ATLANTIC CITY, NJ: The Borgata, which opened its doors in early July as Atlantic City's first new casino in 13 years, enlisted New Jersey PR firm The Cherenson Group to conduct an employee relations market-research campaign that cost the casino more than $200,000 before it even opened for business.
The casino needed to hire 5,000 workers at a time when some estimated a casino-worker shortage in the area.
"Sure, paying more money and providing more benefits will attract workers," said Mike Cherenson, VP of The Cherenson Group. "But the Borgata felt that was a very rudimentary way of attracting people. They wanted to ensure a satisfied workforce."
Cherenson conducted a two-year survey, which included polls and focus groups to determine the needs and desires of casino workers living in and around Atlantic City.
The firm focused its research on households in Atlantic County, where 85% of the city's casino workers live. Cherenson's findings were the basis of several reports, as well as a presentation to the casino's board of directors.
"The biggest problem we faced is that most workers in the area had been in their jobs for several years, and were comfortable," said Cassie Fireman, VP of talent at the casino. "We really needed to know about the little things we had to do to make these people's jobs more enjoyable."
Among the quality-of-life initiatives that were implemented as a result of the research were e-mail and voice- mail accounts for all employees and an employee convenience store where workers can shop before going home.
The effort appeared to have paid off, as the casino received nearly 67,000 applicants for fewer than 5,000 positions.