Raising Employee Engagement While Increasing Patron Loyalty












A large part of a Casino’s business model is focused on patrons needs and experiences, and justifiably so. Without patrons they have no industry, so they should always be top of mind when it comes to motivating and rewarding. While this is certainly a well-advised marketing practice, there is an often overlooked group that needs the same type of motivation: Employees. The International Society of Performance Improvement states that the average employee’s performance increases by 27% when incentive programs are used to persist toward a goal. It is no secret that engaged employees are more productive. According to a study by Gallup, 86% of engaged employees would characterize their interactions with coworkers as always positive.

Most of the tried and true employee rewards programs focus on individual goals and achievement:

  • Service Recognition – Length of service programs reward employees at certain intervals, often 3/5/10 years and up of employment. In this case, simply lasting to the milestone gets you the reward, not necessarily what you achieved in the process. And when the perceived value of the reward doesn’t live up to the expectations, it can have a negative impact on overall employee satisfaction.
  • Employee of the Month/Quarter/Year – Often tied in with the success of a short-term project or event, this recognition once again focuses on individual achievement.

When your employees feel appreciated and are recognized for their achievements in ways they personally value, they’re more likely to take ownership of companywide goals. According to a study conducted by the Human Capital Institute, only 11% of today’s workforce demonstrates a very strong commitment to their organization. Meaningful recognition can go a long way towards motivating employees and establishing a company culture where daily performance matters. This in turn will:

  • Increase productivity
  • Build morale
  • Improve customer service
  • Create stronger work teams
  • Improve the employee and employer connection
  • Enhance the bottom line
  • Boost employee communications and engagement


“Looks good in theory, so how do we do it in practice?”

Peer-to-Peer Recognition Programs

An increasingly popular employee engagement practice is the implementation of peer-based recognition programs. These can come in many forms, but in one scenario, employees are given point-based vouchers, or some other delivery mechanism, that they can only award to fellow employees. The reasons for awarding can range widely, and include:

  • Great Idea/Suggestion
  • Mentoring
  • Problem Solving
  • Workload Assistance
  • Positive Attitude
  • Giving Extra Effort

And while management may not instinctively think to encourage the awarding of employees for nonwork related overtures, it does foster an environment where employees look out for each other, work as a team, and ultimately adds to morale. In the All Star peer-to-peer program, we capture an “other” category for which “Thank You” points have been rewarded for sewing a button for someone in a pinch, or giving up a closer parking spot to the building entrance to an employee nursing a leg injury. In a typical peer-to-peer model, a manager would get a summary report showing who received points and from which person

or department they got them, as well as why they were awarded. These points are redeemed by employees for tangible rewards (we’ve discussed these versus cash in previous writings; suffice it to say that they have a longer lasting “trophy” value than cash awards) via a catalog or web redemption methodology.

As we all know, casinos can be a place of tension and high anxiety moments that can challenge the frontline employees. When under duress, it would be comforting to know that your employees will do whatever they can to rise to a challenge or resolve an issue, together, rather than pointing the finger or avoiding the issue. Peer-to-peer incentive programs might just be the answer to get them high-fiving or fist-bumping their way to success!



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