Fernando Contreras, Vice President of Organizational Development at Station Casinos, explains how Workplace is connecting people and properties, and helping deliver an excellent brand experience.
Founded in 1976, Station Casinos runs luxury hotels with world class art by the likes of Andy Warhol, Basquiat and Damien Hirst. They also run award-winning restaurants, Forbes 4-star spas, concert venues, nightclubs, local pubs and neighborhood venues, such as bowling alleys.
Behind the scenes, 13,500 people support this 24/7 operation. From butlers, to celebrity chefs, to housekeeping staff, their workforce is incredibly diverse.
“Before I joined Station Casinos, I thought I'd seen businesses that are complex. I don't think there's any more complex a business than this one,” Fernando shares.
From costly company-wide meetings to Workplace
With a workforce of 13,500 employees, communication was difficult on many levels. The company email server had very limited storage, which put restrictions on file sharing. What's more, only 10% of the Station Casinos workforce had access to email.
“In the past, we've struggled with major communication issues, like most Vegas gaming companies do,” says Fernando. He goes on to explain that the 10% of staff who do have access to email don't actually rely on it for communication. “The majority of communication is done through meetings, team huddles and back of house signage. The city of employees that exists behind the scenes really relies on physical assets to communicate. As you can imagine, in the pace of our business, that's extremely challenging, slow, and not always reliable.”
Celebrating an employee milestone at Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa
Even disseminating simple corporate communications was a massive undertaking. If there was an important company update for all staff, the company would bring all team members into one of their venue’s big ballrooms to hear the news in person. As there are so many staff working 24/7, they would have to schedule five or six different meetings in the ballroom at each property to suit staff who work morning shifts, evening shifts, and the graveyard shift. This would also mean having to allocate compensation to hourly workers for their attendance. All in all, the process of disseminating simple company-wide information could sometimes end up costing quite a bit of money.
Station Casinos was ready for an intuitive, best-in-class IT solution. In February 2018, they implemented phase one of Workplace to all emailed-based, salaried employees.
Fernando explains that they started by rolling it out to salaried property leaders, as well as staff in the corporate office. The purpose of this was to give the Station Casinos leadership team a clear indication of where the organizational challenges were on the frontline. “Doing this helped us empower property managers to share with each other, so they could develop a unified voice on how they communicate with their teams of hourly workers,” Fernando explains.
In less than a year, here's how teams at Station Casinos are working better together with Workplace.
Bridging the gap between the corporate office and frontline workers
In the hotel industry, one of the most beloved traditions is Housekeeping Week. Every year, hotels all around the world celebrate Housekeeping Week for one week in September to show some love to the housekeeping staff who work tirelessly all year round.
“It's great for all of corporate to be aware of it now [Housekeeping Week] and show their support through Workplace.”
Last year with Workplace, Station Casinos' hotels shared the fun and games of Housekeeping Week with the rest of the company via pictures and Live Video.
Sharing Housekeeping Week celebrations in a company-wide group
There were some staff who had worked in the corporate office for years and had no idea what Housekeeping Week was. They were introduced to it for the first time with Workplace. “This is a massive recognition initiative that the company invests a lot of time and money into, and it's great for all of corporate to be aware of it now and show their support through Workplace,” Fernando shares.
Building learning communities
With no Learning Management System, Station Casinos didn't have the right tools to support deep and scalable staff learning. One of the projects that Fernando is invested in is using Workplace to build learning communities. Since Workplace was rolled out at the beginning of the year, they have launched several leadership development pilot programs with the Game Slot and HR divisions, as well as a company-wide learning pilot program driven on Workplace.
“Workplace is allowing us to build communities of learning, so we can drive deeper discussion and support each other through formal learning programs.”
Participants in leadership development programs are invited to a private Workplace group where classroom-style discussion takes place. “Workplace is allowing us to build communities of learning, so we can drive deeper discussion and support each other through formal learning programs. These Workplace communities also provide a support community well beyond the formal program.,” Fernando shares.
“Now that we can actually build learning paths, we will better structure career pathing. And with better career pathing, we can start to build these talent pools for key leadership positions that we really need.”
As an added benefit, nurturing and upskilling employees allows Fernando to improve their talent pool on the home front. “I have to build out succession planning and build strengths for key leadership positions in the business. Now that we can actually build learning paths, we will better structure career pathing. And with better career pathing, we can start to build these talent pools for key leadership positions that we really need.”
Bringing more delightful moments to work
Executive chefs in hotel restaurants concoct incredible works of art on a plate and share them on Workplace for everyone to see. The events management team shares sneak peeks of famous artists performing live in concert venues. Workplace has allowed people to share and delight in these moments at work, which has boosted employee engagement and morale.
The pastry team shares one of their incredible creations
“People actually enjoy using Workplace. It's allowed people to open up and be who they really are, rather than being one way publicly and another way internally.”
Of the Workplace effect, Fernando shares, “I think Workplace has brought about this moment of awakening, where people are realizing, 'Oh my God, there is so much happening across all of our properties'. It wasn't that people weren't hungry for that information before, it's that email wasn't the place for it. People were missing 99% of the information and stories happening in the company. Now everyone can enjoy those moments together.”
Workplace has allowed Station Casinos' culture to flourish, and management to make employee learning and engagement a top priority. As well as empowering their people with the right tools, Station Casinos has experienced some of the fantastic things that happen when people come together at work.