Employee Turnover: Workers Should Think Before They Walk
by Martin R. Baird

Employee Turnover: Workers Should Think Before They Walk
By Martin R. Baird

Employee turnover is a serious problem in the gaming industry with some casinos struggling with as much as an 80 percent turnover rate. That’s what executives tell me, anyway. And it’s well documented that it costs casinos thousands of dollars to hire each replacement.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s another catalyst for employee departures that’s looming, and I believe it’s time people start thinking before they walk. Merger mania is roiling the casino market. With that could come a new kind of turnover as big gaming companies blend operations. I’m not talking about layoffs. I’m talking about employees who panic and have a knee-jerk reaction. They don’t like the acquiring company or have heard rumors about it.
What do they do? They take Nancy Sinatra’s hit record, “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” to heart and start planning to leave. They can’t wait to get out the door. This will result in disruption of their personal lives, perhaps even of their professional lives. It gives middle managers headaches galore and it certainly isn’t good for the casino and its customers.
Before they depart, casino employees should ask themselves the following questions.
Why am I thinking of switching to a different casino? Think beyond the immediate concerns of a merger. Set aside your fears. If a merger was not pending, would you even be contemplating this move? If not, then I suspect you have a long list of good reasons to stay. Write them down and give them a hard study. Do the positive aspects of what you like about your job outweigh the perceived negatives of new ownership? Remember that the positives are real and the negatives are an assumption.
What will the other property offer me? You now have a list of the wonderful things your current job provides. So what does XYZ Casino offer that you don’t already have? I don’t care what industry you work in, it doesn’t make sense to jump ship to a competitor if you don’t know for sure you will be better off. XYZ Casino may come with just as many unknowns as the new ownership of the casino where you work now.
Will it be worth it to give up my perks? If you’ve worked at your current property for some time, you will have to make sacrifices to leave. You must walk away from your seniority. You must walk away from your benefits. Say goodbye to whatever perks you have. Is this the best thing for you?
Will the new job be a better “fit” for me? I guess what I’m saying here is that money isn’t everything. Even perks aren’t everything. There’s a lot to say for being happy with one’s job. So will a new job at another casino be just as good a fit? My hunch is that many people don’t like their jobs. Is it a good decision to turn your back on work you enjoy simply because you are afraid of the unknown?
Will the new casino work well with my personality? Let’s say the other casino has openings very comparable to the work you do now. In other words, you could get pretty much the same job at the other property. That shouldn’t be difficult to figure out. But what about the work environment? The culture at every casino is a little different. Is the new casino a good fit for your personality and style of working?
Just because a casino has new owners or new management doesn’t automatically make it time to put those walking boots on. Turn off that Nancy Sinatra CD and get real. Don’t believe all the rumors on the street. Without having specifics in hand, you don’t know what changes may – or may not – come your way. How about giving new owners six to 12 months to see how everything works out? After all, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Here’s another way of looking at it. If you love your job, if you are an advocate for your casino, the last thing you would want to do is cause harm by making the property’s employee turnover problem just that much worse.

This article first appeared in Casino Connection

Date Posted: 18-Oct-2007

Martin R. Baird is author of “Advocate Index™: An Operational Tool” and chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, Inc., a global customer service consulting firm for the gaming industry. Robinson & Associates helps casinos worldwide 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 480-991-6420 or by e-mail at mbaird@casinocustomerservice.com. Based in Annapolis, Maryland, Robinson & Associates is a member of the Casino Management Association and an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association.

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