Over a roundtable lunch on September 29, some of the most influential names in the Scottish Hospitality industry gathered to discuss mental health and wellbeing.
As a sector, Hospitality has long been associated with unsociable hours, low pay and – thanks to certain TV shows – being at the mercy of a crabbit chef. Coupled with the exodus of talent from the industry due to two years of Covid shut downs, it has left many establishments with staffing crises.
So, how can businesses improve their image? How can Hospitality demonstrate that it is taking a holistic approach to staff wellbeing and engagement?
The first step is to truly engage potential hires before they have even set foot in the door. Use your social media feeds and your website to demonstrate all of the perks and benefits of working within your establishment. Do you engage in charity work? Do you offer better shifts? Is career progression a regular thing? You need to shout about it in order to be on the radar of potential hires.
Another thing that would work in your favour is video interviews. Many people cannot get out of the current shift pattern and so cannot make it in for an in person interview. Video interviews – conducted via Zoom, Skype or Teams – have been the norm for the past couple of years. Why not consider it so that you don’t miss out on diverse talent?
Perks and benefits
When was the last time you had a look at your benefits package for employees? Could it use an update to reflect the times we live in?
Things like salary advances, Wage Stream, workplace loans and travel pass loans are becoming much more common owing to the cost of living crisis. There is also a bigger expectation of wellbeing support and tangible perks. Apps like YuLife or Perkbox could be something that your business invests in.
Wellbeing and balance
Many workplaces have trained some of their existing employees to become Mental Health First Aiders. These employees then provide confidential support for those who might be struggling. This is a huge asset for any business and demonstrates investment in people. Have a think about your existing “empathetic ears” – could they be trained up?
Wellbeing walls – a place where current information on support services – could also be something that appears in your employee break room. It gives people access to information without forcing them to disclose anything publicly. Collate flyers for therapists, LGBT groups, ethnic minority support and so on and make them prominent.
Pleasingly, it does seem the stigma around mental health is lessening in the industry, but it does no harm to offer additional resources.
Food for thought
Potential hires are looking for a job with life, not a job for life. Balance is key in order to attract and retain the brightest and best. Think about your shift patterns, your career progression and the overall demands of each specific role.
Another thing to consider is how important sustainability is to employees. Is your business aligned with the standards and practices expected? What could you be doing to ensure a “greener” approach?
If, as an industry, Hospitality works harder at looking after its people, we will see greater rates of retention, productivity and wellbeing. And who wouldn’t want that?
To find out more about Gordon McIntyre and his charity, Hospitality Health, you can visit their website by clicking this link.