HBS Gary Loveman and Harrah’s

My response to the HBS article ‘Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc.: Rewarding Our People’:

First, I like the attention that Loveman was giving towards employees in the first case.  Employees are assets and happy employees do make happy customers.  Loveman understood this and in addition Satre was smart enough to go after a person like Winn that was from within and had and liked operations experience.  That’s important when trying to connect upper leadership to employees.  Plus, now you have two people in Winn and Loveman that will focus on the right things.  They were separating financial performance from customer satisfaction something that I believe is the recipe for success.  I like the 45 day feedback process too.  It gives human resources a chance to connect with the employees and gain information into the job function.  It also opens up the opportunity for new ideas during the feedback process.  On the other hand and maybe even more importantly, it gives the newly hired employee a feeling of importance and gives the employee a chance to communicate and contribute.  I don’t like the incentive/bonus program though.  How do you continue to build on past performance?  Like the article states, what happens when all the low hanging fruit is gone?  How do you handle frustration when performance reaches an asymptote?  Furthermore, standardized testing is not something I’m a big fan of.  What’s wrong with gut feeling?  Why couldn’t Winn continue to strive for the goals she wanted without the tests?  I don’t believe the tests were necessary and I would have gone about it differently.  The rest of the process was great just don’t rely on a standardized test for hiring new employees.  Another interesting fact was that Satre felt that senior management represented management rather than leadership.  This is never good because of the disconnect it creates between employees and senior management.  You can’t underestimate leadership and it was important for Loveman to find the right people and get them into the correct jobs.

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