Hospitality operations in general and managers specifically go to a lot of trouble to find new employees – but not just any employee. By using the principles and techniques of Disciplined Hiring, they make the effort to not only get the right people on the bus, but to get the right people in the right seats on the bus. In making this effort they should have only one goal in mind and that is to find and hire people who will make a positive and continuing contribution to the success of the organization.
Keeping in mind that first impressions are powerful determinants in establishing any person’s attitudes about, and commitment to, a new job, it is imperative that the organization make an effort to welcome and impress the new hire. But the consequences of not providing a warm, welcoming, and informative onboarding process go far beyond first impressions.
Understand that your establishment’s reputation as an employer in the local labor market is directly related to the work experiences of your employees. When they are not properly onboarded and trained, when they are not given the necessary tools and resources to do their jobs, when they are not properly led, when their leaders do not set a professional example, you can be assured that your operation will have high levels of turnover and people in the surrounding community will know just what kind of employer you are. With this kind of reputation you will have a hard time attracting dedicated and competent employees – the ones that every employer wants to hire – and you condemn yourself to unending personnel problems, lack of employee commitment, and famously poor service levels.
On the other hand, when you treat your employees with dignity and respect, when you recognize that willing, committed, and empowered employees make all the difference in service to your customers/guests/members, you know that how employees are treated from day one will go a long way toward demonstrating the organization’s commitment to its staff, thereby ensuring their commitment to the organization.
So the first step in the process of gaining the commitment of employees is a well-thought out and consistently executed onboarding plan for new hires. This initial orientation to the organization is usually given by the HR Manager or the person acting in that capacity. Here are some of the basic things to include:
1. An Introduction to Organizational Values and Culture of Service. Organizational values are the foundation for how you conduct your business and interact with your customers. Every employee must be well-versed in these values and they must be constantly reinforced throughout every employee’s tenure.
2. Etiquette and Service Training. A brief introduction will set the foundation for these important topics, though they must be taught and reinforced at regular intervals during employment.
3. Review of Uniforms, Dress Code, and Grooming Standards. Employees in a professional service organization must understand and consistently abide by these requirements.
4. Performance Expectations and Reviews. Employees must understand basic expectations for their performance, conduct, and demeanor, and it is only fair to let them know when and how they will be reviewed.
5. Work Week, Pay Cycle, Timekeeping, and Overtime. Employees need to understand these basic matters relating to their compensation. Spelling them out in detailed way consistently for all employees will answer a lot of their questions. They also need to know who to see if they have questions or problems relating to their hours and compensation.
6. Employment Status, Benefit Eligibility, and Benefits Enrollment. Benefits are usually determined based upon an employee’s employment status (Full Time, Part Time, and Seasonal). Each employee must know his or her status, what benefits they might be eligible for, and when they can enroll for benefits.
7. Receipt of Employee Handbook. Every employee must be given an Employee Handbook that provides all the information they need to know about employment with your organization. Such information must be fully integrated with the Personnel Standards, Policies, and Procedures. It’s also a good idea to have them sign a receipt for the handbook that includes an acknowledgement statement that the material in the handbook is extremely important and must be read and understood by all employees. The handbook receipt should be filed in the employee’s personnel file as proof that they received the handbook and were apprised of its importance and the need to read it.
8. Employee Work Rules. Every organization has its own work rules covering all sorts of topics from where to park, use of personal cells phones on the premises, calling off, work schedules, availability of lockers, entrances to use, employee meal policy, etc. These rules are usually included in detail in the Employee Handbook, but it’s a good idea to go over them in a face to face meeting, giving them ample opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification.
9. Safety, Accidents, and Emergencies. It’s important to give employees a basic overview of safety policies, what to do in case of an accident or emergency, and the operation’s emergency and evacuation plans. While these should be covered in more formal safety training in each department, having a basic understanding from the very beginning of employment is essential.
10. General Manager’s Welcome. Employees should meet and hear from the General Manager at the beginning of their employment. This is a great opportunity to hear about the organization’s mission and vision from the chief executive or operating officer.
11. Tour of Property and Introductions. New employees should be given a tour of the property and be introduced to each department head. Department heads can welcome the new hires and give a brief overview of the department’s function.
12. Review and Retention. The person giving the New Hire Orientation may also want to give a brief test to reinforce key points and to determine individual retention of this important information.
At the conclusion of the orientation, the new hires should be directed or taken to their departmental manager and the HR Manager should document the orientation in each new hire’s personnel file by using an Orientation Checklist, HRI Form 105. I also would strongly recommend that each department head conduct a similar departmental orientation covering essential information specific to that department. Some of the same information should be reviewed in this second orientation to reinforce the message and ensure comprehension. As with the enterprise Orientation, Department Heads should complete and forward a Departmental Orientation Checklist, HRI Form 106, to the HR office for inclusion in the new hire’s file.
While all of the above requires time and effort, the results of a well-planned and executed onboarding scheme and the appropriate enterprise and departmental orientations will start the new hire off on the right foot and will establish the organization’s professionalism – both of which will make a strong first impression on all new hires.
Thanks and have a great day!
This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.
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