Just Say No to Boring Casino Employee Training!
By Martin R. Baird
We’ve all heard about the “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign. I want to start a campaign and apply the same slogan to casino employee training. Just say no to boring training!
This is important because quality employee training is critical to rolling out internal improvements that lead to better casino performance.
We do training programs across the country and I’m always shocked at the number of people who tell me our program isn’t boring. I’m appalled to learn that casinos are doing training that’s so mind numbing. You are in the excitement and entertainment business and if your training isn’t exciting and entertaining, what message are you sending to your people? You might as well plaster signs all over the training room that say gaming is a dull business.
In this industry, training should be glitz and glamour, fun and excitement because that’s what you sell to the public every day. Your training should mirror the experience that you want your employees to pass along to your guests.
Training needs to be participant centered. That means the program should be about the participants, not the trainer or the training department. It should focus on the people who are there to learn new skills. People learn by doing. Great training uses activities and exercises to keep the participants interested and active.
The program should be timed and choreographed so that there is a change or new activity every seven or eight minutes. You want the people in the training session to learn and that’s hard to do when they’re so bored they’re counting the holes in the ceiling tiles.
Develop a series of games or activities that encourages or requires the participants to say and do the new behavior. Take a current trend and blend it into the training. If “Survivor” is the current hit on TV, use that reality-based show as a theme for a portion of the session. Most people know the premise behind the show and they will be interested. Lately, when someone answered a question incorrectly, I’ve heard participants say, “You are the weakest link! Goodbye!” Use the excitement these shows have generated as a way to add spice to your training experience. This technique keeps your training fresh and new.
I recommend that casinos hire training companies and in-house staff trainers the same way they hire an act to entertain their customers. Have open auditions. Good facilitators can take a roomful of people through a variety of exercises and emotions that foster learning. They don’t need to be the next Jerry Seinfeld, but they must be able to work a room. A good facilitator can “touch” people at different levels so they want to be involved.
So please, before you schedule your next round of training, make sure it’s fun and interesting. If it’s boring, you’re wasting your time and money and losing credibility with your employees. If you value them and the talent they bring to their jobs, give them the opportunity to learn something new, something that they can use to improve your property.
Just say no to boring training that won’t do you or the attendees any good.
Martin R. Baird is author of “Advocate Index™: An Operational Tool” and chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, Inc., a customer service consulting firm for the gaming industry. Robinson & Associates helps casinos determine their Advocate Index, a number that indicates the extent to which properties have guests who are willing to be advocates, and then implements its Advocate Development System to help casinos create more guest advocates. The Advocate Development System uses the proven methodology of Advocate Index in combination with best business practices to chart a course for growth and profitability. More information about the Advocate Development System and Robinson and Associates is available at the company’s Web sites at www.advocatedevelopmentsystem.com and www.casinocustomerservice.com. A copy of “Advocate Index: An Operational Tool” may be obtained by calling 206-774-8856. Robinson & Associates may be reached by phone at 206-774-8856 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Based in Annapolis, Maryland, Robinson & Associates is a member of the Casino Management Association and an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association.