Hire and engage a world-class service team

When I was hired over a decade ago to join a hotel, the general manager told me that if in 6 months the team didn’t improve as a result of my hire, then I had failed. Wow, what pressure! He explained that, just like a sports team, the main goal of bringing in new players is not to take up roster space, but to help the team win more games. At that point, I realized that I wasn’t looking for just another “hot body.” I realized that this would be a different place to work. This would be a place that would value my contributions as a person and let me know that my work ethic and dedication would DIRECTLY influence the success of the team. If you’re wondering what the job was… it was as a busboy in the hotel restaurant.

Surely such high expectations are usually reserved for managers and senior leaders. Why would the general manager place such high expectations on an employee who clears tables and brings bread to the table? Simply put, the GM’s vision was to have a world-class team, and world-class teams have world-class employees…in every role. Even if he was mopping the floor, it had to be world class.

The focus of this article is on the onboarding experience for new employees. The onboarding experience includes the recruiting phase, the hiring phase, the orientation phase, and the department training phase. Each phase should reflect your team’s commitment to excellence and affirm the important role the employee will play in achieving team goals. The best way to build a world-class team of employees is to set very high expectations from the start. So what should be done in each phase?

Recruitment Phase

o Include your company’s tagline, mission statement, and purpose statement in each ad. Also include them in your application.

o While the application is being completed:

– Show a video of what you represent

– Show a video of employee testimonials

– Display a message from the president or other senior leader

o From the beginning of the recruitment phase, applicants should feel that this is not just another job. This is a special place to work. A place where everyone is expected to be a service professional and perform with excellence every day. They must also feel that the company will treat them with excellence.

Recruitment phase

o During the first face-to-face interview, ask “Why do you want to work here?” Anything resembling “I’m looking for a job” should be a red flag. I suspect you want employees who believe in your company and want to be part of a winning team.

o Ask about the applicant’s experience in delivering great service. Hear specific examples…not hypothetical or hypothetical. Remember, you are looking for people who naturally enjoy the service. If they naturally enjoy serving others, then they should have recent examples.

o In addition to the standard HR questions, ask other questions that align with your mission and values. For example, if “taking ownership” is an important value for the team, ask about specific times when they took ownership of a situation. The point is to hire professionals whose personal values ​​reflect the values ​​of your team. If the match is right, you have a recipe for a successful long-term relationship.

o Your ideal prospects should feel like your team is the place they have been looking for their entire career or the place where they would like to establish their careers.

o Assemble a panel of your best employees and conduct peer interviews. This is a great way to keep your best staff engaged! If you want great employees, involve your existing great employees in the hiring process.

Orientation Phase

o Counseling is intended to be a meaningful emotional experience.

o This is your chance to treat your new employees the way you would like your customers to be treated.

o If the orientation is robotic, procedural, or emotionless, this is how most of your team will serve your customers.

o Make sure all signage is clear and leads to the orientation room. Everyone should know who the new employees are. Wouldn’t it be great if the employees involved in the interview process were at the orientation to greet the new hire?

o Make sure each new employee has a marquee with their attractive name and professional informational materials. This is to show that you are prepared for new employees.

o Select a panel of current employees to give testimonials and answer questions. This can be a very memorable part of orientation.

o Senior leaders should be involved in communicating the company’s culture.

Department Formation Phase

o The transition from new employee orientation to department orientation should be seamless.

o A representative/mentor/coach from the new hire’s department must be present at the end of the orientation to greet the new hire.

o The new hire may be presented with a packet that includes a team welcome letter, work schedule, training schedule, and department-specific information.

o Set up a cross-training schedule for your new hires that includes time to spend in other major departments. This will help build empathy and interdependence between departments.

o Bring employees back at least 1 month later for an orientation meeting. This is to see how new hires are doing and to solicit your feedback on ways to improve the team.

With an effective onboarding experience, your new hires will be excited to finally find a company that values ​​excellence. Your commitment to hiring the best will also re-engage your existing employees. They will be happy with your commitment to hiring and mentoring only the best candidates. Whether you’re hiring a busboy or general manager, set high expectations and excellence is sure to follow.

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