PENN Entertainment + Awardco

Penn Entertainment spread excitement for recognition from leadership downward, and this buy-in, along with a range of customization options, has led to a culture of appreciation in all 45 of their locations.

At A Glance

45 locations across North America
18 customized recognition programs
Leadership buy-in

About PENN Entertainment

PENN Entertainment is North America’s leading provider of entertainment, sports, and casino experiences. With 45 properties all across the country, their goal is to make all kinds of gaming as entertaining and rewarding as possible.

The Challenge

How do you secure leadership approval for a comprehensive recognition program when each of the 45 companies are accustomed to doing things their own way?

PENN Entertainment needed a way to create a cohesive culture for all 45 of their companies all across the U.S. To do that, they needed many different leaders and general managers to buy into the importance of recognition.

“Our primary focus was on leaders because they play a crucial role in setting the tone for the rest of the team. We actively encourage and guide our leaders to understand the significance of recognition in our culture and to acknowledge and appreciate their team members effectively.”

Amanda Benedick
Director of Internal Communications

The Solution

Obtain Leadership Buy-In

In order to increase excitement and buy-in for a new recognition program, PENN Entertainment created a project team made up of high-level executives for each of their 45 properties. Once this project team understood the impact of recognition, they went to the corporate executives with evidence that all of the properties wanted Awardco.

Because of this groundwork, the CEO supported the decision right from the start.

After executives bought in, PENN Entertainment focused on other leaders and managers:

“Up to this point, we’ve been focusing on leaders because if leaders aren’t recognizing, employees won’t either. We’re prompting leaders, explaining to them why recognition is important to our culture, and helping them recognize their team members appropriately.” - Amanda Benedick, Director of Internal Communications at PENN Entertainment

By focusing on a top-down approach to obtaining buy-in and building excitement, PENN Entertainment has seen massive adoption and engagement in their platform.

The Solution

Allow for Innovative and Fun Customization

Getting 45 different companies to agree to a single recognition solution could have been a challenge—but not for PENN Entertainment. They’ve always allowed each general manager to maintain a lot of control of their company, and with Awardco, it’s been no different.

PENN Entertainment taught each leader how to create customized recognition programs to fit their own companies’ needs, which has led to 18 different recognition programs being created. This flexibility and creativity led to over 12,000 recognitions in Q1 of 2023 alone!

“Leaders were able to see how much they could customize their program to fit what they need. I think that’s helped with buy-in across the entire enterprise.” - Kristina Carroll, Internal Communications Assistant Manager at PENN Entertainment

“Awardco is allowing us to not only promote our recognition programs but recognition as a culture.”

Amanda Benedick
Director of Internal Communications

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