When the pandemic hit, Le Meridien St. Louis Clayton’s Front Office Manager, Ryan Ebert, found himself, like many of us, locked in his apartment for weeks on end. Rather than sitting idle waiting for his property to reopen, Ryan used the forced downtime to tackle a project he had always wanted to accomplish; the creation of a detailed, 161 page on-boarding checklist and training procedures document for new front office hires!
Micrometrics Marketing Lead, Dave Hale, sat down with Ryan to discuss some of the main points of his plan, including:
- The process for developing his detailed on-boarding checklist
- Scaling the checklist
Ryan began his journey toward a career in hospitality in the most unlikely of places, an engineering program at the University of Missouri. After a short while of internships, he realized that he was much too extroverted for the lifestyle and decided to pivot into a career in hospitality. Once transferred into a hospitality program he tacked on another year at college to make it happen and Ryan began working for The Hampton Inn Suites just down the road from the university as well as working as a bar manager. From there he was all in and went on to work for such notable locations as The Ritz Carlton Tucson and The St Regis Miami until, under unfortunate COVID circumstances, he was furloughed. Talk about turning a negative into a positive, Ryan didn’t sit back and wait for things to get back to normal, he decided to take the industry by storm, develop an amazing 161 page on-boarding checklist and training procedures document and move to St Louis to open Le Meridien St. Louis Clayton.
What do you think it is about Le Meridien St. Louis Clayton that you’re most proud of and the work that’s gone into opening?
Ryan believes that the majority of their success has come from a focus on guest experience. Everything from the bright welcoming lobby, to the staff’s focus on “customer service 1000%” as per Ryan. “With COVID going on, everyone kind of got used to saying no no no, and we’re trying to bring back the yes”. Ryan recalled an instance where a guest was craving a particular type of sandwich and rather than go on about how it was not on the menu, Ryan had a quick conversation with the chef to see if they could make it happen, and they did! After a long drive, that little gesture went a long way to amplifying the guest’s experience.
Can you go into detail about what you did with your down time while you were furloughed and holed up at home?
“Well, I decided that I should maybe look for how to better myself for whenever this pandemic ended and it would be a great opportunity to take this time to really dive into creating a new hire checklist that goes through everything A to Z related to onboarding as well as a guide for employees to have with them once onboarding has been completed as a reference guide for continued learning as issues and opportunities arise.” When Dave asked Ryan why he thought other hotels that he had worked at didn’t have a resource such as this, Ryan said, “ Most of the time, in hotels, you’re constantly moving 24/7”. So Ryan took the negative from COVID, all of the closures and down time, and turned it into a positive by creating an accessible resource that new and seasoned employees alike could reference in order to streamline their customer service skills.
During his time away from work, Ryan used the down time to “put pen to paper” and brain dump all of his customer service knowledge and hospitality experience in order to create this resource that has evolved into the 161 page “Standard Operating Procedures” for Le Meridien St Louis Clayton. When asked to elaborate on the biggest highlights of those 161 pages, Ryan went on to say that, “Overall I was trying to provide answers to guest or employee questions that I was not available in person to address right away. With COVID creating issues like minimal staffing and much more, streamlining processes is key and that is exactly what I created this document to do.”
So, what’s next for you in terms of how do you think you can take what you’ve done and scale it to apply more fundamentally to the guest experience, or food and beverage service, or amenities and entertainment and so on?
“Well, I really want to work with the right professionals like Micrometrics to see if we can come up with a good way of building off this checklist, take my assortment of Excel spreadsheets and consolidate it into a more efficient platform to tackle staff training and elevated guest experience. Instead of having to reference a manager for an answer to a question, and then that manager leaves and takes the knowledge with them, our staff have that knowledge available for them to study and use as they wish, that’s our goal.”
As we can see from this interview, Ryan at Le Meridien St Louis Clayton is well on his way to taking their guest experience to a whole new level. Streamlining the onboarding process for new hires by making Standard Operating Procedures more accessible and digestible can potentially set a new industry standard for hospitality professionals around the world. If you are interested in gaining full access to Ryan’s 161 page onboarding checklist follow the link below.