During historic heavy rainfall in February of 2017, the main and emergency spillways of California’s Oroville Dam experienced extensive damage, resulting in the evacuation of more than 180,000 people living downstream along the Feather River there. Those evacuated included some of the 520 employees of the Feather Falls Casino, Lodge & Brewing Co.
During the Oroville Dam crisis, property managers had no way to communicate with staff, a large portion of which don’t have a dedicated email address for work. Feather Falls Casino management had no workforce-wide way to assess whether or not employees needed assistance, as there was also no unified crisis communication plan in place.
Fast forward to today, where Beekeeper has again been put to the test during a challenging situation during the Camp Fire, a substantial wildfire near the property in Butte County, CA. Despite a burned fiber optic cable, which led to a brief period of loss of internet connectivity, “Beekeeper remains the best way for us to communicate with our employees,” says Rhonda Turner, Director of Human Resources at Feather Falls Casino.
Oroville Dam Disaster Reveals Crisis Communications Management Gaps
The events of the Oroville Dam emergency made it clear that Feather Falls Casino needed to improve on the company’s crisis communications strategy––and they needed the right technology to do so. Rhonda Turner, Human Resources Director, made it her mission to find a communications management tool that successfully engaged employees while facilitating effective communication during an emergency situation.
The Feather Falls Casino, Lodge and Brewing Co., remained opened during the storm that led to the Oroville Dam flooding. Most of the company’s employees are guest-facing, without consistent access to a computer. Despite having on-premise bulletin boards, a more accessible way to reach their workforce in real-time, regardless of shift or location on the property, was essential. In addition to the operational hurdles, this meant that employees could feel disconnected.
Falls Feather Casino Brewery: Real-time Workforce Alignment and Better Operational Productivity
Incorporating Beekeeper, a mobile operational communication platform, into the communications management for Feather Falls Casino’Brewery and its other work forces have both enhanced the employee experience and facilitated better operational productivity. From posting pictures of new slot machines, discussions about the rollout of new casino games, or detailing employee ticket giveaways and announcing employee events, awards or birthdays, Beekeeper keeps the Feather Falls Casino team informed. With Beekeeper communication tools, the workforce can now:
- Engage with employees who don’t have computer or email access, and eliminate bulletin boards and posters in break rooms across the property.
- Have the opportunity to recognize employees, and share and acknowledge successes.
- Be more transparent and inclusive, because everyone now gets the same information no matter what shift they work or what department they work in.
- Encourage interactive collaboration with real-time, mobile idea sharing.
- Push out emergency alerts or send targeted information and secure messages to designated groups or departments, such as policy and safety information.
- Onboard employees, send welcome messages to introduce new employees, and pin important documents for all employees to access on-the-go.
“The feedback from employees has been amazing. We’ve started a new video challenge called ‘Meet the Hive in Five’ where one department makes a video featuring an employee who answers five questions about themselves. That department challenges another department to do the same. It’s a fun, social way to get to know employees better. This is just one of many ways that Beekeeper is making everyone feel part of the Feather Falls family.” –Rhonda Turner, Human Resources Director, Feather Falls Casino
Feather Falls Casino Lodge: Improved Employee Experience with Two-way Communication
When employees are connected, it makes them feel part of a unified family. The importance of employee connection cannot be overstated; it is so important for maintaining employee morale and delivering superior guest service. For employees to be truly happy, they need to have a voice. They also need to be recognized among their peers and rewarded for doing a great job. This ultimately creates loyalty and it drives job retention. In a group communication stream called “Casino Connect,” Feather Falls Casino Lodge and its other entities now facilitates two-way communication between employees and managers. Individual communication streams enable departments to post schedules, accolades for jobs well done, and news about the hotel.