For crying out loud, when can we stop saying “How can we be more like Airbnb and Uber?” and just do it?! Here is the actual how:
In its fledgling days, Airbnb experimented to provide customers with increasing levels of greatness until they had reached the ultimate travel experience (why couldn’t we be one of their test subjects!?). They kept pushing the envelope, higher and higher, until they felt they reached the pinnacle in travel…aptly named the 11-star experience. Imagine above and beyond luxury, service, and enjoyment!
It got us thinking, what is a 5-star experience in senior living? How about 6, 7…11-stars? We pondered this question from the point of view of the senior living employee, specifically the new hire. What would it take to move the ordinary into the extraordinary for the new employee experience?
The answer to this question may lie in the 11-star experience!
The idea of a magical experience for a new hire in this field is a bit overwhelming. What is this star rating anyway? Let’s use a 5-star hotel stay as our frame of reference. We can all imagine this! A 5-star hotel would have the best-appointed rooms, the most beautiful décor, an amazing lobby, top-notch service, delicious food, and amenities galore. But this is a luxury hotel. What about in our world…what is the 5-star new hire experience?
Imagine starting your first day at an organization and having the metaphorical red carpet rolled out for you. You feel welcome, valued, and important on day 1! This would be your ultimate experience at a new job, right? A 5-star experience! But…could it be better?
The 11-Star Experience in action.
The 11-star experience is an exercise we do with clients to get them thinking of how they can provide new hires a memorable, if not magical, experience. We know that if new hires are happy, the spillover effect is huge! Retention rates rise! Great employee referrals start rolling in!
Our client, Rowntree Gardens in California, took this exercise to heart and implemented a stellar program. They now send new hires home with a surprise: a meal for the entire family on their first day of work! It is an unexpected gesture that certainly takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary! Think these acts are too small to make a difference? Think again!
How does a 50% decrease in 90-day turnover and a 53% increase in employee referrals sound?
After our work with Rowntree’s orientation process, they experienced these jaw dropping results. Providing a more meaningful new hire experience makes for a more engaged new hire who’s more likely to tell the world “You want to work here too!”.
When doing the 11-star exercise with our clients at Friendship in Virginia, we told them about the successful meal program at Rowntree. Chuck Flynn, Assisted Living Administrator, was quick to implement the meal program for his staff. As luck would have it, a new Director of Nursing was being on boarded the following week. This employee was not going home to tell friends and family about the long day of training she endured. Instead, she would be beaming with dinner in hand and one less thing to do that evening. “Who knew thinking out of the box would create such a great first impression! Everyone involved in this benefited…from the new employee to the leadership. It was a great thing to be a part of and we look forward to continuing it.” This scaled 11-star experience is all about thinking outside of the norm and providing a more elevated and celebratory start to an employee’s, hopefully, long tenure with the organization.
Keep in mind if it’s too easy or too reasonable it may not be enough.
There are many simple ways to impress new hires and make their start with your organization ‘nice’. Creating a name tag ahead of time so the new hire doesn’t have to wear a hand-written, temporary one sends the message “You already belong here”. Greeting your new hire with a welcome sign and a social media post is a nice touch. Add a personalized sentiment toelevate the gesture, “Mary’s always had a passion for caring, and we’re thrilled that she’s bringing her friendly smile to …”.
But an 11-star experience should make you say “Can we do that!?”. And the idea is sure to make at least one person in the room uncomfortable. And that’s the point — get out of your comfort zone! Impractical ideas often make the best impressions.
Impractical ideas create the WOW.
Giving an employee a restaurant gift card is reasonable and thoughtful. Giving a prepared meal is unexpected, some may say impractical. By it’s elevated nature the gifted meal creates a more lasting impression. It feels bigger, grander. Stop second guessing feasibility and be awed by the ideas you generate and the results you ignite!
Let us know how you plan to give your new hires the 11-star treatment?
Oh, and we took the liberty of researching what a red carpet would cost, and let’s just say $20 would be a worthwhile investment to make events, (resident and staff) more memorable!
If you want more impractical ideas, follow us on LinkedIn and look for our weekly Vlog, the Culture Connection.