the other temporary operations on the course.
Because of the specialized security needs for The Masters, ANGC subcontracts the security out to Securitas. Securitas then has to account for the big spike in their security personnel demand by hiring temporary security personnel themselves. In years past the security procedures and their enforcement has been fine, but this year there was a noted lack of training and experience in handling this event. Many inconsistent applications of protocols (security guards disagreeing on procedures), unbalanced deployment across the course, disruption of experience (fans being pulled away by security guards misunderstanding procedures), and so on. I have permissions to go into certain areas of the course that others don’t, which in years past has not been an issue but this year I was stopped just about every time I stepped into non-patron areas (including being dragged to the security office) and I wasn’t alone in this frustration.
This graphic shows a general idea of how to categorize certain job functions. The key value-adding components of a workforce should lie either in the Core category (the strategic activities, and the reason your company exists to add value to its clients) and the Noncore-Critical category (a combination of strategy and support activities, the functions that you MUST have in order to properly add value to clients).
The Noncore-Noncritical category of functions includes those that don’t specifically add value to clients but are important for maintaining basic necessities like safety. These activities are almost completely tactical, plug-and-chug, replaceable functions. Notice that security falls into this category (as would concessions, janitorial, and golf shop activities).
What is important about the Noncore-Noncritical functions is that those processes need to be very specific and repeatable. They must be standardized and understood by all in those functions. Lack of objectivity in their application means that managers are spending more time in non-critical functions instead of worrying about more value-adding applications. Temporary labor should almost entirely fall into this category.
For ANGC and The Masters, there are two potential schools of thought for improvement with security.
One, as is previously defined, security protocols should be very specific and repeatable and understood by all. There should be no disagreement, the processes should be standardized, and the attention to detail and doing things one way should be great because they are in the Noncore-Noncritical category.
Two, maybe for such a special sporting event, security should NOT be in the Noncore-Noncritical category and should be bumped to Noncore-Critical (not quite Core because it is not a value-adding function to customers). In that case, not only should the processes and protocols be standardized and documented, but they should also be highly scrutinized year in and year out and experienced personnel should be placed in those roles. Outsourcing of security to Securitas should have tighter controls and ANGC should work with Securitas more to make sure only specially-trained personnel are granted positions.
I don’t know if there were any big security issues for this year’s Masters Tournament, but with the use of undertrained temporary security officers and lack of very specific security protocols in places the opportunity for problems could have reared its head.
We’re also giving away 2013 Masters pin flags – click here to learn more!