Spent the long weekend in Vegas with the family, where we stayed at the Wynn. I thought I was just there to relax, hang out with the kids, and gamble a bit, but it turned out I was really there to experience firsthand one of the most incredible case studies of HR, training and team building I've ever seen.
The Wynn has been open for just under a year - its anniversary is April 28. When they opened, they had 10,005 employees catering to guests in their 2700 rooms. How do I know all of this? The facts came up in conversations with various members of the staff who I encountered during my stay.
Everyone has commented about how Steve Wynn spared no expense in creating the luxury that is his hotel. It's true, and it shows - towels, bedding, china, flatware, etc. - you name it, it was custom-designed, and is beautiful. Incredible displays of fresh flowers abound. Lots of marble. The most comfortable massage table I've ever enjoyed. And on and on.
But the incredible achievement is the staff. Each and every person I encountered was outgoing, helpful, knowledgeable, respectful, and well-trained in everything about the resort. I went downstairs to buy some Tylenol and, not knowing where the appropriate store was, I approached a staff member operating a floor sweeper. Well, actually, he had parked his floor sweeper to get on his hands and knees and scrub a spot from the carpet. When I approached him for directions, he stood up, flashed a great smile, and directed me to the store...and told me that the tylenol was on the back wall, to the right.
A room service waiter delivered our breakfast and noticed that some towels had been used already, so he offered to go and get us more towels.
The clerk in one of the stores answered questions about Avenue Q, one of the shows there.
How did she know about it? Well, each and every employee was comped to see all of their shows, for exactly that reason.
My masseuse told me that the Wynn had tested all applicants to find a certain "style" of person, trained them extensively, and trusted them to make decisions and do what was necessary to please guests. The result? An incredibly motivated staff who has earned the respect of their guests (a rather demanding demographic) and their colleagues.
I've always believed in hiring great people and trusting them to take initiative. They may solve a problem differently than I would, but in doing so they create a learning opportunity for themselves and for management (who should know that they don't have all the answers). I used to poo-poo the various personality tests some companies give, but I learned at Colt that they can be very valuable, both during recruiting and for existing staff, to learn how best to manage and communicate with each other.
The best part about the staff - when we left, there was no silly survey asking me to rate arbitrary parts of my stay on a 1-10 basis. When you know you have the best staff in the business, they're enthusiastic and passionate, and you can trust that they are constantly trying to improve the experience, you don't need to burden your clients with the responsibility of telling you how to manage your business.
Hire the best. Train them. Trust them. Listen to them. Give them an environment where they believe they can succeed - and where they want to. Everyone wins.