An Open Letter to Management

Five ways to better support your team members

Dear Bosses,

We, your dedicated team members, feel it is far past time for us to share with you some of the ways that we feel let down and unsupported. This letter goes out to everyone in a management position: C-suite, directors, frontline managers/supervisors, etc. We strive to do our best, but there are some very specific things that keep us from doing our best. Then we get blamed when things don’t go well, or revenue projections aren’t met, and when there are layoffs, many times we are the first to go. Please take a few minutes to consider our suggestions.

1. Training

There is little to no consistency in our training. We often get the initial onboarding through HR when we first start, but beyond that, there really isn’t anything that is providing consistent development. When we first start, we are either “given our keys” and sent on our way or partnered briefly with whoever is on duty. There are obvious issues with no training at all, but when you put us with just anyone else who is on the schedule that day, we don’t get trained well. Sometimes you are pairing us with an unhappy team member and all we hear is negative things about the company, other team members, and guests.

It is vital to have a position-specific trainer who not only knows the job well, but also has the attitude necessary to really get us on the right path from the beginning! That person should be our first mentor as a new hire. This is also important when we get promoted because proper training is essential for the big jump between frontline and management. There is a huge shift that is required when we begin to manage the same people who we once worked with just a day ago. Give us the tools that we need to be effective in our new position. Don’t just show us how to fill out paperwork.

So, bottom line? Stop making us figure things out on our own! Consistent training is essential. It never should be “one and done.” Remember, we all learn differently, so a bit of patience and consistency goes a long way!

2. Talk (and listen) to us!

Many times, the only time you talk with us is when we are in trouble. Do you really know any of us? By developing relationships with us, you will find out what motivates us, what is troubling us, what we want from our job and, yes, even better processes that can help us do our job better.

We are the front line! Many times, promotions, policies, and procedures are determined without any consideration for how they affect operations on the floor. Some ideas look good on paper, but really make our job more difficult. This affects our guests’ experiences! Trust us, when you disrespect us, aren’t talking or listening to us, our guests hear about it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know we aren’t supposed to do that, but when we aren’t being heard by you and are frustrated, we will find another place to express ourselves. When we feel like we are seen, heard, know we matter, and are appreciated and respected, then we will also share that with our guests. So, which would you rather have happen? Yeah, we want that too!

Here are some suggestions:

  • Stop communicating through memos! Get face to face with us. Do quick pre-shift meetings, get out of your office, walk the floor and catch up with us, take us to lunch/coffee … you get the idea!
  • Stop the “never good enough” talk! We know that we will never be perfect, and we should always strive to be better, but acknowledge us when we do well, reward us when we do a good job … catch us when we do something good! Then help us to know what changes are needed moving forward and …
  • Give us precise, defined, clear goals and touch base with us often so that we know where we are. Don’t just wait for the yearly evaluations. We need more interaction, and it will help us stay focused on our goals. Ask how you can help or if we have any questions so we can do our best.
  • You know that guest service program you keep talking to us about? Well, those tactics should not only be used or talked about for our external guests, but for us as well! When we are taken care of, then we take care of our guests!
  • We aren’t mind readers and, full disclosure, we don’t always read memos (we know, shame on us!). So, tell us directly when there are changes, new policies, procedures, promotions, etc., and give us an opportunity to ask questions to we feel empowered to implement things correctly.

3. Walk the walk; Talk the talk!

We ARE watching you. Your mannerisms are giving us signals. When we are busy, it is HUGE when we see you on the floor pitching in to help us! If there is a long line at the players club and there is an open terminal, help us get the line down. Are there empty tables that need to be cleaned? Help us out! If you aren’t sure what you can do to help, ask! It doesn’t matter what department you are in, either! WE are a team!

Help us learn to be proactive. Sometimes we get so busy just living through the current “brush fire,” we don’t see where we are causing ourselves additional work. Show us some shortcuts! Stop the “do as I say, not as I do.” It makes no difference what your title is … your actions are far more telling than your words.

4. We are human

Most importantly, remember that we are people in your charge/care! People are complicated and, most importantly, human. We will make mistakes (so will you). Help us learn to own our mistakes by owning yours. This will help build trust. Put your ego aside. We learn best when we make mistakes, so show us that we won’t get our heads bit off when we stumble. Coach us!

5. Give us a safe space

We will have problems that have nothing to do with work, but these problems will affect our work. That old saying of “leave your problems at home” is not realistic or heathy. We spend more time at work than we do with our families. When we are working for an organization where we know we matter and can trust our management to be LEADERS instead of managers, we will rise to the occasion.

Thank you for your attention to these suggestions. Remember that we are people, not numbers or revenue. When we feel supported, encouraged, protected, appreciated, and heard, we will do our best to make you proud.

Janet Hawk is the President of Player Development and Guest Experience for Raving Consulting. With her rich experience, she provides Raving clients with continued support and training in the practical skills of marketing, promotions, special events, entertainment, hotel, table games and player development. Contact Raving to learn more about training and development solutions for your property.

Janet Hawk 23 Articles