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Carroll School of Management

Workforce is the Asset

Stephen A. Wynn

Chairman and CEO, Wynn Resorts

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College Chief Executives Club  

June 8, 2016

TAKEAWAY: Workforce is the Asset

In my view in business—and I think this would be true with all of the fancy people that have preceded me on this podium—is that the most powerful thing in business is not money to your employees, because once people think they’re being paid fairly, then that’s pretty much off the table. If you want to harness the most powerful energy in human dynamics, you plug into people’s self-esteem, and then you’re really into it.

When something in the workplace equates to making a person feel good about themselves, they’ll do anything to repeat that—anything. And once more they will resent somebody else in the organization that detracts from that. You know, it’s that old story—you want to belong to a club that’s hard to get into. Well, that is one of the core principles that has moved me for 45 years.

Last week we got a letter from Forbes. They do these ratings around the world of all the hospitality companies, and then they award three stars, four stars, and five stars. We have been for a number of years the largest single recipient of five-star awards both here and in China, wherever we’re in business, in the world.

But we got an interesting letter last Thursday. And it was from the Forbes people. They said we’re not going to advertise this because we don’t want to offend all of our other clients, but we took a worldwide poll of all the scores of all the shopping that we do to rate hospitality companies. And Wynn Resorts, although it’s large, with 4,700 rooms, has a score of 90.5, the best score in the world. And Four Seasons was 88.2. After that came Marriott, Ritz-Carlton. Peninsula was fifth. But we were first.

You know, I love that sort of thing, but I know where it comes from. The people that touch the people are my employees. To me the payroll is not an expense. The workforce is the asset. And my job is to get those people to deliver guest experience. Everything else is a footnote in business. If employees feel that their place is the best, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.