Mentoring programs are flexible, and when adapted to your gaming organization’s culture can pay big dividends. The financial investment in mentoring is low because the expertise already lies within your property. Mentoring can also be combined with organizational projects and allow mentees to experience company initiatives through the eyes of an experienced mentor.
Formal mentoring programs have a structured approach in which a coordinator is responsible for implementing, monitoring and evaluating the program. Formal mentoring programs normally run for a set time frame, from two to 12 months, allowing both the mentor and mentee time to establish a solid learning relationship. So let’s focus on several different types of formal mentoring programs that are being used in gaming properties across Canada.
A number of casino properties have programs where mid-level managers are paired with senior leaders in the organization with the competency development of the mentee leading into a succession-planning process. A customized learning plan developed jointly by the mentor and mentee highlights the competency or skill areas of focus and the development activities and resources used during the program duration. Formal meetings are held monthly to review the learning plan.
A slightly different example is an eight-week group mentoring program offered through a mid-Canada casino. This program is designed for supervisors who mentor small groups of frontline staff in a classroom setting and is managed by a coordinator with the input of senior leaders. These senior leaders share their career experiences and listen to staff ideas around a set topic such as resolving conflict. Teams problem-solve real-life casino case studies and then present their solutions to the senior leader. In the processs, mentees gain skills in presentation, teamwork and managing conflict.
Many casinos offer formal mentoring activities that take on a variety of forms, from an assigned buddy system to help new employees integrate in the organization, through to lunch pairings with experienced staff and new second language employees. These are designed to strengthen language skills and increase understanding of the organizational culture which is so important to the success of new employees.
Across Canada, it is clear that gaming properties recognize the capacity-building value of mentorship and although they approach the challenge in a variety of ways, there is recognition that transferring knowledge throughout the organization will better prepare our industry for the future.
If you would like to join the National Gaming Training Advisory Committee and share strategies from your casino property, please contact Canadian Gaming Centre of Excellence.
Judith Hayes is Director (email@example.com) and Dayna Hinkel is Business Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the Canadian Gaming Centre of Excellence, a subsidiary of Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries.