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Onboarding insights from a prestigious hotel chain

Mar 19, 2019

Onboarding insights from a prestigious hotel chainCaledon’s Millcroft Inn, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s The Prince of Wales, Pillar and Post and Queen’s Landing hotels… these and other award-winning properties under the Vintage Hotels banner tantalize us with images of luxurious accommodations and fine dining. Gracious living at its best.

Bringing this world of ease and comfort to life is an army of employees dedicated to delivering exceptional service, safely.

“Health and safety is ingrained into our culture just as our service levels are,” says Dianna Dymond, Director of Human Resources.

In practice, this means Vintage Hotels has an ongoing training process that ensures everyone understands their health and safety responsibilities, and has the tools and skills to fulfil them. The end result: employees at all levels actively work at keeping themselves and their co-workers safe.

With the Ministry of Labour’s upcoming new and young worker enforcement initiative, May 1 to August 30, these timely training insights can be applied in any organization.

A fresh start every year

Each spring 400 employees or “team members” begin or resume employment at five Vintage Hotels properties. These seasonal team members are mostly in their 20s, have varying levels of experience and work anywhere from the front office, housekeeping and maintenance to food and beverage areas, laundry, kitchens and spa facilities.

Engaging team members in health and safety begins even before their first day on the job with online awareness training. “If they’re a worker, they complete the worker awareness training. If they’re a manager, they take supervisor awareness training,” explains Dianna. “All new and returning employees also go online to complete a workplace harassment component and WHMIS training.”

Once on site, team members receive:

  • orientation training, which introduces new and returning team members to workplace safety. The training provides an understanding of Vintage Hotels’ health and safety program, educates team members on their workplace rights and responsibilities and provides them with tools and resources to work safely.
  • primary training, which involves working one-on-one with a mentor who takes them through the technical aspects of their job, including standard operating procedures that detail safe work practices for every task they perform. Mentors also serve as ongoing resources for team members.
  • management primary training for team members in a supervisor or manager role. Three out of four seasonal employees return from one year to the next, and many move up in the organization. The focus here is on understanding and fulfilling their health and safety responsibilities as a manager. “For instance,” says Dianna, “this training would help them set clear objectives to meet health and safety goals (risk elimination/reduction) and establish transparency in the management of health and safety.”
  • monthly safety talks. HR updates safety talk binders for each department every year, based on its hazards and trends. Dianna cites this example: “In July, we make sure our kitchens have a safety talk about heat stress. We also have talks on knife handling, baggage handling, ergonomics… Every safety talk is unique to each department.”

These training examples are just a sampling of what Vintage Hotels provides to team members. "It all comes down to integrating health and safety awareness into every task," says Dianna. "Health and safety is more than a priority. It’s a part of our culture."

How WSPS can help you integrate health and safety awareness into your culture

According to the Ministry of Labour, new and young workers are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time[1]. Protect these vulnerable workers with the following resources:
  1. Awareness training for workers and supervisors delivered online or by safety experts on site
  2. Orientation eCourses
  3. Downloadable safety topics on how to work safely with specific hazards
  4. Best practices, appearing in a Ministry of Labour guideline on how to keep new and young workers safe
  5. Visit Bring Safety Home for resources and information on keeping young workers safe.

Watch for more on the ministry’s new and young worker initiative in upcoming issues of WSPS eNews.

1. Ontario Ministry of Labour. (2016, July). New and Young Workers. Retrieved from