All aboard!

The interviews are over. The offer has been made. You can finally relax because that promising young worker has chosen YOU! They're excited and ready to get to work when they show up for their first shift, but now the pressure is on. You have to reaffirm that they made the right decision to come to work for you.

Conducting an employee orientation session is the ultimate second impression. With a shortage of good workers out there, you must be more than a source of a paycheck. Your employee orientations should be more than a mere tour of the facilities and brief overview of company do's and don'ts. Make orientations first step in an ongoing employee retention program. Here's how to make the most of your sessions:

Get wordy!

When it comes to educating team members about their new workplace, offer as much information as you can. Share the history of your operation, the details of your menu, and how the whole team works together for a dining experience that can't be beat. Pretend new hires are press reporters. Give them the most impressive and enthusiastic tour possible.

Managers are people, too

Put faces to the names of the people on your organizational chart. Don't let your management team members hide in their cushy corner offices during new employee orientations. Get them involved. Let human resources give an overview of special company policies. Have the controller share the correct way to report tips. Ask the head chef to extol the virtues of his menu and cuisine. This will do wonders to foster the sense of teamwork crucial to a successful operation. Oh and by the way. Get the head honcho in there too. My partner and I used to conduct orientations on a regular basis.

Spread it out

We've all experienced a full day of lectures, lessons, policies and training modules. Not much fun.. By the end of a full-day marathon I guarantee everybody's name is a blur, and the retention factor, along with enthusiasm, has sunk dangerously low. Spread your orientation out over several days or shifts. A little bit of hands-on work mixed in with the policy reviews and paperwork will ease the transition.

Be hospitable

We are in the hospitality business. Don't wait until an employee leaves to celebrate them. Celebrate the new hires, too. Introduce them at pre-shift briefings, put their photo on the bulletin board, make them wear a name tag that says "I'm the new guy" (just kidding!), or even throw a party once a month to welcome new employees to the team.

Of course, none of this can or should replace a thorough and systematic review of company policies, completion of forms, and the like. To make sure you don't leave out any details, download a customizable Orientation Checklist excerpted from our Trade Secrets Employee Recruiting and Hiring Protocols & Forms.


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