Beefing up Borgata

| August 01, 2004

Located at Renaissance Pointe in Atlantic City, the Borgata signals a rebirth of the Atlantic City coastline. Featuring 2,002 guest rooms and suites, 125,000 square feet of gaming, 3,600 slot machines, 11 restaurants, a 50,000 square foot spa, and 70,000 square feet of event space, Borgata executives sought state-of-the-art technology for the property. But Cassie Fireman, vice president of talent for Boyd Gaming, managers of the Borgata, is most proud of the roll out of a solution that allowed her to staff the entire property in record time without compromising security.

Q. Cassie, tell us a little about yourself.

A. I'm the vice president of talent. Basically that includes all of the traditionalÃ.‚¬"human resources dutiesÃ.‚¬"but it also encompasses what we call our talent engagement, which is our associate metrics as well as all of our customer metrics from a customer service standpoint.

Q. How long have you been with Boyd Gaming?

A. I've actually been with Boyd Gaming for about five years. I've been here at the Borgata for about two and a half years.

Q. Did you play a direct role in deciding what labor solution you would use in the implementation process?

A. Yes, I did. I was actually involved from the inception of our search for an HRIS solution. We looked at what I would call PeopleSoft competitors in the marketplace, as well as PeopleSoft (peoplesoft.com). I was involved with the evaluation and the final decision process back in 2001.

Q. So what really led you to use the PeopleSoft solution?

A. I think looking back to 2001, PeopleSoft was definitely a step ahead of the game in regards to the associate self-service and the manager self-service module. They really had taken the lead role in the marketplace when it came to self-service transactions, which was something that we really wanted to start out with out of the gate. We didn't want to have to ramp up to that process. We wanted to come out of the box with self-service as a benefit that we were going to offer to our associates.

Q. When you say self-service transactions could you be more specific?

A. Some of the transactions we utilize are view your paycheck, enroll in benefits, check on your beneficiaries, all the way down to enroll in training classes, and see your status. We also provide all of our associates with feedback. If they get positive recognition that goes into their file, that is all then electronically sent to them for their records, as well as any what we would call coaching event that happened to an associate. All of that is stored electronically so that they have the ability to capture that. We also do all of our call-ins. We use a point system for our attendance. All of that is tracked through PeopleSoft, so they're able to continuously see where they stand from an attendance standpoint Ã.‚¬"whether it be a discipline issue or other things that they need to be mindful of in the attendance realm. There's a number of different things all the way from training and develop to benefits administration to the every day view your paycheck. Continuously, we're adding more and more features as we move forward in the game a little bit.

Q. So as far as security is concerned do they use codes to pull up their information or how do they get out that information?

A. They all have a unique sign-on and password as well, a password that's chosen by the associate that actually needs to be changed on a fairly regular basis just from a security standpoint. They all receive a unique sign-on when they first become employees of the company. One of the things that we're moving towards in our next roll outÃ.‚¬"we're getting ready to roll out kiosks that are just basically for transactions. All of our kiosks are currently set up to allow for Internet access, outside our firewall, so employees can go out and do different things on their free time. We'll have new kiosks that are really just to walk up to and view your pay stub and move on and do more transactional type things. One of the things we're working on is where they'll swipe their ready pass, which is their I.D. card. They'll still need to put in a password, but they'll just swipe their ready pass and it will recognize them and it will pre-populate everything other than the password for them. We do that on our customer side with our gaming cards. So we're actually just going to be taking that code that we've written on the customer side and translating that onto the employee side as well.

Q. How many kiosks do you have?

A. I have approximately 500 that are desktop, i.e., individuals who work at a desk primarily. I have about another 40 deployed throughout the facility in various locations. I have two Internet lounges as well as some in some of our high-traffic areas, and then some satellite areas throughout the building. In some of the back-office areasÃ.‚¬"our bellmen, for instance have a break area. Our valet has an area, and all those areas have some satellite kiosks in them as well.

Q. You said you started using the PeopleSoft technology in 2001?

A. We actually made our decision to go with PeopleSoft in the end of 2001/beginning of 2002. In October 2002 we launched our borgatajobs.com website and that was really our first big roll out of PeopleSoft technology.

Q. When you implemented this were you expecting an ROI?

A. Absolutely. We did some unusual things with PeopleSoft from an employment standpoint. We were able to process through over 60,000 applications in a very condensed period in under six months. With that processing of over 60,000 applications, we expected there to be a good ROI on it. Then as we got through the pre-employment process and the large mass scale employment, when we started to have more employees on board, then we started to roll out the self-service transactions. I have over 5,000 employees at this facility with a staff all in. We administer our benefits, have our employment office, training and development and I also do the customer side with only 26 employees on my side. My ratio of human resources to employees is very low compared to the average. I'm able to do that and still have them focus on things that are out of the norm. We have one per approximately 200 on the human resource standpoint, which in this industry is very low. So we expected an ROI kind of out of the box.

Q. And have you realized that?

A. Definitely. We're the first to say that without PeopleSoft and some of the things we were able to do, there's no way within a six month timeframe we would have been able to obtain applications of over 60,000 people, process those 60,000 applications through the system, screen those applicants and then hire upwards of 5,000 of those 60,000. We were able to do that because of our technology. We used it for scheduling of all of our employees and training classes. We used it for a number of different components that previouslyÃ.‚¬"you know, I've done many openings in this arenaÃ.‚¬"were done manually, that we really didn't have those problems. We also did some very interesting integration with other software prior to opening so all of our interviews were done via self-service scheduling. So our applicants actually self-scheduled themselves. Normally in a large-scale employment office there are numerous phone operators calling people back and scheduling people. We didn't have any of that.

Q. How has the employee reaction been?

A.It's interesting because we launched our employment effort fully web-based. So in order to get your foot into Borgata, the only way to do so was on a PC. That was the first in this market. Of course, there was the intimidation and a little bit of trepidation probably on some people's part, but we did a lot of things to make it very accessible. Once someone got hired, the online process never stopped. It was almost like they didn't realize it was happening to them, and then they got to orientation and they went, "Oh, so that's what I was doing. It's not that hard." Last month we had about 4,800 full-time employees last month and I had 4,400 distinct users on the system. So we are at pretty good penetration at this point for the type of industry that we're in.

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