Things are almost back to normal in the workplace. But whilst most other industries benefitted from the exposure to hybrid working models brought about by the pandemic, hospitality paid a price.
The very face-to-face nature of the industry meant that most were furloughed with no opportunity to work from home. They enjoyed a new lease of life and bountiful personal time, and now that we return to work, our industry simply doesn’t have much opportunity for flexible working arrangements. Hospitality especially should have in place some steps to re-evaluate their leadership and mentoring styles to ensure that we adopt a more collaborative, forward thinking, and flexible mindset for a new attitude in hospitality environments.
Do not underestimate how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the health, mental wellbeing, lifestyle, financial situation, and family dynamics of your employees. Everybody has been affected in one way or another and to set expectations based on pre-pandemic strategies will undoubtedly have detrimental consequences to your business.
Talk to your employees regularly – ask them about their experiences and make sure they feel supported and safe whilst at work.
Work collaboratively with employees to ensure the processes and risk assessments that have been put in place are effective and achieve the objective.
Devise a wellbeing strategy to ensure it is being addressed consistently
Invest in some Mental Awareness training on all levels and consider the structures of work which cause the underlying issues.
Invest in an Employee Assistant Program to give employees a platform to gain professional advice on matters which you perhaps cannot help with.
The opinions and debates surrounding Covid and more currently the Covid-19 Vaccination program are divisive. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and should not have any fear in voicing such opinions if necessary. Healthy debate should be encouraged, dysfunctional arguments should not.
It should be made clear to all employees returning, that this is the view of the business and employees being disrespectful of other colleagues’ opinions will not be tolerated.
Ensure you have a section within your Covid policy relating to respecting colleagues’ opinions on this matter.
Talk to employees who are reluctant to return to work because of Covid concerns and discuss options and adjustments that could be made.
Be very cautious of introducing any form of vaccine policy.
Many people have used the pandemic to evaluate their life priorities and research has shown that over 50% of employees that were placed on furlough and subsequently had their contracts terminated are not looking to return to work any time soon. Those that are returning to the workplace are not necessarily looking to return on the same hours and days that they left on and are very clear on their views regarding the life/work balance.
Have a flexible approach to working hours and review your operational processes to accommodate for this
Consider home/hybrid working for those employees that can
Do not transfer the burden of staff shortages onto your existing employees by forcing them to take on more hours and responsibility.
Always have a Plan B in place for if/when the Government make any changes to the current working guidelines
Be more aware
Now, more than ever, the need for current HR policies and procedures is paramount. The Good Work Plan that was commissioned in 2018 proposed huge employment law changes, many of which came into effect in 2020. For those businesses that were forced to close at this time, this may have resulted in these changes not being implemented and exposing businesses to non-compliance.
Review all policies and procedures ensuring they are up to date with current legislation
Review all contracts, in particular working patterns
Review the current issues which employees and the wider world are discussing and ensure you are addressing them in the workplace.
Be a dynamic leader
A more dynamic and humane style of management and leadership is needed to help employees adapt to constant changes both within the workplace and the wider world. Research has shown that employees need much more compassion from their managers to feel emotionally stable in a very unstable environment and this needs to start with managers moving away from traditional, hierarchical control and addressing their own emotional and psychological development.
Always be open and honest with your employees regardless of whether the news is good or bad. People respond so much better to the known than the unknown.
Keep communication channels consistent and current, ensuring information is passed on immediately.
Show Empathy and Listen – Develop these skills if you do not have them!
Research and learn everything you can about existing models of hybrid working teams and figure out the best way of managing this new dynamic which suits the business and the employee
Show humility – the best leaders and managers know when to admit that they are wrong or when they do not know.
To discuss your Hospitality HR needs, get in touch with London Rock Partners for a chat. We live and breathe hospitality and provide management teams the support they need to thrive in a post-pandemic landscape.
Director of Talent & Training | London Rock Partners
SLK Training & HR Solutions
About London Rock Partners
Born in a post-pandemic hospitality landscape, London Rock Partners is a new approach to hotel management. They go beyond the tried and tested to deliver a standard of innovation to which the industry aspires.
Guided by their innate understanding of hospitality, they draw inspiration from the prospect of ‘what if?’ and 'what next?' to ensure consistent over delivery to clients.
London Rock Partners provides a full range of service hospitality solutions including:
For more information: