Workforce.com

Mount Rushmore HR is Everywhere

January 1, 1997
Best known for the striking images of the faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, Mount Rushmore is a national memorial park located in Keystone, South Dakota. Visitors come to enjoy the full impact of the granite sculpture from the viewing terrace, hike the Presidential Trail, take part in guided walks and ranger programs, and tour the Sculptor's Studio built under the direction of Gutzon Borglum in 1939.

How did you end up with this particular job in this industry?
I started out working at Mount Rushmore during the summer while in college. When I graduated, I went to work for a department store in Denver. I was interviewing for a new job when the owners of the concession up here, who were handling the HR functions up to that point, made me an offer I couldn't refuse. That was in 1974.

What is your background?
My college work was in business administration. I started formal HR training when I stepped into this job.

What are the biggest challenges of your industry?
We provide housing for employees. I have to determine when problems in the dormitory will effect work performance and find ways to manage those issues. Another challenge is managing an employee group with a wide range of ages. I have employees from 18-years-old up to 78.

What challenges do you feel are universal for HR?
Recruiting good people. I used to get as many as 1,500 applications to fill 130 seasonal positions. Now I'm lucky if I get 500.

How is HR viewed at your organization?
Upper management definitely sees HR as a partner in meeting its goals-recognizing that employees are the ones who make or break someone's visit.

What about your job and/or your organization makes you most proud?
The most gratifying part of my job is taking an employee that I think is a rough stone and polishing him or her into a diamond.

What is "special" about HR at Mount Rushmore?
I have five hire dates and anywhere from 20 to 60 people start each time. So the general manager and I and all the management staff take an active hand, leading by example to show employees what we want. We spend time flipping hamburgers, bagging merchandise, stocking shelves, vacuuming floors -- it's a team effort to get the job done and to make the experience of the visiting guest a memorable one.

Workforce, January 1997, Vol. 76., No. 1, p. 88.