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Importance of Employee Orientation in the Hospitality Industry (By Mateusz Pasierbek)

The human resource (HR) department in a hospitality organization is responsible for many tasks, such as compiling payroll, updating salary and benefits information, ensuring compliance with all HR legislation, and also organizing job orientation for new hires. The last responsibility on the list, conducting orientation, often times is neglected in many food services and lodging organizations, which can cause significant problems in the longer run. This important step of introducing new employees to the hospitality business relates directly to the future success of individuals as well as the success of the hospitality organization.

So, what exactly is the purpose of employee orientation and how can hotels and restaurants improve this vital process? 

The Purpose of the Orientation

According to Mary Tanke, Ph.D., a professor at the School of Hospitality Management at Florida International University in Miami, an orientation can be defined as “a method of familiarizing or acquainting new employees to the hospitality organization, their work unit or department, and to their job positions.” The main intention of the new hire process is to familiarize each individual with the organization’s history, culture, and employee expectations. Some of the positive purposes of the orientation include:
  • Lowering costs related to employee learning the job by helping the new staff member get up to speed quicker.
  • Reducing anxiety that results in providing guidelines for certain tasks and behaviors, so that employee does not have encounter unnecessary stressful situations.
  • Saving time for supervisors and managers. By effectively and efficiently conducting the orientation process, supervisors and managers do not need to spend extra time to teach the employee about employee expectations, workplace safety, policies, etc.
Steps to Improve the New Hire Welcome Process

     The orientation process is very important as it should make the new employee feel relaxed and comfortable in the new organization. Here are some approaches on how to enhance this process:
  •      Keep in touch before the big day. As a hiring manager, it is a good idea to say “hello” and welcome the employee before orientation begins. Sending a welcome letter or an agenda is a great way to introduce the employee to the new organization. 
  •      Gain full participation. Make sure to keep all employees engaged in conversations, role plays, games, and exercises. Assure that they feel comfortable around each other as for many of them it might be a very stressful day.
  •      Form a comfort and rapport among the group. Create a safe learning environment, where all employees are encouraged to ask questions and can clarify any uncertainties. Offer refreshments, lunch, or informal conversation.
  •     Ask for feedback. At the end of the day, make sure to check with new hires how they feel about the orientation process, and if necessary, consider making changes based on those recommendations. 
Orientation Checklist 

In order to make new hires feel welcome, HR managers need to make sure to stay organized and have all necessary paperwork ready before the orientation process starts. Here are some of the key elements of what should be covered during employee’s first day at work:
  • Introduction to the company
  • Values, mission statement, company goals, and objectives
  • Company history and culture
  • Organizational structure
  • Employee and employer expectations
  • Payroll specifics
  • Benefits (such as medical, dental, life insurance, etc.)
  • Workplace health and safety
  • Employee promotions and growth within the company
  • Disciplinary procedures
  • Property specifics: rest breaks, lockers, restrooms, smoking policies etc.
  • Employee agreement and employee handbook
How does an orientation process look like at your company? What are some of your tips for a successful orientation?

About the Author

Mateusz Pasierbek is currently a student at Cal Poly Pomona pursuing his degree in hospitality management. After coming from Poland six years ago, he has gained experience in numerous places such as The Resort at Pelican Hill, Orange Hill Restaurant, Irvine Marriott, and Sheraton Fairplex Pomona. During his spare time, he enjoys traveling internationally and is passionate about landscape photography. After graduating, Mateusz is planning to continue his hospitality career with Marriott International as a Food and Beverage Operations Voyager at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami. In the future, Mateusz’s goal is to become a Director of Sales & Marketing in South-East Asia in a luxury segment.


Comments

  1. In response to this article, I agree that the human resource (HR) department organization should improve on the new hire welcome process so that the new employees will be more comfortable at their new organization and hopefully stay for a long term. From my experience in working in a restaurant called, “Ten Ren’s Tea Time,” the human resource department made the hiring process enjoyable while providing all the necessary information so that we the employees do not have to encounter unnecessary stressful situations. These tips and procedures listed in the article shows exactly how the human resource department should execute their tasks to improve the hotels and restaurants hiring process. In my experience, one of the benefits that kept me staying at Ten Ren’s Tea Time is the employee promotions and growth that they provided and the discounts on food and beverages. Since, if the employees see there is no promotion status then they will not be incline in working for that such company. In the article, “Why We Still Hate HR, 12 Year Later,” stated that “only 17% of executives view HR departments are able to demonstrate measurably their value to the business.” I cannot stress this, but that number is considerably low because HR should be considered a strategic business partner for the company in the long-term goal. They are in value of organizational culture, staffing, employee development, and employee retention. A perfect example of a chain that think highly in the HR department is Target. Therefore, the human resource department should not be taken lightly because it is the important step of introducing new employees to the hospitality business or any type of business that relates directly to the future success of individuals as well as the success of the hospitality organization.

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