It has been announced that the new Revel Casino in Atlantic City is trying out a new concept in employment. This new concept is called “term limits.” They are hiring employees for the casino, which is still under construction, and basically they are telling them their jobs will only last four to six years at which time they will be terminated and they will have to reapply. So “welcome to the company, oh by the way you will be fired in four years.”
The term limits only apply to the front line workers. Food servers, cocktail waitresses, dealers, etc. but it does not apply to management positions. Since it is new it naturally has it detractors. According to an article on NPR “ ‘Why would you take your good performers and put them through that competitive process,” asks attorney Alice Ballard, “if you aren’t trying to get rid of a good performer for some other reason?’ Ballard thinks that “other reason” is probably age. To her, this reapplication process looks like a low-profile way for the casino to regularly weed out older employees.”
However, there are other viewpoints, such as that of Brian Tyrrell, a professor of hospitality management at Stockton College in New Jersey. According to the article “Tyrrell thinks the reapplication policy will motivate people to move up in the company — because management positions won’t require people to reapply.”
I think there is another effect of this policy. People who want to be competitive will work hard at being good performers. They will make sure their skill sets are current. Tom Peters often professed that the best performance appraisal was to see how a person’s résumé had improved over the past year. If it had not then they should not get an increase and perhaps should be let go. Same concept here and I think it is one that more and more employers will adopt. Of course it will remain to be seen how quickly these workers will then try to unionize and ban that practice through contract language, so in a New Jersey this may not last long.
I think it is an idea that has merit and should be explored. Besides, in today’s rapidly changing environment a lot of things can change in four to six years. I don’t think anyone should count on a job beyond that period. With employment-at-will we all need to realize that our jobs require us to always be on our toes. This is just employment-at-will exercised ahead of time.
Is any other company using such a system? What do you think are the positives associated with this method? The negatives? Let us know.
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