Get 'em While They're Hot: Begin Engagement and Retention with Onboarding

By Joyce Gioia CEO, Employer of Choice International, Inc. | November 28, 2010

When human resource professionals attend my workshops, both in the US and worldwide, the section on "Onboarding" is a real eye-opener. Invariably, they find a number of ways they can improve their processes. The onboarding period presents one of the best opportunities for hotel human resource professionals to begin their process of connecting and engaging the new employee, so that s/he will stay.

When we start a new job, we are often excited and feel very positively about starting our new positions. If we receive positive reinforcement for those feelings, they will grow stronger; if we are discouraged from having those feelings, it is sometimes the beginning of a long, slow, and painful downhill trip, ending with voluntary turnover.

So it just makes sense to capitalize and build on that early excitement, but how can we make sure we are really connecting with our new employees so that we may tap into their reservoir of energy and effort?

Onboarding―a longer process than most people think

Most people believe that onboarding begins with their first day of work. We take a different view: we believe that onboarding starts with their very first contact with the organization and doesn't end until the close of their first year of employment. How you handle the critical bonding opportunities will determine the level of engagement and the longevity of tenure of your new employee.

Every contact with the suspect who hopefully becomes a prospect, who hopefully becomes a candidate, who hopefully becomes a team member, is important. However that first contact is critically important. Whether it is an online job position or a newspaper advertisement or an inbound telephone call, how the individual feels at the end of the contact is crucial.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.