The Mission-Critical Resource Center

Workforce Optimization: A Smarter Struggle to Resolving 911's Staffing Struggle

In Summary:

  • Staffing struggles have plagued public safety communications for years, and the situation is worsening because of favorable economic conditions that bring an abundance of less-stressful, better paying jobs.

  • Workforce optimization is the concept of taking a more holistic approach to staffing that places equal emphasis on recruitment, hiring, training, and retention.

  • The profile of the ideal telecommunicator is evolving. The next generation telecommunicator will process different skills than they do today.


Several years ago, the National 911 Program released the Recommended Minimum Training Guidelines for the 911 Telecommunicator. The document was intended to ensure that a more consistent standard of care was provided by 911 call-takers and dispatchers to callers requesting emergency services, regardless of their location at the time of the call. A corollary benefit of the guidelines is that they might help reduce the amount of personnel churn that emergency communications centers (ECCs) experience.

This whitepaper discusses emergency communications center staffing, which is the challenge that most, if not all, 911 centers across the nation have grappled with. The staffing situation is worsening, driven by an economy that continues to pick up steam. As a result, less stressful, better-paying jobs are in abundance and telecommunicators are flocking to them.

When trying to resolve staffing struggles by focusing on what needs to be done to "put people in seats," the focus should be on putting the right people in the right seats and then keeping them there for the long-haul.

This whitepaper discusses new strategies and what's ahead for 911 centers when it comes to:

  • Recruitment
  • Hiring
  • Training
  • Retention