We scored big time.
Several years ago, we had the privilege of first meeting and working with one of the most talented gaming executives in the industry. At the time, Dan Stromer was the long-time GM of Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel in Iowa.
Besides being a successful operator and damn smart, we noticed something else. Dan was the “boss” that everyone wanted to work for. Why? His priority throughout his career has been developing Tribal Members and Team Members for career advancement. We’ve certainly met casino operators that are savvy and smart; Dan certainly is that, but more than that, he is a mindful leader and career mentor and he’s now part of Raving’s executive development team.
Dan’s philosophy is to surround yourself with the right people, empower them to achieve their goals and from that you have a successful casino operation. His know-how came from positions including Table Games Director, Director of Marketing and for the last twenty years a General Manager.
With that knowledge he is positioned to help Raving clients meet their operational and executive development goals.
Another long-time Raving client and friend who we’ve seen her career sky-rocket had the privilege of working with Dan. Currently the Vice President of Marketing for River’s Casino, Shannon Redmond shared,
“I experienced firsthand how Dan develops and grows team members, many of whom had no prior experience in gaming. He was instrumental in the development of their careers spanning every area of the gaming space, from Gaming to Food and Beverage to Operations to General Manager. Dan’s experience and leadership abilities make him a true role model and he lays a foundation from the beginning that motivates and inspires others.”
Through Raving, he prepares new directors and general managers to become successful once they have that opportunity. Through strategic planning and critical thinking, Dan creates training programs to approach the positions with a goal in mind.
Please help us give Dan a big Raving welcome!
In a recent survey done by Raving, the number one challenge for casino operators is finding enough people to fill all the job openings they have.
Casino operators are not the only businesses facing these challenges. With unemployment below 3% in some states, the task seems daunting to say the least.
First of all, if you’re offering a job instead of a career you can start there.
The casino industry is about opportunity. There may not be any other profession where someone can come in at an entry level position and climb the corporate ladder. Whether that means supervisor, manager, director or CEO. As if that can actually happen, I am living proof.
As a business owner, when you are competing for talent, you will be compared by many factors for new team members. Salary, title, benefits, schedule and several other factors. If it’s just for money, your candidates have several options up and down the street where they can get a job. The question is, can they get a career?
Many times I have heard prospective team members say “I don’t know anything about gambling.”
The reality is, there are more jobs in the casino industry that have nothing to do with gambling. When you look at positions in Food & Beverage, Hotel, Housekeeping, Maintenance, IT, and Finance, these would be jobs that would be in almost any other location.
Our job as operators is to paint a picture of a career path for people.
It starts with the very first person they come in contact with. How the person who is handing out the application greets them. How helpful they are at answering questions. Helping to determine the positions they may have interest in, and showing them you are excited about having them join your team.
By describing the opportunities in a particular department and examples of people that have moved up through the ranks, you are helping them set goals.
If you have a career development program in place, great. If not, you will need to. Areas that you will want to highlight include:
- Develop ongoing training for that department for skill development
- Define practical skills
- Define leadership skills
- Provide certification programs to show completion
- Outline requirements that promote and allow advancement
- Highlight the ability to use those skills in a different department
- Celebrate the results
- These are not all of the things you would want as a part of the program but, ultimately, the goal is to develop qualified, skilled individuals and keep them.
That points out what I consider to be the most important factors. The 3 Rs, not the Reading wRiting and aRithmetic 3 Rs. (if anyone even remembers what those were).
The 3 Rs:
These require involvement from your team, including human resources, managers, directors and GM. You have to engage. When you see excellent performance recognize it and communicate it to them. You reward them. It doesn’t have to be monetary. Pat them on the back, write them a note, present them a certificate, take them to lunch. Anything that says, “I am watching and see what you are doing.”
By doing these things, you build trust and make these associates long-term assets to the company. You do this by letting them know that they are valuable. This must be a part of the top to bottom culture of the organization.
If you do not want to be constantly shuffling through applications, wondering how you’re going to fill this weekend’s schedule, there is a way. You have to invest time in your team. Your investment will be rewarded a 100 times over. By letting your crew know that you care about them, want them to be successful, and that you are there and willing to help, will solve a lot of problems.
One side note.
If your hiring process takes six weeks to hire a dishwasher, you have another problem. I’m not suggesting you’re not sensitive to who the individuals are that you’re hiring, and you do need to take proper precautions to keep unwanted individuals from working for you. However, if there are obstacles that are delaying this process, find ways to work with all of the different entities to make this easier. Everyone will benefit from it.
I have always said there’s not a better industry than the casino industry to work in. If you are willing to put in the effort, the opportunities are endless. The industry is only continuing to grow. Furthermore, when you compare salaries, benefits, incentives, perks, and all of the other things that come with this business, there is nothing better. For 27 years, I have been the beneficiary of those opportunities.
Do you need to build a tribal development program at your property? Do you have eager and talented Tribal members that need more training before they take over key positions? Please contact Amy Hergenrother at [email protected] or phone 775-329-7864.