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For Corporate Training, MGM Resorts Puts on a Show

Break out those tap shoes: MGM Resorts hosts a companywide talent extravaganza
Pritesh Patel, a cage cashier at the MGM Grand, cheers on his co-workers
Pritesh Patel, a cage cashier at the MGM Grand, cheers on his co-workersPhotograph by Elizabeth Weinberg for Bloomberg Businessweek

Roxanne Ramirez usually manages the card and gaming tables at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, but today she’s dancing for her paycheck. “I have no idea what I’m doing up there,” she says backstage at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, where she’s just finished singing and making jazz hands in front of 7,000 co-workers. Ramirez is one of 70 MGM Resorts International employees who wrote, produced, and are now starring in their own production, Inspiring Our World: A Musical Journey, which explores MGM’s commitment to diversity and sustainability. It just may be the only corporate training program that involves sequined leotards.

The show, led by motivational speaker Ondra Berry, features all the corniness of a typical company event: group handshakes, mission statements, and claims that the employees work for “the greatest company in the world.” But instead of using PowerPoint slides, MGM has decided to set its spiel to music. It’s a one-shot attempt to get all of its 62,000 Las Vegas-based employees through its corporate diversity program, a voluntary two-day course that attracted only a fraction of MGM’s workers in the past. “We just couldn’t get our message out there fast enough, and we needed a way to reach everyone,” says Patty Coaley, director of diversity education at the company. Jim Murren, MGM’s chief executive officer, agrees. “People think ‘diversity’ just applies to stuff that happened in the 1960s, but we really wanted to broaden the scope to apply to everyone,” he says.