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THE EMPLOYEE SUGGESTION PROGRAM
KNOSSOS INC.'S BEST-KEPT SECRET (UNTIL NOW) is its Employee Suggestion Program (ESP) and its exploding returns from the program, which returned the casino to profitability after a hurtful eight-to-ten-year slump. During and after the ESP, which debuted in 1999, it was as if cash grew from its blossoming woodland trees.
Whether such an eccentric plug-in created the casino's most impactful era may be open for debate. But far and wide, the casino encouraged and swayed its workforce to fully participate in the ESP. My participation was sought through a memo distributed to all employees. I was the one of the six thousand personnel who submitted bids in the dozens — conceivably more bids than anybody there. I submitted practically one every single month, to the substantial benefit of the gambling complex.
The ESP forms specified that an employee's denoted ideas constructively, obligingly, encouragingly, and voluntarily wow the casino's executives with efficiencies that saved money and time — to analyze, solve problems, and improve the organization, eliminate waste, improve service, etcetera.
Most employees were determined to chip in, excluding those classified as directors and above. Nothing suggested it was a do-or-die contest for who could submit an immutable breakthrough, which, of course, is what Knossos Inc. largely sought — a breakthrough, either small or big! If fruitful, a single employee suggestion could prolong a profitable lead over another nearby dynamo casino and enable Knossos to seize the balance of gaming powers — the ultimate goal, obviously, as none among the tribal executive team will refute it, being never having to worry about or be surpassed by their nearest competitor, dauntingly situated fifteen minutes away.
Who shall ultimately reign supreme in the decades ahead in America's gambling balkanization? How can a train without wheels travel the rails? Every eligible teammate would be generously rewarded accordingly if he or she fully met the required criteria in small print to increase the casino's profits and enhance guest service.
Plentiful rewards were attached to entice wider participation, whatever it took to get the job done. Knossos Inc. promised prizes to employees ranging from $25 to a Titanic $10,000, depending on if someone's idea was a top one, benefiting the company more than other suggestions.
For many employees, it may have been a wild ride, through either a tunnel of light or an inexplicable obscurity. True, no one was forced to participate in the ESP. In any event, the program and its promised rewards certainly transformed Knossos into a lively environment via the workforce's resourceful facilitation. It could be even said that it essentially paved the way to record-breaking success beyond 2000, even through a 2008 downturn that painfully stopped the celebrated unrivaled years in their tracks after nearly a decade of relishing epic-proportion profits.
My participation in the ESP in the late 1990s was kept classified for Knossos's own benefit within suspiciously involved decision-making parties among the upper management clan and casino owners.
My experience with the ESP proceeded thusly: (1) They went through much (avoidable) trouble to clear my working presence from Knossos Inc. due to their obsession to retain and make use of my enterprising written ideas any way they wished without compensating, as promised, the native peoples that should have benefited from my exertions. (2) They inconsiderately opted to dismiss me like a stranger and sweep my concerns under their lavish casino carpets. (3) I was brashly cast off later like yesterday's newspaper, as if from that day forward I was ancient history. (4) They proceeded to throw me into the gutter of joblessness when they no longer needed me.
How come I didn't see this coming — that Knossos Inc. would take in as many strategies as they could absorb from six-thousand-plus workers and then expediently turn their backs on some of them, as they did with me? Was it not my responsibility to find out why I could've not seen some sign signifying that their endgame wasn't what I believed it to be? I felt a sense of abandonment for stupidly being deluded into believing they wouldn't fail me.
It looked all legit, with high-ranking casino official's idiosyncratic signatures on each pink file for my forwarded ideas, with the white copy going to the Suggestion Awards Committee. The way I see it, beneath their smiling faces and well-mannered approach, all dressed up in upmarket suits and ties, trickery lies. For all intents and purposes, I understand that I'm no complete fool, but I do accept a nominal fault for letting Knossos Inc. scavenge what was philosophically mine: my ideas. I don't know how many other poorly paid past team workers might have been affected similarly.
Talk among workers who participated in the ESP around the same time, suggests there were others besides me whose submitted concepts were commercially made use of for profits and better customer service. They, too were totally ignored afterward, but did not pursue the matter due to fear of reprisal (job termination). Did some of them have better luck than me or part with untarnished dignity, unlike me?
Shouldn't it be up to the very folks, the tribal owners and treasured executives, to address these complaints, since they were the ones responsible for cleverly running this enterprising idea program, which appeared rewarding for many of us from the initial phase? Since Knossos Inc. was at the time of my employment, against their employees joining a union to protect their rights, was any employee permitted to have a decent chance to raise a legitimate concern about how they were aggrieved during the ESP?
Of course, nobody forced any of us to stay — we were free to walk out anytime if we were not happy with miserly wages of a little above $7.50 per hour. So why should such courtesy of the casino — providing me with a job — make me wrathful when all they did was implement my inscribed propositions on their own redrawn, self-absorbed terms? After all, they did not beg for my ideas, other than cordially extending a solicitation to any employee ...
Well, in answer, I would ask you to consider this: Since countless numbers of Americans are waiting to take their places, due to high unemployment rates, everybody knows that these dependable people frantically need Knossos Inc. more than the casino needs them.
So let us present the full picture of Knossos Inc.'s long-untouched darkest secrets! Why did so much happen right under the noses of millions of visitors every year and then vanish so fast into thin air, never exposed?
Unquestionably, Knossos Inc.'s tribal leaders and highest executives don't want anybody to know, let alone the media.
The following chapters reveal the unadorned reality of everyday life that could reveal itself to any wage earner. Delving into the nuts-and-bolts of the late '90s ESP, I present my unsung experience at Knossos Inc.'s parklands. I'll also reexamine the way in which Knossos Inc. contrived to make it look like I'd lost my mind. It involved the obligation for me to attend regimented psychotherapy sessions, which felt depressingly interminable! They consigned me to swallowing antidepressant pills under a stringent signed agreement with no sign of cessation — presented as the sole way to legally retain my job.
Unfortunately, I had no moral choice to decline the depressive pill-popping that was bullied on me without even the tiniest hint of detected symptoms by a psychoanalyst. They forced me to a number of these sittings, and not without some strings attached, which I'm going to bluntly and soundly elaborate upon. I was mandated to sign their carefully cherry-picked stipulations at the employee relations office, where the manager cautiously appointed a reliable collaborator. He wasted no time in rigorously grilling me every chance he got. I compliantly answered everything under the sun he pitched at me. They manipulated me into signing a release form regarding my participation in their mandatory clinical counseling visits and any second provider's plan.
If at any point in time I fell out of compliance, or failed to complete all aspects of this shrink package, they would call on the Employee Assistance Program, which is staffed by an above-reproach, unbiased crew similar to a union, which I have a high regard for, except for the manager's bias. They made it clear to me that the EAP would notify Employee Relations when I had completed all the requirements of their curative plot regarding my participation in their program.
I had to attend upsetting psychiatric therapy treatments or be fired for one and only one reason: so that they could unduly pursue their own advancing financial agendas based on my printed philosophies. If I were to miss any of those hearings I earlier cited, Knossos Inc. would immediately have me hop like a kangaroo to the disability queue against my will — meaning, my job would be dismissed on the spot.
Since Knossos Inc. had excellent health insurance, likely one of the incentives that compelled the six-thousand-plus workers to stay there, I was nicely prescribed to take psychiatric medications for despair. The psychiatrist proved them wrong after a few interrogative sessions. He concluded that they'd made a mistake by sending him someone who has more competence than the committers.
With high stakes in place, I came to realize that my legal rights to remain employed after eight years of working there were seriously on the line. This calculated plan put me in a risky position. At one point or another, when I feared being reclusively evicted and rendered on the dole, did it not cause me to feel enormously let down by their unfit indirectivity to a miserable boiling point? I went along with their fallacious alleged rationalizations as a desperate last resort to keep from losing my employment. The devious ultimatum was pretty clear and unqualifiedly unaltered, which unmistakably confirms the apparent deceit to ship me far away to a deserted island called contentious pink slip.
Did giving eight faithful years of my life to this casino mean anything to them? Since unemployment insurance was unwanted in their timbered campsite, they categorically made sure to rule out any likelihood for me to be eligible for it by meticulously preparing for a conference call in 2005 during which they raucously ganged up on me. I had to cave in on their demands or to not disgracefully end up homeless.
They were quite efficacious in having me disqualified from collecting unemployment so that I would remain wedged on disability should I contend their dubious rulings about my mental health. In any case, there was nothing that could've aided me in returning to work at Knossos — all the odds were stacked up against me.
And now I'll embark to chapter 2, in which I authoritatively illustrate what kind of strategic solutions I supplied to the casino.
A day of reckoning may come from the man upstairs through this forthcoming publication, if God's willing!CHAPTER 2
FIRST IDEAS, FIRST SIGNS OF TROUBLE
WHEN I STARTED WORKING at Knossos Inc. in 1996 it was as Kitchen Utility (Stewards Department). I stayed in that position until 1998. I wasn't worried about the low wage offered in this position, because I knew I would eventually move up if I unfalteringly applied myself, as I had planned to all along. (As God is my witness, the low pay and the tedium of living paycheck to paycheck have had nothing to do with my discontent over Knossos Inc. taking advantage of my written suggestions.)
I was transferred to the Guest Services Department in 1998, where I worked for six years till 2004, when I was ungraciously heaved from my job for trying to assist the casino during the ESP. This was devastating: I loved my job with the Guest Services Department, which privileged me to interact with thousands of visitors.
It all started when I requested that the hotel pamphlet be slightly revised. I recommended that they add an extension of five-digit contact numbers to enable visitors to freely use the house phones in addition to calling the toll-free number listed, as a solution to speed up the processing of hotel guests, who often stood in long lines in the hotel lobbies waiting to be checked in. I had hoped, of course, that they would recognize my suggestion. After all, I was once compensated $25 for revising a restaurant listing and was appreciative of such gestures.
Here is the suggestion for the five-digit extension I submitted.
DATE: -- 1999
Subject: New Restaurant Listing Flyer (with Focus Ext.)
I think they should include the Focus Ext. on the [REDACTED] Flyer with a little note, in big printed letters that say: "PLEASE USE THIS EXT. [REDACTED] AT ANY HOUSE PHONE FOR RESTAURANT reservations. Or stop by any Info kiosk for further assistance!" This way people won't unexpectedly walk into the gourmet eateries without a reservation, as they've been doing that a lot.
For instance, a party of five or more, or sometimes a couple (husband/wife), enters one of the upscale eating places, suddenly assuming that they'll be seated on the spot. Give me a break; this is a respectable dinner establishment, not a circus! This somewhat unpleasant situation happens every day and is not about to stop anytime soon, until perhaps strict measures are taken!
Furthermore, the Guest Services Dept. (GSD) needs to replace RESERVATIONS ACCEPTED, which is too soft, with a term that sounds more mandatory and in much bigger print: RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. Young and middle-aged patrons tend not to remark the small print when they browse all the restaurant listing, never mind senior citizens. I bet they too would have a harder time seeing the little print, even with their glasses on!
I have 20/20 vision last time I had my eyes checked; I could miss them during normal browsing. In fact, I effortlessly took privilege to mention the above highlighted topic at the recent guest service meeting, on [REDACTED]. In this case, the hosts/hostesses at [REDACTED] won't have to worry anymore about dealing with a group of customers showing up out of the blue with no advance booking.
In other words, many of our guests may not have enough common sense to figure out that they don't need to be outside the casino in order to use 1-800[REDACTED] for restaurant reservations listed on the [REDACTED] Flyer. Per chance, it's confusing, or whatever the justification may be. After all it's quite evident there are plenty of public phones available throughout the complex the guests can use at their own convenience for eatery reservations. Besides the toll-free number, the Focus Ext. [REDACTED] is just another way of making them aware of how "it'll all be" so easy and simple to go about making a reservation once they choose the restaurant of their liking while on the premises. The "beauty of it all" will be about extra expediency, that is, they can surely count on being further assisted seven days a week if hoped for....
As it excusably relates to having a clear concise ruling in a true timetable from day one, if so desired to circumvent any confusion with the restaurant. Do not expect guests to be playing a guessing game, so have a sign that makes it easier for them that indicates what needn't be stashed behind the drape. Otherwise, how else would they know what isn't public?
NO RESERVATION NEEDED FOR THE LOUNGE RESERVATIONS FOR DINING ROOM REQUIRED
I then went on to discuss suggestions about the lobby's information kiosks. Knossos clearly found value in all these suggestions because I was compensated $25, and the casino implemented the improvements.
That was all well and good, but I soon saw signs of trouble with the ESP. Indeed, my suspicions were piqued by the casino's response to my proposal to create an onsite fitness center and employee health program.
Here is my letter:
Date: -- 1999
Subject: Fitness Center
Knossos Inc. is the workplace of choice and has been so for the past seven successful years. This is just the beginning. They could well become the employer with the healthiest workforce in the nation. Having said that, it could rank as having the lowest callout rate by the next millennium or in the near future, if a health club facility comes to existence right here, on the reservation ...
A limited expansion is wise to be taken into consideration, exclusively reserved for its valued employees, who make all the difference. With that in mind, a mission to keep the spirit alive should start with a healthy lifestyle, by the same token maintaining higher standards of customer service, by finding a suitable space to set up and install gym equipment at hand! They probably won't even need to hire an outside firm for the training, since Knossos Inc. has close to [REDACTED] thousand employees.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Outfoxing The Gaming Club"
Copyright © 2018 Pascale Batieufaye.
Excerpted by permission of CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
AN EXPLANATION OF QUOTED MATERIALS,
CHAPTER 1: The Employee Suggestion Program,
CHAPTER 2: First Ideas, First Signs Of Trouble,
CHAPTER 3: A Roadmap For A Grand Expansion,
CHAPTER 4: Veneered Vanities,
CHAPTER 5: The Catch-22,
CHAPTER 6: Unscrambling Brainteasers,
CHAPTER 7: Suspiciously Marked Documents,
CHAPTER 8: Attrition,
CHAPTER 9: Inveterate Overmedication,
CHAPTER 10: Natural Vitality Shortcuts,