Friday, May 22, 2009

Reporter's Notebook

-Megan Patrick-Vaughn can be reached at


Having just spent a few days in Las Vegas, this BusinessWeek story about the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino caught my eye. In it, President Gamal Aziz attributes the resort’s tremendous growth in the last eight years to one factor – the employees. And now, as times are a bit tougher in Vegas, he says his people have become even more critical to the company's success.

"Employees are willing to give their all when they are well-treated, appreciated,” Aziz told BusinessWeek. “And the ability to unlock that potential is a competitive distinction…It's their decisions, their actions, their attitude that really make the difference. Imagine taking 10,000 employees, and each and every one of them wanting to give more. That's really the difference between [us and] a company that has its employees just punching the clock and trying to get through the day."

As times are tougher around the country, I can attest to what a difference having truly committed, engaged employees and leadership makes. I would venture to guess we’ve all had jobs at which we were there solely to get the paycheck, and when we clocked out at the end of 40 hours on the dot, we were done. I’d also be willing to bet, those jobs were not the ones at which we felt particularly valued and fostered, or like we were more than a number.

And as an employee, because I feel personally tied to my company, I put in the long hours and feel personally tied to its mission.

Treat your employees well, engage them in the company’s mission and communicate with them about them company – and communicate an interest in their well being. If your company is having difficulty right now, communicate that to employees – they may have some solutions and will likely feel compelled to go the extra mile because they’re not left out in the dark. Right now, employees are going to make your businesses prosper because more often than not, they are the ones out on the front lines hopefully creating a good customer experience.