HB Studio was founded in 1945 by Herbert Berghof as a place for working actors to be able to keep up their practice and training between acting jobs. The Studio moved from a highly informal to a more formal structure over the years, starting with Mr. Berghof himself simply accepting payments directly from students when they arrived for class with him (if he actually made them pay in the first place). Eventually an assistant would handle accepting payments and as the operation grew, a full-time registrar was hired, then a business manager, then more registration staff, maintenance staff and so on.
Many of the office functions were handled early on by teachers or students on a voluntary basis, sometimes in exchange for class time, and sometimes as short-lived part-time gigs to pay the bills. As the organization was originally a sole ownership, the rules were fast and loose at the time and a lot of people got jobs working for the organization simply as a way of Mr. Berghof helping them out during a rough time.
After Mr. Berghof’s death, his widow, the renowned stage actress and one of the Studio’s teachers, Uta Hagen, arranged to have the organization moved from a sole ownership to a 501(c)(3) non-profit. The staffing continued to become more structured and formalized. After Ms. Hagen’s passing, the organization eventually settled on being headed by an Executive Director, who is currently supported by an Operations Manager, Finance Coordinator, and Director of Development at the top end, along with a number of registration staff, janitorial and maintenance, and some supporting administrative staff.
The current number of employees, when combining the Studio’s staff to the staff of the HB Playwrights Foundation, which is effectively an arm of the Studio, comes in at 30, some of whom might be described as “seasonal”. This does not included the count of teachers who, for the most part, are independent contractors.
Our current scheduling challenges start with the fact that our full-time registration staff are paid hourly and have flexible schedules. Given the patchwork of staff availability and our obligation to provide a minimum number of hours to staff designated full-time means that shifts are never a fixed length from one day to the next. That overlaps with the difficulty of tracking vacation time accruals, and also vacation time usage. For the part-time hourly staff, we do our best to award work hours in reasonable proportion to stated availability.
– James Mallinson – HB Studio
Our previous work scheduler system was simply for one of our managers to take staff availability by e-mail, then calculate availability by hand, then assign shifts by hand, and issue the schedule to staff in a pre-formatted Word document. Time sheet tracking was accomplished by an custom-made Excel spreadsheet on a server accessible to staff from any work station in the office.
We stuck with the old work scheduler system as long as we did mostly because of inertia. When we were ready to make a move, we looked at several offerings, but we found Humanity to be the best solution because so many other systems didn’t actually provide BOTH scheduling AND time sheet tracking. It was actually rather ridiculous how many other offerings didn’t accomplish this. Prior to using Humanity, there was a failure of managerial oversight and observation of authority that resulted in a few members of staff accruing much too much overtime.
Humanity has allowed a much greater and more efficient degree of managerial oversight. Different members of the managerial staff oversee different segments of the staff and are responsible for tracking and reporting work hours clocked. Each member then submits time sheet reports generated by the Humanity work scheduler to the Executive Director, who gives it all one last look and approval before submitting the information to the Finance Coordinator for submission to the company that processes payroll.
The system has already greatly improved our tracking.- James Mallinson – HB Studio
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