Do You Hire NDTs and CFMs?

  I spoke at an HRLogix users conference in Las Vegas recently and one of the presenters used a human resources term that I wasn’t familiar with.  The term was NDT. 

I was there to talk about improving customer service and how to make training fun, but by the end of the day, I realized there was a direct correlation between my area of expertise and NDT.  I also came up with my own HR term that I felt was just as important – CFM.

You’ll learn what those letters stand for in a minute.  First, I’m going to get to the point of this article.  If you want to improve your casino’s customer service, you may need to start with a serious review of your hiring process.  Do you have a system in place that not only screens people but also makes it easy for the right people to apply and get properly placed within your organization?  Or do you just crank people out to fill positions, letting less-than-desirable new hires slip in?  If your process is the latter, you could be headed for serious customer service problems.

Now back to the conference.  It was in one of the first sessions that one of the speakers mentioned the concept of NDT.  First, he talked about the need for more casino employees.  He noted that some departments in every casino seem to eat people for breakfast.  You can fill every opening for those departments in the morning and by lunch time, you receive a request for more people. He discussed the number of applicants it takes to fill one position.  I learned that, depending on the department and the selection criteria, it could take interviews with five applicants to fill one opening.  In some cases, HR must scrutinize 50 applicants to find one qualified person.

Then he set the stage for NDT.  He showed a pyramid graphic.  At the top were people who are currently employed.  These are the people casinos want.  They have a job but are not happy for some reason and are looking.  Perhaps there’s a conflict with their schedule or maybe they just don’t like their manager.  The reason they are unhappy probably isn’t important.  What’s critical is that these people are gainfully employed.  They can hold a job and just want to work someplace else. 

The next group on the pyramid was composed of people who are unemployed.  They’re looking and would like to work but, for whatever reason, they aren’t.  Some of these people could make quality casinos employees while some might not.

Then came the NDT group.  That’s what I wanted to know more about.  He said that NDT stands for Not Drunk Today.  Think about this for a minute.  If your HR department is like many in the industry, it is understaffed and overworked.  At the same time, everything at the casino will grind to a miserable halt if HR doesn’t provide fresh meat for the ranks.  So how are you handling this?  Do you screen out the applicants that couldn’t possibly do the job and then send along all the rest because there’s a chance they can do the work?  If an applicant is NDT, do they move on through the process because, at times, it’s all about quantity, not quality?

There’s another challenge that was not represented on the pyramid and it should have been.  There should have been a place for CFM – Can’t Fog Mirror.  We’ve all seen these people working at casinos.  If you held a mirror under their nose, they wouldn’t be able to fog it.  They’re on the job but, at the same time, they’re not really there.

My company is a worldwide leader in helping casinos polish their guest service.  So why am I writing about hiring and HR?  The answer is simple.  The people you hire and we are brought in to train are critical to your long-term success.  So what kind of people are you hiring?

If your casino doesn’t have a high-quality, proven system for screening and hiring, your property is like a hamster running on that little wheel.  No matter how much effort and energy you invest in your property, you can’t succeed.  A casino’s success is in direct proportion to the ability of the HR people to bring in quality candidates for ALL positions.

If you hire just to fill the holes, the entire enterprise suffers.  I’m not saying that every position should require a doctorate, but if a person is late for the first interview, it could be a sign of things to come.  Do you really want employees like that interacting with your customers, the very people who keep you in business?

And let’s say you do hire NDTs and CFMs.  Are you willing to make an investment to help them improve their job performance?  Or do you just wait and see how long they survive?

Training is a major investment.  It takes significant time and money to train people.  To commit to training requires a vision that can be difficult to achieve if all you are doing is plugging holes with new people.

I used to say that training was the first step in a customer service improvement process.  After attending this HR conference, I now realize that hiring is the critical first step.  Until casinos decide to stop hiring NDTs and CFMs, they will continue to struggle no matter how amazing the training is.

Martin R. Baird
Robinson & Associates, Inc.