By Anastasia Falconio
March 19, 2009
In 2008, Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel was named an elite winner in the Employee Engagement and Commitment category of the 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in Chicago. This award is measured by the “extent to which employees are meaningfully and personally connected to their work and their organization.” So how does a company that employs approximately 1,100 employees win such a prestigious award?
First and foremost, we recognize that our employees are critical to our success. We developed an Employee Engagement Strategy that focuses on creating an environment where employees feel a shared sense of loyalty, purpose, and pride. The guiding principles of our engagement strategy are three short phrases: “Get Me,” “Guide Me,” and “Root For Me.”
Although it sounds simple, these three phrases hold a lot of meaning. We work in an ever-changing, busy, and extremely competitive industry. While keeping an eye on the bottom line is important, it is vital that we remember to learn from each other, no matter what role we play. You know how great it feels when someone takes the time to listen and understand you - so we make sure that we take the time to pay that feeling forward to the people in our work group.
This phrase refers to learning about what is important to your employees. Take the time to know them…their aspirations, how they work best, how they learn, what inspires them, how to motivate them. Respect and understand their strengths and opportunities, yet be aware of their challenges.
Show your employees what success looks like by providing them the coaching, tools and resources they need to succeed. Make their path clear, so that they may maneuver around all obstacles that come their way.
“Root For Me”
When they succeed, show your employees that you are proud by bringing them to the attention of others. Challenge them to be better than they ever thought they could and push them to step outside their box. Create an environment where they can succeed and commit yourself to their development. Most of all, be their BIGGEST fan!
We have taken these guiding principles and have developed a new program to enhance employee engagement. This new program, entitled “Everyone Plays A Part”, engages employees by asking them to tell us what role they play in their group/department. This engages the employees by encouraging them to think about how others see them in their role and how they see themselves. The employees can then chose a nickname for themselves which symbolize the employees’ work ethic or customer service skills. For example, a chef could choose “The Palate Pleaser.”
This program helps highlight the contributions that our employees make each day and is key in helping elevate Harrah’s Joliet into something truly exceptional. These programs contribute to our success in achieving the goals for our engagement strategy which are to:
-¢ Deepen the relationship between Harrah’s and each employee by providing more than a place to work.
-¢ Create an environment where people feel they are somehow better because of their association with Harrah’s.
-¢ Build a competitive advantage and deliver excellent results as Harrah’s people entertain their best.
Receiving the award for the “Best and Brightest in Employee Engagement and Commitment” last year was a great step for us. We are very optimistic that if we continue to utilize our engagement strategy, we will have another great year.
Anastasia Falconio is Vice President of Human Resources for Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel. She can be reached at [email protected].