Scheduling is always tough at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Ga. Ben Behimer, director of operations for the Nutrition and Food Services department, jokes that his operation is “like the post office, but better”—it’s open all the time and never misses a meal. But call-offs increase across noncommercial foodservice when kids are home for the summer.
WellStar offers benefits to avert a crisis. Workers are allowed unscheduled absences in addition to leave, and the company runs on-campus employee childcare facilities. “It’s a huge benefit,” Behimer says. It also offers a concierge service that can run errands, and staffs as-needed workers to whom Behimer turns to fill in for call-offs.
Managers can ease childcare burdens, too. Mary Mulder, director of food and nutrition services at Broward County Public Schools in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., says employment is optional in the summer since she doesn’t need a large workforce.
Behimer works to accommodate parents, but urges employees talk to him ahead of time. WellStar wants to meet its employee needs, he says, “but we’ve gotta know what the needs are.”