Visitors are back in the workplace at higher numbers than ever! To prepare to welcome them and to give them a great experience at your company, it’s time to dust off your company’s workplace visitor policy and update it to meet new expectations.
A great policy will make a great first impression, helping to win over job candidates and impress customers, business partners, event attendees, and anyone else visiting your workplace. It’ll also help you keep up with competitors and build your company reputation.
A wow-worthy visit to the workplace takes hard work and planning. This guide will act as your map for creating a solid visitor experience, complete with tips on how to build your visitor policy and ensure guests feel warmly welcomed from the moment they’re invited to the workplace.
Read on to learn:
01: What is visitor management and why is it important?
Visitor management is a set of policies and procedures that helps an organization keep track of anyone visiting their physical workplaces. A thoughtful visitor management policy can help you:
- Keep everyone on-site safe. Identify folks before they enter the workplace and ensure they share required information with your team before stepping foot on-site.
- Manage visitor data and stay in compliance. Capture and securely store everything you need from visitors to remain in compliance with the latest local regulations.
- Save time. Automate your visitor workflow to avoid having to handwrite badges, keep track of signed agreements (e.g., NDAs), and track down employees when their guests arrive.
- Create a great visitor experience. Digitize the visitor sign-in process so guests have a smooth experience starting from the moment they’re invited.
02: How to create a global workplace visitor policy
What should your visitor policy include?
While visitor policies may vary by location or region, they should all contain the same core information. You should alter your policy to suit your organization. In general, it should clarify:
Who has permission to invite workplace visitors: Can any employee invite a guest to the workplace or only select employees? Be sure to specify which teams, roles, or individuals have the authority to invite people on-site.
What types of visitors are welcome: Who qualifies as a workplace visitor? Typical visitor types include job candidates, vendors, customers, contractors, event attendees, family members or friends of employees, delivery people, investors, and business partners. We’ll talk about how to build custom sign-in flows for different visitor types later.
Visitor rules and procedures: Do guests need to take any actions or absorb any information before their visit? Here are some rules and procedures to consider including:
- Visitors should sign necessary documents (e.g., a guest non-disclosure agreement) before they arrive on-site
- Visitors should sign in at the [reception/front desk] and show some form of identification
- Visitors should receive badges upon arrival and return them to the [reception/front desk]
- Visitors are allowed on-site during working hours. [HR/management] must approve visits outside of these hours
- Visitors should be told where they do and do not have access to in the workplace
- Visitors should submit health documentation before they arrive on-site
- Visitors should be given instructions on how they can securely access the company’s internet
Who is not allowed into the workplace: Who should be prohibited from entering the workplace? This may include certain individuals or entire groups. As a best practice, maintain an up-to-date watch list to ensure everyone on-site meets your criteria for entry.
How to scale your policy across all your locations
Once you have your visitor policy in place, it’s time to put it into action across the organization. Scaling your policy to other locations ensures a consistent guest experience and reduces duplicative work for your team. Here are a few pointers for rolling out your visitor policy:
Use an enterprise-grade visitor management platform across your organization
Your workplace management platform should help you standardize your visitor processes across locations and deploy them to new sites. It should also be able to handle personal identifiable information securely, collect the necessary information from visitors to meet compliance needs, and maintain a single system of record of your visitors’ information. Think of your technology as a way to enforce your guest policies at scale in a streamlined and compliant way.
Train employees on your visitor policy
Present the policy in a live company-wide training. This training should include a run-through of the policy, example scenarios, and a Q&A session. You should also include a training on your visitor policy during employee onboarding and make it available to employees on-demand. If you’ve updated an existing visitor policy, be sure to call out what has changed. Following the training, send employees a summary of the policy, any action items required of them, and a link to where they can find the policy.
Store the policy in a place that is accessible to all employees
On that last note, your visitor policy should live somewhere that’s easy for employees to access. This might be on your company’s shared drive or intranet. Ideally, the policy is in a web-based format that’s easy to update. This will ensure there aren’t outdated versions of the policy floating around, which will cause confusion. Be sure to let employees know where the policy lives so they can access it in a few clicks.
Regularly remind employees of your visitor policy
Don’t be afraid to repeat messages. Repetition works. Be sure folks understand A) that you have a visitor policy, B) what it entails, and C) why it’s important. New employees are far more likely to follow the policy if they see that it’s standard practice across your organization. And the first step in accomplishing that is achieving broad awareness.
Announce any updates to your visitor policy
Be sure to send out notifications over your company’s communication channels when you make changes to the policy. Notify folks across different channels, including an all-company meeting, if possible. The internal announcement should include A) what’s changed, B) why your company made the change, C) who the change impacts, and D) when the change goes into effect. Keeping employees in the loop will reduce the mistakes they make when inviting guests on-site. It’ll also help minimize pushback on the changes because employees will understand the reason behind the changes.
Call out local policy differences
Be sure employees understand the details of their local visitor policy. Send a note to employees at each location—via email or a channel like Slack—that summarizes the regional differences. A few bullet points that cover A) what the differences are and B) the reason behind them will be sufficient.
When it comes to creating a visitor policy that’s effective across your entire organization, remember: simple is better. Rather than creating a custom policy for each of your physical locations, you can scale a single policy across your organization and make location-specific changes as needed. Make sure the policy itself is clear so employees can follow it. This means writing it in clear, concise language and including examples and instructions throughout. The clearer your policy, the more effective it’ll be at keeping folks safe and happy on-site. Finally, rather than using various tools across different locations, it’s important to arm your team with visitor management technology that can scale across the enterprise.
03: How to ensure guests have a great experience at your workplace
With a workplace visitor policy in place, you can focus on an equally important task—wowing your guests. No matter who steps into your workplace—a job candidate, vendor, customer, investor—you have an opportunity to impress them with a great experience. In this section, we’ll cover how to create a best-in-class visitor experience.
Why does creating a great visitor experience matter?
The visitor experience begins the moment a guest is invited to the workplace and it ends when they leave the premises. Here’s why you should invest in the whole experience—from beginning to end, and everything in between.
A great visitor experience…
Gets guests excited to come on-site. Before agreeing to go on-site, guests want to know details about their visit. Where’s the office located? Will there be parking on-site? Is the workplace safe? A best-in-class visitor experience gives folks the information they need beforehand to feel confident saying “yes” to the invite.
Reduces hassle. By simplifying the tedious (but necessary) part of registering to come on-site, your guests can focus on the purpose of their visit. Your visitors will appreciate the streamlined experience and will be ready to take on the task at hand—be that an interview, important meeting, or lunch delivery.
Makes a great first impression. With a polished welcome to the workplace, you can directly impact how people see and experience your brand. This could influence how people talk about your organization with business contacts, friends, and on review sites (which your executive team will no doubt hear about).
7 actionable tips for wowing your visitors
Now that you know why it’s important to create a great visitor experience, it’s time to learn how to go about doing it. A memorable visit to the workplace requires many different steps coming together to create one wow-worthy experience. Not sure where to start? Follow these tips:
- Tip 1: Digitize the sign-in experience. An enjoyable, hassle-free visitor experience starts with ditching the pen and paper visitor log. Instead, choose visitor registration technology that streamlines all of the steps of guest registration from a sleek iPad at the front desk (or a mobile app for a touchless experience). This will allow you to shift your focus from logistics to ensuring your guests feel welcome and at ease in the workplace.
- Tip 2: Have guests certify that they’re healthy before they arrive. Health and safety remains a top priority for the workplace. To encourage guests to accept their invite on-site, conduct a health screening or ask them to submit their proof of vaccination before they arrive. They’ll feel more at ease knowing you’ve taken measures to keep everyone on-site safe and healthy.
- Tip 3: Keep the lobby clutter-free. Treat your lobby like you would your home when you have guests over. A clean, well-organized lobby reflects well on your company as a whole. On the flip side, a messy, disorganized space can leave a bad first impression. Set the right tone by tidying up the lobby every day—or multiple times a day, if necessary.
- Tip 4: Upgrade your waiting area. Building on the tip above, your lobby shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be designed as thoughtfully as any other part of the workplace. Beyond comfortable seating, provide guests with refreshments, reading material, and company swag to take home. Finally, don’t underestimate the importance good lighting can have on creating a welcoming environment.
- Tip 5: Give visitors fast, secure access to WiFi. Some guests will need access to the internet while on-site. To grant WiFi access securely, use a WiFi provisioning service. This will provide each of your guests with a unique WiFi network and password credentials. They’ll have easy access to the internet without compromising your network’s security.
- Tip 6: Show off your brand. Make it clear whose lobby your guests are in by incorporating your brand’s colors or adding design elements that show off your company’s values. For example, at their headquarters in San Francisco, Samsara’s front desk looks sleek and streamlined, like its brand. They’ve incorporated a few stand-out features, including an LED sign of the company’s name.
- Tip 7: Tailor your visitor experience by visitor type. The mark of a best-in-class visitor experience is customization. You might welcome candidates differently than you would business partners or vendors. Note which visitor types are most common and think through the end-to-end experience for each. For example, you may have a business partner sign an NDA upon arrival, while a vendor might only have to sign in to be recorded in your digital visitor log. Your recruiting team might greet an interview candidate to give them a welcome package and escort them to a meeting room.
Remember, your guests didn’t come to the workplace to sign NDAs, fuss over WiFi, or wait long in the lobby. By ensuring their visit is seamless from start to finish, they’ll be able to focus on the purpose of their visit. If you follow the tips above, they’ll leave the workplace with their expectations not only met, but exceeded.