Is Your Employee Onboarding Like A 5-Star Resort Or A Budget Motel?

May 03, 2022

 Starting a new job is stressful, and let’s be honest, so is hiring someone!


The average US employer spends $4000 and 24 days to hire a new worker. (Business Wire, 2019)


If you are like most small businesses, you may not have a lot of manpower to spare – being down a person for even a fraction of that time can mean even more hard work shared between you and your already hardworking team, all while you are taking on the additional and difficult task to find someone new.

Reviewing and interviewing applicants can feel like a frenzy when candidates often have so many options to choose from. When you finally find the right person and they accept your offer, its finally time to relax… well, maybe not quite yet.


Image Credit: @Mattsurelee


Lets try to put ourselves in your new employees’ shoes. Imagine with me for a moment that you are in their position, but rather than starting a new job, you are a guest at a hotel:

You show up to a hotel you have never been to. You are greeted warmly and introduced to the full staff who tell you how excited they are that you are there, that they have been waiting for guests like you!

After the pleasantries, everyone rushes back to their tasks, leaving you all alone in the lobby. You haven’t been given your room number, a key, or been told when breakfast is, let alone when you have to check out by.

You find a staff member and anxiously ask all your questions, only to be told that they have your key but don’t know which room is yours, and to look for another team member. The next team member has a guess at what time breakfast is, but that isn’t their department so they’re not sure – they recommend you talk to someone else.

It takes several conversations, but you finally talk to enough people to find all the details and make it to your room, exhausted, and concerned about how the place is running at all!

I don’t know about you, but I would not be staying there again!

This sounds crazy, right? A business like that would not be successful! But in many ways, it doesn’t differ much from a budget motel – it offers the bare minimum, but not much more. And if we don’t prepare well for our new employees, they might be feeling a bit of this chaos!

You welcome employees in, have them meet the team, but are all the other pieces in place and organized:

  • Are required paperwork, keys, equipment, and uniforms ready? 
  • Who will show them what the day will look like, and make sure they feel supported?
  • On their second day, do they know what to do and expect, or will they be waiting and searching for guidance and assurance?

We want employees’ onboarding experience to be like a 5-star all-inclusive resort: 

Everything prepared and planned, with all the support and help they need, and a cruise director armed with the schedule of events at the ready.

Your onboarding process is critical - both for the efficiency of your business, but also the engagement of your new employees. Failure to onboard properly may lead to failure to keep your new employee!


“Organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent.” (Brandon Hall Group, 2015)


So how can you avoid a sink-or-swim approach, take full advantage of the onboarding process, and set your employees (and yourself!) up for success?



Do your prep work thoroughly and make sure you are ready before you get to the main event, your employee’s first day. It doesn’t end after the first day either – their employment journey is just beginning. Onboarding is typically anywhere between 90 days - 6 months and can be up to 1 year depending on the position.



What is the plan for their first week, their second week? Our new employee should have a plan, know their expectations, and have a work buddy at the ready to model new tasks, and support the handoff process.



What would success in their role look like at the 90-day mark, and what support can you offer to get them there? Onboarding doesn’t end once they have picked up their day-to-day tasks. Have a plan to follow up regularly and ensure their success is long-term.


We are in a tough labor market – hiring has always been a unique challenge for employers, but the workforce has gone through a lot over the past 2 years, and it has definitely not gotten any easier! In many sectors, employee experiences have been strained and expectations for employers have been heightened, as have the stakes for employers looking to take on new talent. There are more job openings than qualified candidates to fill them.


"Employees are less inclined to stay with a job simply because it provides them with a paycheck. They signed up for a certain experience, and if they do not get that experience, they are more than willing to look elsewhere. Employees are consumers of the workplace.” (Gallup, 2017)


Just as there are intermediate levels of hotel service between the imaginary option described above and a 5-star hotel, there are varying degrees of success that can occur in onboarding new employees. While one of the biggest factors in the hotel industry may be customer service, in onboarding this transpires to commitment, preparation, and support for your employees, and where you fall on the continuum is entirely up to you.


Planning and putting in the time with your new employee now will save you time and money down the road if it can result in a successful committed team member – trust us!

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