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New Employee Orientation

We will orient you to who we are—our heart, our soul, our goals, our vision,
our dreams, so you can join us and not just work for us. You have
the right to know our hopes, our dreams, and our goals.
Horst Schultz, former president and COO, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

After completing this article, you will be able to
* Describe the benefits of providing new-employee orientation.
* Identify areas that should be covered in new-employee orientation.
* Explain why orientation should precede job training.
* Recognize that a new-employee orientation program helps to improve employee
* Identify the manager or supervisor’s role in new-employee orientation.
As a new hospitality manager or supervisor, you have
worked very hard to recruit, interview, and select the perfect
applicant to fill the job opening in your restaurant or lodging operation. You
have made the all-important job offer, and the applicant has accepted! However,
if industry statistics ring true, sometime within the next three to four months,
your new employee will have moved on to another job in your competition’s
restaurant or hotel. Perhaps you did not do a good job of matching the right ap-
plicant with the right job opening. Or perhaps you failed to successfully familiarize
your employee with the company’s mission and policies or didn’t train
him adequately from the start. One of the primary reasons for conducting workplace
orientation with brand-new employees is to ease their transition into
your place of business and to make them feel good about their decision to come
to work for you.

If you have ever taken a brand-new job, then you know what it is like to show up
on your first day of work, not knowing much of anything or anybody. Most new
employees who are thrown into this kind of environment will feel a certain level
of anxiety, and they certainly do not yet have the knowledge or experience to become
a valuable and productive member of the team. An employee orientation
program that is well-thought-out can work wonders when it comes to new employees
socializing in the workplace. Socialization is the ongoing process
through which new employees begin to understand and accept the values,
norms, and beliefs held by others in the organization. Good orientation programs
are designed to familiarize new employees with their roles, the organization,
its policies, and other employees. Some organizations refer to this process
as a “gentle brainwashing;” others simply see orientation as getting the new employee
started on the right foot.
Large hospitality organizations such as hotel and restaurant chains may have
rather extensive employee orientation programs. New food and beverage
servers who are employed at Nashville’s famous Opryland Hotel may spend as
much as two and one-half days in new-employee orientation before they ever
begin actual on-the-job training. Of course, this makes sense when you consider
that the Tennessee hotel has nearly 3000 guest rooms and more than 16 different
restaurants, lounges, and bars. In general, the larger the facility and the
more extensive the operation, the lengthier and more in-depth the orientation
program will need to be.

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