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Plan “Bee” is all the buzz…

March 12, 2012

Each year, just about now, blossoms appear on the almond trees in California. It is an extraordinarily beautiful sight with all the promise of the rich harvest to come. As long as nature provides for the cross pollination of the beautiful blooms the trees should soon be weighting heavy with the precious almond drupe (it’s technically not a “nut”, but a drupe!)

The burden of cross pollination and ultimate success of the harvest rests with the honeybee! It is their job to flit from flower to flower exchanging the pollen rich in DNA that becomes the almond. According to Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times, “lasting about four weeks, it’s the largest such pollination effort on Earth: 1.6 million hives buzzing with 48 billion bees across a cultivation area about the size of Rhode Island.”

Interestingly, not all the bees are “locals”. Bee Biologist Gordon Wardell says, “We bring in bees from all over the country. We have a good number of bees that come out of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi.” And that got me to thinking…

Sounds a lot like “surge staffing” don’t you think? There is a known event at a future date that will increase the need for staff beyond current capacity, so what do the almond farmers do? They call a “bee agency”!

But wait isn’t “agency” staffing a big no-no? Well, not really. Unmanaged, indiscriminate use of “agency” staff is a no-no, but well planned strategic use of this form of supplemental labor can be a very valuable workforce management tool.

Examples of “surge staffing” include bringing in large numbers of nurses to support patient care during a planned go-live of an electronic medical record, or facilitate the safe movement of patients during the opening of the “new” hospital and closing of the “old” hospital. Planned “surge staffing” can be for large house-wide events like these or smaller more focused needs.

Right here in Tampa, Florida, not far from where I call home, I bet the local emergency departments are developing staffing plans that may require “surge staffing” considerations for the week of the Republican National Convention .

It’s amazing what nature teaches us. “Surge staffing” – what a bee-utiful solution!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Fred Miller permalink
    March 12, 2012 6:09 PM

    I guess a way to think of it, and not meaning to steal from the Boy Scouts of America, but you would want to “Bee Prepared” for surges and needs. Always best to think ahead and plan carefully than to struggle in a reactive mode when resources are scarce, frustration is high and time is of the essence.

    Bee Wise, Bee a Leader and your hive will thrive! Don’t get stung by lack of preparedness.

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