John Inman, training and development manager at Snoqualmie Casino in Washington, has a lofty goal-to put all 1200 employees through EI's Guest Service Gold program and Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) certification, and all the property's leadership through the Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS®) certification. Flexibility, internal communication, and manager buy-in have been the keys to rolling out this massive training push at the property.
"It's a major commitment, and especially in a casino, trying to pull people off the floor for training is difficult," he explained. "In the past, employees would have to take four hours out of a shift to sit in a classroom. I knew that wouldn't work, so I'm working with the department managers and directors to ensure that our training fits in with their needs."
Most employees at the casino are completing their Guest Service Gold Training online, dropping into the human resources office to use the computer during a slow period, or logging on at home.
Some departments, such as the Sno Shoppe gift shop (pictured above), chose to do their staff training in person. And for the restaurant's back-of-the-house staff, Inman brought in two translators so he could administer the training in the employees' native Chinese language. Other managers have offered various locations for training to remove any obstacles for their staff.
"I'm here to serve operations," said Inman. "Training is built around them, not me. I try to meet the needs of the managers, they are my customers." He notes that it helps that the employees and managers all love the training-they want to become certified, they want to earn that recognition.
He cited table games-an area that is usually hard to get into the training process-as a notable success story.
"Linda Smith, our table gaming director, grabbed the program and ran with it. She went through the training herself, then put all of her people through. She and supervisor Chris Cummings made it a priority to provide their people with the supports they need to complete the coursework."
"I like the options that EI offers their clients, especially the online classes," said Smith. "The training has enabled us to go beyond what is normally expected in guest services and offers the skills necessary for our supervisors to succeed. I am personally grateful that we as a company participated in this training. Developing great guest relations generates repeat business-a plus for everyone!"
Inman notes that internal communication has been important to building and keeping momentum. Inman's assistant, Takako Wright, keeps managers informed about how their departments are doing with the training and who needs to complete the program. Weekly reports also highlight those who have earned their certifications. Pins and certificates are hand delivered to each employee.
"This is something they can be proud of, something they can take with them," said Inman. "The enthusiasm has been great."
The property's commitment to training extends to its managers, including Russ Burbank and Charles Spahn, who recently earned the Certified Food and Beverage Executive (CFBE®) designation, and to the property's 80-person security staff, which has begun working toward the Certified Lodging Security Officer (CLSO) designation. Published April, 2013
About the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute’s mission is to continue being the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries by developing and providing quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals worldwide.
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