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The casino utilizes a coaching mentality to empower employees.
Employees come first to guarantee great worker and guest experiences.The majority of casinos you find on the Las Vegas strip are not necessarily what you would call family-friendly. While parents and other adults may enjoy what Sin City has to offer, many times a vacation to the strip leaves families wanting for some more wholesome fun.
You’ll find this and so much more at Win-River Resort and Casino, between Redding and Anderson in Northern California. The casino and newly renovated resort offer a number of amenities to keep its guests of all ages excited and entertained during their stay.
“Our employees know people’s names, their families, their likes and dislikes,” said Gary Hayward, General Manager. “That’s the difference when you come to Win-River—you feel like part of our family. We don’t want anything for our guests but for them to enjoy their time with us.”
But Hayward and other leaders’ approach to this culture and atmosphere within the resort and casino may surprise you. Instead of the leadership team putting the customers first, you see, Win-River takes a different path to excellence.
Coaching vs. a Management Mentality
Of course, this doesn’t mean customers and customer service gets neglected. In order to provide the best service possible, Win-River focuses its efforts on its employee base, who then extend the culture, great service, and family-friendly attitude to the resort and casino’s guests.
“We treat each individual that works for us as an expert at what they do, and we communicate that to them consistently,” said Hayward.
“They are on the front line, they are the ones who often have to make the tough calls. We expect them to be the leaders in their field. We believe in them, and that reverberates throughout the whole company and makes our employees feel more confident in their abilities.”
Instead of having human resources, Win-River has a team member relations department. The casino’s leadership says the reason for this is simple: to them, employees aren’t just a resource.
“People want nothing more than to be acknowledged, recognized, and encouraged. Team member relations allows us to take care of these basic employee needs.”
This department, in tandem with Win-River’s leadership, perpetuates a coaching mentality throughout the organization. Instead of leaders managing those below them, Win-River’s leaders instead focus on coaching their team members to success.
Taking a page (or two) from The Arbinger’s Institute’s many books, Win-River rolled out its coaching approach at the top. From the director level down, this strategy has now spread through the ranks to the front-line employees.
There are several benefits to this approach. Win-River believes that by empowering its employees to own their processes, the work is more rewarding. Hayward shared that the coaching mentality has brought out the best in his employees, allowing each individual to focus on what he or she can do better going forward.
One of the most transparent areas of improvement under this new approach is how employees at Win-River problem solve and learn from their mistakes.
“Sometimes when we don’t make the best decision, we feel like we have to justify why we made that choice,” Hayward said. “We know people will make mistakes. It may sound strange, but we don’t care if an employee messes up: we care if he or she learns from the mistake. We support instead of penalize.
“Each individual has unique qualities they bring to the table. We want our employees to be themselves in their job and bring their unique talents to the table. The reason we’re as successful as we are is because we allow our employees to bring their unique talents together for the benefit of everyone.”
On many occasions, this coaching mentality applauds collaboration, and has led to team members solving their issues without the need of interference from higher up.
Instead of being afraid of offending someone and hurting another employee’s feeling or ego, this approach has brought the silos crashing down and has promoted better communication.
“Today if an employee sees something that isn’t quite right, they sit down with the other person and work it out. “It took a lot of trust from our team, and belief that this could work. But today I rarely have to get involved with changes now—the departments and divisions are doing it on their own.”
Retention in GamingWin-River’s coaching strategy is for the benefit of the organization’s entire workforce, but it has a much bigger purpose: retaining quality employees.
Gaming has, as Hayward puts it, “a terrible retention rate nationwide.” So how does Win-River combat this sobering fact?
The foundation of Win-River’s retention strategy is the company values: honesty, integrity, trust, and teamwork. A hire-from-within plan allows employees to develop their skills inside the company while still furthering their career.
“The longer people are here, the more opportunities they have for advancement,” Hayward shared. “When we have hired from outside, people came in with habits we didn’t like. From our hire-from-within policy, we’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of loyalty, ad our retention is phenomenal.”
The statistics get a little better every year. Many employees have been with the organization for over a decade, with several at the director level putting in 18-plus years with Win-River.
A yearly climate survey lets leaders like Hayward know when they are on the right path or when they may need to shift some of their leadership strategies to accommodate new employee wants and needs.
A slew of great benefits are available to Win-River employees too. Competitive pay, impressive vacation time, retirement benefits, and many different courses in development and learning services sweeten the pot.
All of these strategies and approaches have bettered Win-River’s workforce, sure, but the company itself has changed Hayward “to the core.”
“The way I look at life now to the way I do my job and communicate with people has evolved since coming on at Win-River,” he said. “I used to put a lot of focus on things people didn’t do well. But by recognizing that everyone has something to bring to the table, it takes away the animosity and negativity you find in so many jobs.
“I’ve learned this: when something goes wrong, approach it like it’s an opportunity. When something isn’t working, that just means you have the ability to make positive change.”
Win-River Resort & Casino offers a convenient Northern California location, just a few miles off Interstate 5 and directly off Highway 273, between Redding and Anderson. In addition to our state-of-the-art casino, our newly-enhanced resort offers a number of exciting amenities that will keep you entertained during your stay.
We look forward to welcoming you to Win-River Resort & Casino, where we treat our guests like family. Our resort in Northern California has been created with the young at heart in mind. Enjoy friendly service, a wide variety of events and activities ideal for everyone, and welcoming accommodations at this exciting new resort destination in Redding.
2100 Redding Rancheria Rd
Redding, CA 96001