By Guest Author: Marcus Diaz, Director of Organizational Development, Casino Del Sol
Many COVID-19 articles and postings discuss high-level operational measures taken to open places of business. I thought it would be interesting to share some of the measures we took to educate, empower and inform our team members from an internal organizational development perspective. From the offset, we knew the landscape of training would need to change. The COVID-19 pandemic propelled the notion of taking training on-line and also heightened the need for distance learning greatly. At Casino Del Sol we were three years into our five-year technical training strategy which was positioned to introduce more on-line training content to our team members in a gradual, phased approach. The COVID-19 pandemic sped that timeline up exponentially. We knew we wanted to educate our team members as much as possible on this pandemic for both our team members as well as our guest’s safety. As a result, we as an Organizational Development Department, were challenged with creating turnkey training modules which would provide comprehensive knowledge of the pandemic and safety precautions to our team members. As a result, we developed the following learning objectives:
- Develop a thorough understanding of what COVID-19 is and how Casino Del Sol team members can take precautions to prevent “the spread”.
- Learn how to successfully use personal protective equipment to ensure team member and guest safety alike.
- Understand proactive measures Casino Del Sol has taken to maximize team member and guest safety in relation to COVID-19.
- Understand Casino Del Sol’s expectations in relation to COVID-19 and what team members need to know upon returning back to work.
- Understand how to successfully deliver Casino Del Sol’s guest service standards under adapted working conditions.
- Identify post-training next steps.
- Locate additional resources in relation to COVID-19.
After the first COVID-19 course was designed, built and approved we then developed a Spanish version for our population.
The distance challenge. Given the fact that most team members were under stay-at-home orders and not physically on the property, our Organizational Development Department launched a mobile app platform for team members to take learning anywhere on their mobile devices or tablets. This proved to be a very convenient and efficient way of streamlining both learning and communication. Team members were also able to see safety modifications and alterations to the property before they stepped foot back on the property via the e-learning program.
One key component to a business is guest (customer) service. COVID-19 has definitely altered the perception of a friendly smile or a pleasant facial expression. All Casino Del Sol team members as well as guests are required to wear protective masks, as a result, we had to recalibrate our service strategy and guest service standards to accommodate this ‘new normal’. We implemented a service standard which incorporates “Delivering service behind a mask”. This content was developed and shared as an additional section to the COVID-19 training.
We also added an electronic feedback mechanism to the course where team members had the option to leave their feedback on not only the training, but any feelings, comments, thoughts or concerns regarding the eventual return to work. This feedback was invaluable as it allowed us to understand the collective mindset of our team members real-time. We were also able to share the overall feedback with management, via a word cloud, so management had a glimpse of our team member’s mindset.
In addition, we rapidly developed a training module which supports a new standard of taking team member and guest temperatures at entrances. Casino Del Sol’s Organizational Development Department partnered with internal Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to develop a new course which offers information on safety and best practices on temperature taking at key entrances. The content was then developed into an e-learning format and launched to the specific target audience.
What we learned. We learned, particularly from team member post-training comments, they were very thankful for the information. There were also understandable feelings of fear and apprehension to which our management team reacted very quickly and held team member Q&A sessions per department. These sessions allowed management and team members to openly communicate with individual departments to share frequently asked questions, process and to openly share concerns, thoughts and ideas. Based on the post-training comments, team members felt very informed on COVID-19 and prevention awareness, ppe., how to slow the spread and the steps they can personally take to take to ensure safety. The benefit of deploying this type of learning initiative includes: all team members receive consistent information, compliance is monitored via advanced reporting capabilities making it easier for department management to ensure completion and the ability to collect team member feedback and sentiment is always beneficial, especially in current times.
Intangible results. What we cannot truly measure are the ripple effects from this training. We had several comments indicating our team members gained new knowledge especially in regards to awareness. Several team members also stated they were going to share information they learned with their families and friends to keep them safe as well.
This was a true team effort. I would personally like to thank Dawn Ludwikoski, our content development expert, Annacelia Madrid our content developer and translator and the Casino Del Sol Organizational Development team for working diligently to launch this training initiative.