What Your Latest Hotel Experience Can Teach You About Onboarding New Employees

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April 07, 2024 Blog
Organization onboarding and welcoming new employees to the company.

Imagine: You’ve just arrived. As you pull into the lot, a friendly valet attendant waves you over. You hand over your keys and a bellhop opens the door for you. You walk in. You already have a good impression of the place because your phone interactions with the staff have been pleasant. You receive a personalized tour, are provided a concierge available for questions, and amenities abound.

This setting you’re imagining is a luxury hotel, but what if it was your workplace?

While valet parking and turndown service may be a stretch, leaders should take a card from the luxury hotel playbook when considering their new hire onboarding experience. Here are some ideas you can pluck from the hotel industry and apply to your office to make new hires feel welcome, streamline the onboarding process and ensure you’re making a lasting impression on talented employees.

Offer Premier Parking

Your building may not offer fancy valet, but you can still provide a welcoming experience from the minute new hires drive into your parking lot. Offer a parking pass. Maybe parking passes are pricey or rare commodities in your city, or you live in a place that gets hot and the ability to park in a garage would be a luxury. If everyone receives a parking pass, provide doorside reserved parking for new employees. If an employee commutes via public transportation or bike, throw in a few months of rail or bus fare or designate a premium spot to lock up their bike.

Provide a Home Base

No one wants to show up to a hotel only for the front desk to say they’ve double booked their room. When you walk in after a long day of travel, you want a place to put your stuff down and your feet up. Make sure your new employees have a place to land once they walk through your doors on their first day. Showing up to “your desk isn’t ready yet” or “your office is still the storage room” makes them feel like they don’t belong there. Give new employees the comfort and welcome of a home base on their first day.

Spruce up their space with a welcome box. Include local snacks and a water bottle with the company logo. You can keep this simple. It’s the gesture that says: “We were expecting you and we’re happy you’re now part of our team.”

With the rise of remote work, many companies have downsized office space. If this is the case in your office and you offer jump desks for when employees come in, consider permanent monitors so employees can plug in laptops. This makes the work setup feel less temporary or makeshift. In addition, you may want to include cubbies or lockers in the office where employees can store their things in a place of their own.

Lead a Personalized Tour

There are few activities more anxiety-inducing for a new employee on their first day than a tour of the office that involves stopping at everyone’s desk for an introduction. Not only will that new employee not remember anyone’s name once the tour is over, but these types of tours also come across as unfocused and unplanned.

Imagine a resort is being used for a fitness convention. A tour guide would be sure to point out where the fitness center is located, tell guests about the yoga classes offered and make suggestions for healthy spots nearby for dinner.

Personalize your tour of people and places for your newest employee too. Start with an introduction to the employee’s immediate team. Plan a lunch or happy hour after work to really get to know everyone. 

Don’t make an employee ask for the basics like bathroom and cafeteria locations. But expand the map even more. Show them a place to go when they need a minute or need to make a private phone call. Let them know where to find the good snacks and how to get to the nearest coffee spot when on break.

These little tailored additions to a tour make newbies feel welcome and understood.

Provide a Concierge

At a hotel, a concierge is available to provide everything from a wake-up call to dinner reservations — there to answer any questions guests may have.

A new office is unknown territory, so assigning someone to be the go-to person for their inquiries provides new employees with a buddy system of sorts and shows employees there are no stupid questions. This person can help be a human directory for contacts — HR, Finance, IT — for things that inevitably pop up within the first weeks of working at a new place. 

If a new employee is new to town, a designated “concierge” can help with food and drink recommendations and suggest social opportunities.

Focus on Talent

At a great resort, you won’t find a newbie fumbling through tasks at the front desk. You’ll find an experienced employee, dressed professionally, politely and calmly checking guests in and out and responding to guests’ requests. They hire for talent where it matters most.

Ed Eynon, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer at KSL Resorts, is a long-time Talent Plus client and swears by discovering people’s natural talent. He says “Focus on talent. It knows no gender, it knows no ethnicity.” 

Starting at a new company can be intimidating. Recognize employees for who they are and why you hired them. Encourage them to bring their whole authentic self to work and validate their talent and drive. Not only does focusing on hiring and keeping the right talent help your company be more productive, it also naturally increases diversity.

Follow Up

Check your email after you’ve left a hotel. You probably have something thanking you for your stay, requesting your feedback and asking you about your next trip. Your onboarding should pursue the same path of follow up.

Onboarding new employees lasts much longer than their first day or first week. In fact, it can take months for a new employee to feel like they’re invested and part of the company. The best employee onboarding experiences extend beyond the first 90 days, with regular check-ins! To truly develop and retain employees long-term, you must foster a positive team culture.

Follow up with employees frequently to ensure they’re receiving the information and support they need to succeed at the company. Discuss their development. Ask for feedback about company culture as you build and grow.

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