Employees were merely tolerated, rather than welcomed

During my years as a valet parker at a luxury hotel, we learned how to bookend our service with something called the gold standard of hospitality.

Every guest would receive a warm, sincere greeting, and a fond farewell. This act assured that the first and last interaction, as brief as our exchange might have been, still reinforced our mission of extraordinary service.

Guests couldn’t walk in or out of the property without being reminded that we were glad to see them.

Moore’s book on ageless souls calls this the art of being seen. To be is to be perceived. To have your being, your life and vitality, you need to be seen. When you are seen for exactly who you are, you have your being. Your being seen pushes you forward into existence.

One way companies often fall flat with this act is through the first moment of the employee journey. Saying hello.

Takes me back to my first marketing job. Upon showing up at the new office on day one, there was hardly a peep among the team. A few people looked up from their screen and waved, but there was no orientation, no welcome email, no kickoff breakfast, just a desk.

My boss’s words still ring in my head:

Our tightly knit team is a bit of a cult of personality, and it takes a while for them to warm up to new people. Think of it an immune system, and it’s very protective of foreign bodies.

Good to know. Appreciate the hospitality. When’s lunch?

To my disappointment, their standoffish culture persisted well beyond the first day. Even as other new team members were hired after me, the place always felt like employees were merely tolerated, rather than welcomed. Which made people feel isolated, despite sitting at the same big table.

No wonder turnover was so high.

A chilly reminder that if you want to build an amazing company culture, you don’t need guards at the gates, you need a welcoming committee.

When someone new begins, a cadence of moments should follow. Announce their arrival, give them a tour, regale them with some company lore, bring snacks, take pictures, assign them a buddy, plan a team outing, and so on.

Whatever it takes to create a warm welcome.

Remember, hospitality is the work of the host, not the guest.

Don’t make new employees feel like furniture everyone is walking around. 

How does your company practice the art of being see on day one?


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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