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Three Key Benefits of Prioritizing Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

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NATIONAL REPORT—It’s no secret that the hospitality industry has had one of the highest employee turnover rates—since well before the pandemic.

High turnover rates in any industry are a big cost to the company, and in a high-pressure sector like hospitality, the associated costs can be huge. Not only tangible costs, such as the expenses of recruiting and training new employees, but also the substantial cost of lost productivity among staff. In fact, reduced productivity costs the global economy around 1 trillion dollars each year.

Luckily, recent research shows that concentrating on the mental health of your talent can not only increase staff productivity and reduce staff turnover, but also enhance the guest experience with a proven effect on your bottom line. Here are a few strategies to help you achieve that:

A little goes a long way to cultivate an engaged company culture. Improving company culture is a change that takes place within the heart of an organization. It can be as simple as thanking employees for their hard work or opening a line of communication between leadership and staff.

When employees feel heard and understood by leaders, they are more likely to become advocates for positive company culture, and of course, less likely to want to leave. Effective communication strategies that encourage transparency—without a culture of fear—are essential to strengthen company culture. For example:

  • One-on-one meetings between leaders and employees to offer support and solutions;
  • Department meetings to discuss progress and address any challenges; and
  • Interdepartmental meetings that encourage participation and collaboration on projects.

Happier employees mean a better guest experience. Leaders who know their employees can empower them to utilize their strengths and talents.

When employees feel valued and heard, their enthusiasm for what they do will be evident in the way that they interact with guests, as well as their team members, to create an exceptional guest experience. People who are passionate about what they do, in turn, have higher job satisfaction and, as a result, are more engaged and productive at work.

On the other hand, low employee engagement can spread dissatisfaction among staff and lower morale. According to a Gallup study, employees who aren’t thriving in the workplace are 61 percent more likely to experience burnout as a result of feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

Streamlined processes increase productivity, not workload. Personal well-being and an improved work-life balance are increasingly important factors for employees—particularly for younger generations entering the workforce.

According to a hotel executive survey, 47 percent of respondents noted that flexible work hours are very effective when attracting new hires. Fortunately, with the continuous advancements in technology, there are ways to increase staff productivity while reducing workload for improved flexibility. For example, hoteliers can look at:

  • Leveraging AI tools to automate and schedule repetitive tasks;
  • Utilizing workforce management technology to optimize productivity;
  • Implementing cloud-based PMS solutions for greater flexibility and improved efficiency; and
  • With the help of technology to save time on mundane tasks, hotel staff will be able to focus on more important tasks while minimizing the danger of burning out and ultimately dropping out.

Like any investment, achieving these benefits requires work.

  • Although prioritizing mental health can lead to positive changes, they won’t happen overnight. Like any goal that implies a collective change of behavior, this pursuit requires an investment of time and resources.
  • However, it also has its tangible ROI: the positive results of making mental health a priority (such as improved guest experience) represent a value add that you can charge a premium for. In fact, people are prepared to pay 14 percent more for a hotel stay with excellent service, and they are more likely to return to a hotel where they’ve had a positive experience.
  • An increased focus on mental health may also be part of the solution to the industry-wide staffing crisis, as many of the strategies above represent corrective measures to the most common reasons why talent chooses to leave the industry.

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