Steve Browne

How you onboard your “lumpys” will determine their value down the road

Yup, you know who they are: those brand new, rookie employees, babes in wonderland …

What we in the past in this gaming business used to call “lumpys.”

Not only did we call them lumpys, or lumps, but we put them through the rite of passage that we were sure would make them better employees … at least those who survived.

But what a difference a few years makes. In the new gaming world, new employees are to be cherished, welcomed with open arms, and made to feel wonderful for their choice of a gaming career, or even, the choice of accepting employment at OUR company … at OUR property.

So what do you do to welcome these new “future stars?”

Bore them with Title 31 training? Hours of safety and proper handwashing technique? Show them where the time clock is and then set them loose to hopefully learn their new jobs the “right way?”

Well, here’s a thought.

How about thinking of them the same way you do a BRAND NEW CUSTOMER? Welcome them. And from the very first encounter try to create an experience for them that will lead to employee (customer?) loyalty, engagement, and devotion.

To that end, I was reading Greg Smith’s wonderful newsletter, The Navigator, in which he offers ten ideas for how to welcome new employees. Following are his ten suggestions along with my comments customized to our gaming industry:

  1. Think Coffee – How about taking them down to the EDR or one of your retail coffee shops to sit, have some java, and just jaw for awhile. What a great way to break the ice.
  2. Welcome Email – How about a broadcast email to the troops welcoming the new employee along with contact info (and teach them to respond with words of welcome). Even better, send it out and include the new hire BEFORE they show up to work to create some anticipation.
  3. In-Person Intros – First person introductions go a long way towards creating a culture of respect and trust. I remember when I was junior pit boss at Del Webb working in the pits. A new vice president of gaming was just coming on board, and the games manager took him around to personally introduce him to the staff at their work area. I was impressed, and indeed he became one of the more admired of my mentors in this business.
  4. Socialize – Hold an event to welcome the new employee. Perhaps combine it with a weekly or monthly staff get together and include some social aspects (drinks, food, etc.). After all, we sell events just like that to our best players.
  5. Tour the Facility – Make sure they get a tour of the property as part of their very first day. Make it personal and show some excitement. Include areas that you wouldn’t otherwise think of, like the high-roller suites, gourmet restaurants (samples anyone?) and spa areas.
  6. Business Cards – If appropriate, have their business cards already made up and waiting for them. Or, if the hire is high enough up in the food chain, send them out ahead of time, before they report for their first day.
  7. Business Update – Where are we at? Is business good? Are we making budget? Are their projects in progress you could review and cover? These will get the newbie bought-in right away to the concept of “team,” even if the review you give covers business operations outside their immediate sphere of work.
  8. Clear Expectations – Prepare a list of initial expectations you have for them, possibly their training schedule printed up neatly and/or your expectations for how long it will take them to come up to speed in certain areas. Let them know what’s expected right off the bat.
  9. Daily, Weekly, Monthly Goals – Along with the previous, this could be a list of short and long-term goals. Let them know that this is a goal-oriented workplace and establish a culture focused on performance and results rather than busy-work and goofing off.
  10. Recap Meeting – How about a graduation meeting or celebration where you recap the new hire’s on-boarding process, held sometime within a month of their starting work?
  11. I know, I know, sounds like a lot of work, huh?

But you get what you pay for, and if you are not willing to invest in your new hires, you will not get the kind of results you want from your team.

Not only does every one of the above-listed items make a new person feel valued, wanted, respected, and in some cases even delighted with their reception, but it also makes them feel part of a team and a piece of something that’s bigger than just themselves.

And that is the beginning of loyalty, loyalty to the team, loyalty to the company … oh yeah, and loyalty to YOU, their leader.

PS – If you want to check out Greg’s newsletter you can catch it at It’s a great read and has a lot of good info on the Human Resources side of business, especially developing, promoting, and retaining top employees.

Steve Browne