Source: Robinson & Associates, Inc

 Rewarding Employees the Wrong Way is A Waste

Get Effective Results with An Unbiased Recognition Program

March 14th, 2002 

    Everyone likes recognition for a job well done and casino employees are no exception.  Unfortunately, some casinos reward their employees the wrong way.

    “Many casino employees view the company’s internal recognition program as a popularity contest,” says Martin R. Baird, president of Phoenix, Ariz.-based Robinson & Associates, Inc., a customer service consulting firm for the gaming industry. “If that’s the perception, then the program is a complete waste.  Rewards need to be based on specific criteria.”

    Following are seven tips from Baird on how to create an unbiased rewards and recognition program for casino employees.

1.    Hire a third party to observe or “mystery shop” employees and evaluate the behavior you want reinforced.  Shoppers should base their findings on interactions with staff members.

2.    Mystery shoppers have no interest in who is rewarded.  Their job is to pay a visit to the casino, obtain a certain number of interactions and report their findings.

3.    Mystery shopping removes managers from the equation, further eliminating any perception of bias.  They don’t have to justify why a particular employee was rewarded.

4.    Before you hire a mystery shopping company, determine exactly what you want to be evaluated.  Invest time in planning the shop so you know what you’re shopping for.

5.    Once the context of the mystery shop is determined, hold off until you’ve given your employees some training.  Give them the skills they need to do the job right, the skills that shoppers will look for.

6.    Before the first mystery shop reports arrive, be sure to have a system in place to actually give rewards and recognition.

7.    When you know which employees deserve recognition, reward them as quickly as possible so they can mentally make a connection between what they did right and the reward they received for doing it.  This is simple behavior modification but it works.

    Robinson & Associates, Inc., is a customer service consulting firm that provides specialty customer service training, management skills training, presentation skills training, team building programs and employee incentive and recognition programs for casinos.  Baird has a Web site,, that’s devoted to helping casinos improve their customer service so they can compete and increase revenues.  Robinson & Associates may be reached at 480-991-6421.  Baird may be reached by  e-mail at

Tom Ellis
Ellis Communications, L.L.C.
Phone (623) 780-4558
An online resource for casino trade and industry news