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Onboarding Employee Experience Hospitality

8 Tips for Onboarding in the Hospitality Industry

October 26, 2023
7 min read

Supercharge Your Onboarding Process


It’s never been easy to retain employees in the hospitality industry. Ever since turnover spiked to 130% during the pandemic and remained as high as 85% into 2021, it’s been even more of a challenge. Total employment in the industry still hasn’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels. If your human resources team is like most, you’re balancing the need for fast hiring with the need for effective retention strategies.

Although hospitality is, by nature, a high-turnover industry, there are many proven methods you can try for boosting retention. One of those is implementing an onboarding process. When done well, onboarding can improve retention by up to 50%. It increases engagement and helps employees prepare for their responsibilities and adjust to a new work environment.

If you’re new to restaurant and hotel onboarding or want to overhaul your current onboarding process, you’re in the right place. We’ve got eight onboarding tips to share for bringing on new employees in the hospitality industry.

🍳🍷 Want to reduce turnover and improve guest experiences at your hotel or restaurant? Explore these 8 invaluable onboarding tips for the hospitality industry:

1. Create Onboarding Checklists for HR and New Hires

Did you know new hires complete 54 onboarding tasks, on average? Combined with the work HR teams do to bring on new employees, there are easily dozens more tasks that are part of the onboarding process. Many of those, especially in the hospitality sector, are legally required tasks that you can’t skip, like collecting and storing food safety certifications and conducting training programs for workplace safety, harassment, and other topics.

On top of must-do tasks, you’re also tasked with helping new team members learn the ins and outs of your workplace. With so many moving parts, effective onboarding requires organization, which you can achieve by creating onboarding checklists. An excellent onboarding software solution can save these checklists so you can create unique lists for each role. Avoid mistakes and keep onboarding running smoothly with checklists.

Get ClearCompany’s comprehensive New Hire Onboarding Checklist: Download the Resource

2. Prepare With Pre-boarding

Pre-boarding takes advantage of the time between the date of hire and new employees’ start dates. It's a way to prepare new employees for a successful onboarding period and the rest of their journey on your hospitality team.

Pre-boarding has many advantages. It shows new hires that you’re thrilled to have them joining the team and helps them learn more about company culture and values. You speed up the entire onboarding process by enabling them to complete paperwork and review job-related materials before their first day. Pre-boarding is also an excellent way to diffuse the first-day jitters and build new employees’ excitement, which can contribute to greater job satisfaction.

For your HR team and hiring managers, pre-boarding streamlines the administrative and logistical aspects of hiring. It helps ensure everything is in place and ready for the new hire's arrival. Pre-boarding is proactive, allowing you to anticipate and resolve any last-minute issues and set the stage for a seamless and positive onboarding process.


3. Automate Your Workflows

56% of managers who aren’t using digital onboarding software spend three or more hours on manual onboarding for each employee. HR teams spend an estimated $200 per employee on administrative tasks and up to 30 hours hiring each employee. Bring costs down and save countless hours by automating onboarding workflows.

With an excellent onboarding system, your team can:

  • Automatically transfer employee data to other systems, like payroll and benefits management software, eliminating data entry mistakes and saving time.
  • Write welcome emails faster than ever with AI assistance and schedule their send so you stay in touch with new hires and kick off pre-boarding at the appropriate time.
  • Schedule one-on-one check-ins for the entirety of the onboarding process.
  • Give employees the ability to access all the company information they need without asking an HR employee thanks to self-service portals and AI chatbots.

Interested in HR Automation and AI? Learn more about how HR is using this cutting-edge technology for efficiency and productivity.

4. Coordinate Orientation and Onboarding Efforts

Orientation and onboarding are not mutually exclusive, though they’re often treated that way. Orientation covers fundamental knowledge about the organization and company policies and introduces new hires to company culture. Onboarding is where employees receive role-specific training and learn detailed job responsibilities.

When you coordinate these efforts, you provide new hires with a well-rounded introduction to the company and to their role. This way, your new hires are empowered by understanding the big picture and where they fit into it.

5. Tailor Employee Onboarding Experiences

Creating tailored onboarding experiences for different roles in your hospitality business is well worth the time and effort. Why is it so crucial in hospitality? Think about the differences between a front desk receptionist, a chef, and a housekeeping attendant. Each role demands unique skill sets, knowledge, and responsibilities, and custom onboarding means you can address those needs and enable smoother transitions from new hire to full-time.

Tailored onboarding experiences require creating role-specific training programs, adapting the pace of the onboarding process, and providing resources and guidance. It helps new hires understand their job requirements and feel that their unique skills and talents are appreciated.

Custom onboarding can be the first step in fostering higher engagement long-term, too. When employees receive training and support that’s aligned with their roles, they're more likely to feel confident and motivated in their positions. That leads to both improved performance and higher guest satisfaction.

Tailored onboarding plans can lead to higher guest satisfaction for hospitality businesses like hotels and restaurants. Get 7 more tips for excellent onboarding:

6. Make It Easy to Communicate

Clear and efficient communication is the lifeblood of a successful organization, especially in the fast-paced hospitality industry. Communication channels that are open, accessible, and well-organized are a cornerstone of effective onboarding.

During onboarding, provide new hires with the tools and information they need to communicate effectively within the team. Introduce them to your organization's preferred communication platforms, whether it's email, Slack, or another system. New employees should know how they can quickly and easily reach out to their colleagues, managers, and support staff.

Open and transparent communication is just as important. You should ensure new hires feel comfortable asking questions and sharing their perspectives. A culture of clear communication from day one fosters an environment where issues aren’t ignored, and misunderstandings are minimized.

7. Check In and Ask for New Hires’ Feedback

Creating a plan isn’t the only aspect of good onboarding. It’s important to follow up with employees and ensure they’re learning everything at the right pace. With 86% of employees saying they don’t feel heard or listened to at work, there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to communicating with your employees.

Schedule regular check-ins, either as one-on-one meetings or group sessions, to see how employees are doing. Make these check-ins an open and safe space for new employees to voice their thoughts, concerns, and questions. Actively listen to their feedback so you can address issues promptly and provide support. It also helps you identify pain points and areas where additional training or guidance is needed.

Remember, feedback is a two-way street. Be sure to provide them with feedback about their performance during the onboarding period. This transparent communication builds trust, ensures everyone is on the same page, and helps new hires make a seamless transition into their new roles.

8. Learn From Your Data

When you use onboarding software, you don’t just benefit from fast, automated workflows and no paperwork. The best onboarding solutions offer people analytics tools that take the guesswork out of your onboarding strategy. Thanks to analytics, you can glean tons of insights from your data. Get the answers to questions like:

  • Is my onboarding program adequately preparing new hires for their roles?
  • What is the employee retention rate among new hires? Did the changes we made to the onboarding plan help or hurt retention?
  • How have customer service ratings been impacted by onboarding?
  • How do new employees feel about their onboarding experience?

Those are just a few of the hypothetical questions that onboarding software can help you answer. Armed with this knowledge, you’re better equipped to make decisions about your people. For example, if new hires are still unsure about company policies after onboarding, you might adjust onboarding and training to include a meeting or video that more clearly explains the policies.

With the help of powerful onboarding software and a sound onboarding process, you can master hospitality onboarding. Start your valuable new hires off strong, give them the tools they need to succeed, and retain them long-term so you can be confident that your hotel or restaurant is providing high-quality customer experiences every time.

With the right onboarding system, you get all the tools you need to execute outstanding hotel and food and beverage onboarding programs:

  • New hire portal where new employees can complete pre-boarding and onboarding activities on their own time
  • Bulk onboarding to quickly onboarding multiple new staff members
  • Electronic storage and access for both HR and employees to documents, certifications, employee handbooks, standard operating procedures (SOPs), company directory, and more
  • Welcome packets specific to each role, including a checklist to keep HR and new hires on track

See why ClearCompany is the must-have Onboarding solution for the hospitality industry. Get in touch to schedule a demo with a ClearCompany expert.

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