Thursday, June 3, 2010

What Gaylord Did

My husband was not affected yesterday in the mass layoffs at the hotel. Well, I shouldn't say he wasn't affected, but he did not lose his job. Even I have been greatly affected and I don't even work there. Joe has been employed there for 4 1/2 years. Nearly a year ago he posted for a leadership position at one of the restaurants. I am so thankful that he did that. He has become a very respected part of the leadership team, and for this reason he still has a job.

I saw on the news last night where Gaylord originally made a promise that even though they were destroyed by the flood, that they would keep all of their employees on the payroll. I heard words like "broken promises". It's really sad to me that they are receiving such harsh criticism. Gaylord does put their employees first. It is the core of their business model. They strive to create happy employees with the belief that happy employees will be the platform for exceptional service, leading to happy customers. I have worked for corporations before where employees were more like slaves, not stars.

Did you know that hidden inside that hotel are secret places just for employees? There are game rooms (free) and lounges with TV's. The busiest restaurant in Tennessee is at the hotel, but you wouldn't know it. It is the restaurant for employees only. The meals are very good and they are free. That restaurant is open 24/7. Several times a year the hotel hosts employee events. They put on huge carnivals and picnics for staff and families. We go every year. They also turn ballrooms into movie theaters and host families for a fun evening, with pizza and popcorn. Just recently they took all of the chefs to Arrington Vineyards to celebrate them.

One of the things that I have loved hearing about Gaylord from Joe is about the special needs employees. One of Joe's employees is blind. He also has a couple of employees with mental disabilities. I absolutely love an environment where the physically and mentally challenged are given a fair shot at independence. I love Gaylord for this.

I believe in the beginning when they stated after the flood that they would keep everyone on the payroll, that many people confused this to mean everyone would continue to get paid. Those 2 things are not the same. Remaining on the payroll means continuing to qualify for benefits, etc. With their huge loss of revenue coupled with the vast expense to restore....there is no economical way it makes sense to pay everyone for not working, for 6 months. Right away the employees were told they would be paid through 6/12. 6/12 is 6 weeks beyond the flood. Even though 1,700 people lost their jobs yesterday, I believe they still have 30 more days of income. It is heartbreaking and devastating because jobs are hard to come by these days. And for many of these people it was a double blow, because they lost their homes too.

Joe continues to go to work 5 days per week. He is happy to be shuffled around doing whatever needs to be done. He still manages to feed the employees that are there. He helped in physical clean up. He helps in banquets to carry out catering obligations that were already booked. We are so thankful that they actually need him during this restoration period.

I just hate to see Gaylord criticized for not being able to do what they originally said to the media. The internal work force has known all along that their jobs might end of 6/12. The general public didn't know, but the stars did. Yesterday wasn't a shock to most of them, if even any of them. Even we were mentally and emotionally preparing for a job loss under our roof....because there were never any guarantees.

Gaylord has even reached out into the community and helped many of their employees get other jobs. I believe they are doing everything that they can, and I also believe that they genuinely care.

Yesterday when Joe got home there was a basket that had been delivered to our door. It was a thank you basket from Gaylord for his service and hard work since the flood. They didn't have to do that. He didn't even lose his job. I think they are truly feeling a deep desire to show their appreciation to their valued leaders for their dedication and their adaptation to working in something that is nowhere near normal.

Thank you to all who have been concerned for us. We feel safe now. But I ask that you remember the others in your prayers. A lot of hard working families will be devastated.


Pete A. family said...

Hi Melissa,

From 1500 miles away, it sounds as if Gaylord is an honorable company that did all they could, and much more than most companies would have done. I'm glad there are companies like that around. Certainly not all are. (And you're welcome to pass this comment on to them.)

We're still waiting and praying for God to move here. We've very much appreciated your offers of help.

Also haven't forgotten "your" wild horses. Yvette wants us to take a day and go back out into the area (about 35 miles from town) where we twice saw the herd of wild horses with their four babies. She's hoping to get some pictures to send you. Wild horse herds do, of course, move around, but this one has been in about the same place both times we saw them. There's a creek there, so they have water. And if they do move, there are only 3 or 4 areas they could go, and we would have a pretty good chance of locating them. How close we could get could be another question - we'll just have to see. Will let you know when we try it.

Our prayers and blessings for your family -

Pete, Yvonne, Yvette and Bill A.

Sarah said...

I'm sorry to hear so many have lost jobs, but I'm glad Joe is still employed. And thanks for sharing the inspiring information about how Gaylord treats their employees. Wow! What a great place to work. I pray the people who lost jobs will find good jobs soon.