What My Glamping Trip Taught Me About HR

What My Glamping Trip Taught Me About HR

I recently went on a short getaway trip to Bintan’s Canopi resort where I experienced Glamping (glamourous camping), saw a beautiful lagoon and enjoyed great customer service. The experience over the 3 days made me think further, what did they do to differentiate themselves from other resorts that made the experience stand out so much? How can their approach be translated back to HR practices to create a similarly pleasant employee experience?

Pre-trip reminders

Prior to my trip, the resort sent multiple notifications and reminders to ensure everything was in place. This included my booking details, reminder to book the ferry and asking for my arrival information so as to arrange for a timely pick-up. It helped create a sense of assurance that my trip was taken care off and made me feel that there was something to look forward to.

Likewise, for new hire engagements, it’s important to recognise that the pre-commencement touchpoints are important to get the prospective employees excited while reducing any uncertainty that they may have about the new environment. Once the emotional safety net is established, what is left will be for them to focus on delivering what they set out to achieve.

The warm welcome

Upon arriving at the Bintan ferry terminal, I was greeted warmly by the Canopi crew. They were holding on to a clear signage and it was pretty much a hassle-free experience from the terminal to the resort. After a short bus ride, I arrived at the resort and was once again, welcomed with a nice cold drink and bright smiles from the crew. It was a great start to the holiday to say the least.

A parallel to that will be onboarding. This process pretty much kick starts an employee’s career. Therefore, the tone which you carry that out will determine how the employee experience develops from there. With a positive tone and well developed onboarding programme, employees will feel energised and equipped with the necessary knowledge to push forward. With a bad start on the first day, it might cast doubts in them and possibly create a situation where negativity builds up in the longer term.


Throughout the 3 days, I was constantly greeted with genuine smiles and warm greetings from the energetic crew members. The consistency in their delivery made me feel the authenticity and connected with me on a personal level.

Similarly, for HR to establish its credibility within the organization, it’s imperative to anchor our beliefs with strong principles and be consistent in our approach. Exceptions can be made on a case by case basis but broadly speaking, we need to hold our grounds especially in face of tough situations. That way, we ensure fairness, better connect with employees and can then become a reliable partner that the organization seeks out for advice.

Be a solution-provider

There were a wide range of activities to choose from and even though it’s a good thing, it also created a slight headache for me when deciding what to go for. Thankfully, the crew members were very proactive in recommending programmes according to my needs and preferences which eventually help made things a lot easier.

Very often in organizations, HR is perceived as the guardian of policies. This also creates a situation where HR becomes the “police” and ensure that people adhere to the policy. It’s not wrong to ensure compliance but the issue is, it often results in HR becoming a show-stopper. Instead of delivering value, HR might in turn create barriers. Therefore, it’s important to think of how we can instead become solution providers to help the organization achieve its goals within the safety boundaries yet, exercise judgment and not become a bottleneck. That way, HR can then work towards becoming a strategic partner rather than an administrative support.

Creating the ease of communication

Unlike a usual resort, what I liked best about Canopi was the fact that they created a basic yet effective channel for communication – Whatsapp. It might sound like a simple thing to do but the convenience that it gave me and the anytime, anywhere availability for communication was a clear winner.

Likewise, HR often acts as a bridge between the management and the line managers. It’s important to develop effective communication channels so that information can flow through easily. One way is to utilize technology such as mobile applications. That way, communication channels becomes readily accessible, fast and more effective.

Closing thoughts

The lessons highlighted are not revolutionary but yet highly effective. As a HR practitioner, it’s important to think about the employee experience just like how businesses deal with their customers. After all, only when employees are engaged will they deliver the extra bit and that’s where your winning edge could potentially come from.

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