Busch Gardens Human Resources: What You Need To Know

Busch Gardens Human Resources: What You Need To Know

Busch Gardens is a famous theme park and entertainment destination. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment owns this. It holds a leading place in the theme park industry and attractions around the United States. Founded in 1959, Busch Gardens went on to develop into a premier, world-class entertainment destination that hosts millions of guests every year. Busch Gardens operates theme parks in Tampa, Florida, and Williamsburg, Virginia, where visitors experience a unique blend of thrilling rides, live entertainment, and up-close animal encounters.

The mission of the company is to "create unforgettable experiences for guests and a lifetime of memories," which can be seen through all its operations, from the design of the rides and attractions to its commitment to putting its workforce and guests first. The concept of Human Resources stands at the core of the success of any organization; the same holds for a theme park like Busch Gardens. A McKinsey study has shown that companies that put emphasis on human capital development along with effective management practices outperform their counterparts, hence stressing the importance of developing and managing human capital well for a competitive advantage. This article explores Busch Gardens Human Resources in detail and highlights the recruitment strategies, the programs related to employee development, and employee benefits.

Overview of Busch Gardens Human Resources 

Busch Gardens Human Resources is responsible for a number of critical roles and functions: recruitment, onboarding, training, employee relations, and benefits management. One of the main goals of HR is to ensure a high retention rate, which is particularly challenging in the theme park industry, known for its seasonal fluctuations in employment.

At Busch Gardens, the HR Department, under the supervision of the Vice President of Human Resources, Jonathan Harris, is composed of over 1,500 employees in departments such as Entertainment, Culinary Operations, and Merchandise. Other key personnel with regard to Human Resources at Busch Gardens are Lara Chartier, Krister G, Danielle Diamond, and Maryhelen Shuman-Groh. The department of HR also takes care of processes ensuring that the staff are in line with the organization's structure and processes. It's an effort to make sure that the department fosters a positive work culture and promotes the well-being of its employees.

Recruitment and Hiring Processes


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the United States is becoming increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, with projections showing that minority groups will make up over 50% of the population by 2060. To this effect, Busch Gardens reflects this trend as an employer through hiring practices that draw from a wide pool of qualified candidates. The recruitment and hiring process at Busch Gardens involves several steps to ensure the selection of qualified candidates. Following is the critical preview of the Busch Gardens recruitment and hiring process.


1. Job Opportunities: 

Busch Gardens offers a variety of employment opportunities at its Tampa Bay and Williamsburg locations. Opportunities are available in departments across the park, for example:

  • Culinary

  • Festival Event Food & Beverage

  • Guest Arrivals

  • Park Operations

  • Merchandise 

  • Park Area Ambassadors

  • Tram Drivers

  • Security

2. Campus Recruitment: 

Busch Gardens is always in search of the freshest talent in the market, being actively engaged in recruiting students and recent graduates with the help of intensive contacts with local colleges and universities. Partnership with educational institutions opens a big way for early career professionals to experience the world of theme parks.

Busch Gardens, via campus recruitment, identifies promising candidates and builds relationships with academic institutions. The programs offer students opportunities for entry-level internships and co-op placements that will allow them to apply classroom knowledge in real-life settings as they learn from seasoned professionals within the park.

3. Job Listings:

Two of the greatest places to search for information on available jobs at Busch Gardens are the official pages of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. The job seeker may learn about a great variety of working positions in nearly all departments across the whole park.

Some of the roles offered at Busch Gardens vary from guest services and retail to operations and entertainment, which could be defined in terms of talent, interest, and experience levels. Company roles, therefore, involve both part-time and full-time, and even seasonal positions for those willing to serve for a shorter term. All the necessary offers are available on the official Busch Gardens websites, which post employment opportunities. Everyone interested can look through the offers presented and apply for them online.

4. On-the-Spot Job Offers: 

Busch Gardens conducts on-the-spot job offers daily, providing candidates with immediate opportunities to join the team

Hiring Process

  1. Application: Candidates can apply for positions that are posted on the SeaWorld Entertainment My Workday website. The Workday Recruit SME/Implementation handles the entire application process.
  2. Interviews: Qualified candidates are invited for interviews to assess their fit for the available positions.
  3. Selection: After interviews, committees of staff/interns review applications in detail, considering criteria such as academic transcripts, assessment and therapy experience, letters of recommendation, and professional activities.
  4. Ranking: Candidates are ranked based on their overall scores, and the Psychology Training Committee reaches a final consensus for internship positions.
  5. Offer: Successful candidates receive the offer following the selection process.

For seasonal positions, which make up a significant portion of the park's workforce, Busch Gardens often ramps up its recruitment efforts early in the year to prepare for the peak season starting in spring. This strategic timing ensures that the park is fully staffed by the time visitor numbers increase. The effectiveness of this approach is reflected in the staffing fulfillment rate, which consistently meets and exceeds readiness before peak season each year.

Training and Development

The Work Institute reported that employees who go through structured onboarding programs are 69% more likely to remain with the company for at least three years. Once hired, all Busch Gardens employees complete a comprehensive training program tailored to the position. Safety first is a very high priority because of the kind of attractions the park has. Every employee, from janitor to general manager, goes through training regarding safety. For instance, ride operators are thoroughly oriented to the mechanics of the rides, safety procedures, and emergency routines before they are hired.

Beyond the first training offered to the staff, Busch Gardens continues to invest further in the development of its people. They have an Employee Tuition Reimbursement program, according to which part-time employees can get the benefit of securing a degree at a lower cost. It has been declared that the part-time employee is entitled to 50% of the fees being given as tuition fees for studies. The maximum ceiling of reimbursement fixed is $5000 for a year. At least 180 days of service and working a total of at least 832 hours within the last 12 months are the requirements for an applicant to qualify for tuition reimbursement.

Employee Benefits and Perks

According to the Harvard Business Review, employees who receive reasonable support in their work and personal life—such as flexible scheduling—are three times less likely to leave, which leads to improved retention rates. Busch Gardens recognizes the importance of providing competitive benefits and compensation to its employees to ensure their well-being and job satisfaction. They offer a comprehensive package that includes insurance on health, teeth, vision, life, and all forms of disabilities. Full-time employees have access to retirement plans such as the 401(k) with company-matching contributions, hence showing the company's commitment to the financial security of its employees in the long term. Below are some of the detailed employee benefits:

  • Healthcare benefits: Full-time employees receive multiple coverage levels for medical, dental, and vision plans. Short-term disability, long-term disability, and accident coverages are provided free of charge. Full-time employees receive a free prescription drug program, health care, and dependent care flexible spending.
  • Life insurance: Basic term life insurance at two times the annual salary for full-time employees is provided free. Full-time employees may also purchase additional term life insurance for themselves and their dependents.
  • Employee Assistance Program: Provides free and confidential telephonic counseling for emotional, financial, and legal guidance to the employees and their families. Eight free sessions are offered per person per year.
  • Retirement Savings Plan: Full-time employees may participate in a retirement savings plan with traditional and Roth options, including a company match.

Busch Gardens offers unique perks that are very direct in relation to the nature of their business; such amenities include free access to the park for the employees and their families, very huge discounts on products and food, and free passes for their friends. Below is a list of some of the benefits accorded to employees:

  • Free park admission - Employees receive free admission to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and Williamsburg.
  • Discounts on food and merchandise: Employees obtain discounts on food and merchandise from both parks.
  • Annual Pass Benefits Included: Some of the benefits that come with the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay annual pass include monthly rewards and access to special events like Halloween Harvest and Christmas Town. The benefits of the pass also include the availability of zoological programs and benefits related to the photo key.
  • Free entry to other parks: All full-time employees are privileged with free access to all U.S. parks of SeaWorld, except for Discovery Cove, consisting of a total of 11 parks.
  • Free admission for friends and family: Employees are provided complimentary entrance tickets that include their friends and family, plus complimentary annual passes for the employee and a friend or family for entry to the parks as many times as possible (except for Discovery Cove).
  • Discounts on park tickets and other services: Employees receive discounts on park tickets, food, and merchandise, as well as access to other discounts, including movie tickets, sporting events, concerts, electronics, travel, flowers, and more.
  • Pet Insurance: Busch Gardens also offers its Ambassadors pet insurance for preventive care and significant medical incidents.


Busch Gardens Human Resources ensures that the park has a talented, engaged, and diverse workforce. Strategic recruitment, strong orientation and training, extensive development, efficient performance management, and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion together outline the positive work environment of Busch Gardens for both employees and guests.

The practices, policies, and initiatives at the park ensure employment compliance and provide a safe, inclusive, and rewarding work environment. Continuous improvement in employee engagement, recognition, and career opportunities demonstrates Busch Gardens' commitment to its workforce's growth and well-being.

Belinda Pondayi
This article was written by Belinda a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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