Employee wellbeing is rising up the agenda across all industries, and World Mental Health Day (10 October) provides an opportune moment for the hospitality sector to ensure it is providing support and a welcome environment for staff.
We’ve all heard the phrase “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” However, does this demonstrate that we accept the association between hospitality and stress? In a fast-paced environment, it is easy for tensions to fray and the mental health of employees to decline. Take into account staff shortages and mounting pressures affecting the sector, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say reaching a wellbeing crisis.
According to the Royal Society for Public Health, 84% of hospitality workers report increased stress as a direct result of their job. In a report by High Speed Training, we found almost half (43%) of hospitality managers think perceptions around workplace stress is a barrier to entering the industry. More than 250 managers across the UK took part in our research. We found male respondents believed offering workplace wellbeing and mental health support was the best route to encourage more staff to taking hospitality roles.
There are several key things to consider. Most urgent is addressing work-life balance that we can do by willingly demonstrating flexibility and a respect for a ‘life outside of work’. We should give consideration to the lives of team members when planning staff rotas, so they feel valued and ready for work for their shift.
We should encourage staff to talk if they are struggling. Offering mental health training is an effective way to begin conversations. As well as demonstrating your priority in this regard, it will help team members feel heard and respected. In addition, consider whether staff would benefit from other skills-based training to help build confidence and encourage career progression, to encourage staff to stay in the industry and boost retention.
Anyone who works in hospitality will understand how going the extra mile can make your guests feel special. The same is true for your staff. Offering perks, even small gestures such as free food on a long shift, can give someone a boost. Recognise staff who are always on time, those who have the most positive customer feedback in a month, those who support others and are achieving great things – in and out of work.
Those who put time into development will be the future leaders and managers. Staff should be encouraged to be creative, try new things and motivate others. Doing this, is key to creating an inspired workplace, attracting and retaining the right staff.