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Stop Training! Start Educating Employees

Stop Training! Start Educating Employees

Robert Ambrose Part 1

A community of employees working within an educated team environment. Building the Team. Robert Ambrose

Within the model of today’s hospitality industry there is a variety of property amenities that are a collective part of the presentation. Separately they each offer an experience and a unique set of operational challenges; whether it is dining, entertainment, retail, lodging or gaming. Collectively they come together as one brand for the customer as the total property experience.

Within the property experience fusing this brand identity together are teams of employees.

These employees are educated to operate on the same company message of excellence as they approach the customer from separate hospitality disciplines.

Presenting consistence excellence is not easy. But if successful, a truly great guest experience can be created.

Hospitality is an industry built on people, with principals and guidelines for both customers and employees rooted deeply not only in the liberal arts but also a business formula consisting of operational balance, fundamental business applications and strategic marketing initiatives.

Team Building Those Employees:

In team building a consistent educational philosophy of empowerment should be presented to employees. This will set the tone for a great work environment and educate the employees about the company culture. It is not just about “training” these standards, but rather defining them as an educational culture and how it relates and impacts the company bottom line.

I use the term education instead of training; because in educating employees, they receive a learning experience for extended long term growth. They are shown the cause and the impact of their action or inaction.

Simply training them will provide skill sets to accomplish short-term goals; many of which are soon forgotten. Educating the employees as to what is behind the scripted message is the learning philosophy.

A successfully learned hospitality culture will transcend as energy from the employees framing the beginning for a positive guest experience.


Executive Role & TEAM Building

Robert Ambrose, Part 2

Leaders must be active participants in team building by managing people, and placing Employees in positions where they are most challenged. Team building relies on a mix of educated talented leaders that coach and lead diverse, multi-generational and multi-cultural groups of employees reflecting the department and property brand.

Team building requires a special mix of management talent. A commitment by property leaders is a must to support on-going educational programs that encourage development and keep all employees at a consistent level of knowledge.

Through “consistent” employee education programs defining guest service and employee empowerment, you can build a team that is truly reflective and compliments the property brand. Executives are key team members and play an active role in providing leadership and guidance through this educational process. They must strive for personal best leadership practices.

And for company leaders, their personal on-going education is paramount for staying ahead of that curve through industry seminars, trade shows and industry publications. Complacency or resting on a job well done is not an option!

What is property leadership?

The property leadership is composed of a group of professionals that collectively present a unique diverse metric of experience. They are talented professionals that have learned and grown from their previous employment roles bringing their experiences to the staff through their “Best-Practice” concepts. The open minded leader(s) see the 360 degree property landscape not as a single silo view and will empower their employees and great things will happen.


Here is how the former CEO of Chrysler Corporation Lee Iacocca summed it up in his book, Where Have All the Leaders Gone? (2007)

“Here’s the thing I learned as a CEO. You succeed or fail, based on your team.”

A strong team concept supports the brand. Through this analysis we view the property as an honest presentation of a consistent hospitality presentation. There must be a commitment presented by professionals that “get-it,” when it comes to meeting guest expectations. It is about a presentation where the service bar of a great hospitality experience should constantly be raised.

They understand that you can bring a customer to the door, but it’s what you do when they are there that will keep them coming back.

Hospitality team building is about constructing a strong motivated employee base through a culture that stands for honest open discussion. The guest service buy-in continues with all employees through continued communication and on-going educational applications, which reinforces the company service culture. An educated company employee having been empowered by the company may be the very same employee (s) that stays with the company for a longer employment period.

Studies have shown that employees will remain with their company longer when the company is more likely to offer empowering educational opportunities.

Investing in Employees

Understandably with the current hard pressed economy, double digit tax rates in several gaming jurisdictions as well as other financial considerations; this sometimes leaves little for the employees beyond salary and medical benefits. But creative initiatives can produce several employee perks that may not always equal a large investment from the company going forward, they cost little to nothing, including recognition, rewards and educational training options.

In some states, there is grant funding available for in-house educational programs. You’re Human Resource Department can also check with local colleges. They too can offer assistance, guidance and even a partnership to employers to drive some of these educational initiatives.

A great employee of casino/hospitality operations is always a Student of the industry and the property that employs them. They should be continually learning and adapting to new casino games, events, upgraded technology and are aware of all marketing programs. Competent, trained and educated employees must be at the core of any operation. The technological tools designed for the industry, combined with a consistent, company supported guest educational/training program (s,) provides for an enhanced guest service experience.

• Employees in casino/hospitality operations face new challenges daily. As part of a very organized infrastructure the employees rely on the operations of several departments that are the support infrastructure. The employee(s) works within the parameters of government regulations, company internal controls and customer circumstances that can strain and test the skill sets of the best trained employee.

• The Customer is the final word as to whether the casino operation has delivered on their promise. That promise often viewed within the headings of a company’s core values, or motto. Did the customer have the experience they expected and was it positive enough for them to return?

Can we do better Next Time?

Robert Ambrose    Instructor Gaming & Hospitality Center for Hospitality & Sport Management Drexel University

The Dennis Gomes Memorial Casino Training Lab

Rja73@drexel.edu Twitter@bobambrose