Culture Starts with Onboarding

Onboarding is Essential For A Corporate CultureThink back to your first day on a new job. Remember the feelings of enthusiasm and anticipation?

Starting a new job is always an exhilarating experience; it is often the time when energy, excitement and expectations are at their peak. Those crucial first days are also an excellent time to give the new employee the right start, putting them on the path to flourish within the organization.

Hospitality, more than almost any other industry, is geared to providing extraordinary experiences to the end-user. These businesses survive (or not) through customer service, and often it rests on a great first impression.

If first impressions are so vital to the customer, wouldn’t it be the same for new employees?

Instilling a sense of corporate culture in the first few days of a new hire is essential, especially in the hospitality industry, which is devoted to face-to-face contact with the public. The onboarding system presents an ideal opportunity to capitalize on the spirit a new employee brings to the job.

Use onboarding right and the employee will keep that happy feeling through his or her entire career.  Use it wrong, and you may have needlessly shortened their tenure, as well as creating a sense of disillusionment. At the very least, poor onboarding adds more energy to the process of getting an employee up to speed.

Examine your onboarding process. Does it create the right interpretation of your corporate culture? Try these suggestions to making the best first impression to new hires:

  • Communication:

Daily phone calls to a new hire or promoted employee may seem excessive, but the intervening period between offer and the first day of work can present a missed opportunity. The process of understanding corporate culture should begin well before the external candidate starts, or an offer is made to internal candidates. Getting a person excited for the possibility—and later, the reality—of their new career is the best approach to starting on the right foot.

  • Make corporate culture a subject of discussion:

Onboarding is more than just focusing on new paperwork and a short walk-through. You have a corporate culture, and it should be treated like any other prominent asset. Focus on acquiring the right talent, showing them the ropes and how they can connect to the right people in the corporate structure, so they can do their jobs quickly and efficiently.

The key is to make sure new hires realize that they are part of a team and that help is available to them when they need it. Nothing is more disheartening to an employee than the impression they are only to fend for themselves.

  • Combine technology with a personal touch:

Innovations in human resources technology make acquiring, hiring and onboarding new talent easier than ever. Filling out new hire paperwork, such as tax and direct deposit forms, are performed rapidly and seamlessly through cloud-based programs and software-as-a-service.  Unfortunately, various Human Resources departments end their onboarding process there.

Streamlining the onboarding process—at least at the paperwork stage—leaves more time to help new hires become familiar with the culture, values and attitudes of the organization. Focus on “soft skills,” and avoid getting bogged down with administration tasks, matters that are often automated with new HR technology.

  • Be aware of pacing:

Every person is unique, and reliable onboarding strategy reflects not only the values of the business, but the individual learning curve of the employee. Of course, that does not mean slowing down the system, or giving a new hire an unlimited amount of time to “get comfortable.”

Since hiring the right talent, with the personality traits that fit well with the company, is critical to recruiting, monitoring your new hire and adjusting to their “style” is another way to show how much you appreciate their contribution. A terrific onboarding experience should include the nature of the employee, allowing them to see why they are the best person for the job.

  • A source of energy:

Whenever a company adds staff, it also creates a flood of energy into the organization.
That is something to be harnessed. Many of these new people do not have the formal tools to channel that energy effectively. Using the buddy system—partnering newbies with experienced staff— as elements of the onboarding process is one way to diffuse that enthusiasm throughout the company. It creates win-win situations for all involved—new employees learn the ropes and experienced staff gets a boost of eagerness.

Even for the few people who may still be skeptical about good onboarding as a reason for future successes, it is overwhelmingly clear that getting employees off on the right track early on couldn’t hurt.

Image credit: fuzzbones

Published by @philammann

Put. That coffee. Down. Writer/editor/whatever it takes. @margaretj13 is my (much) better half. Website: Email: Twitter: @PhilAmmann

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