Healthy employees are more committed and committed employees are healthier and happier. But what is the connecting between employee wellbeing and employers’ hospitality?
WHY HOSPITALITY MATTERS
We like to set out to explain why the quality of employment should be a matter of significant concern for employers and employees and why hospitality matters.
Most adults spend a large proportion of their lives at work. The workplace is where many of us find friendship, fulfilment and the emotional interactions that enrich our lives.
So, the quality of employment has an impact on our health. There is a lot of evidence that work itself – especially if it is ‘good’ work – can be good for our health (Coats and Lehki, 2008). In the context of being happy in our work, having control, autonomy and involvement in the way our work is done.
Many employers have conflicting emotions about workplace health. They have a genuine concern for the welfare of their staff, but are hesitant to set out too many rules and ‘mothering’ their employees. Many see employee health and wellbeing still as the private concern (and responsibility) of the workers.
CHANGING OVERALL HEALTH & WELLBEING STRATEGY
It should be acknowledged however that a growing number of employers are adopting measures aimed at promoting health and wellbeing among their employees. They know that they can influence aspects of their employee’s physical and psychological wellbeing in ways which can improve their productivity, commitment and attendance.
The overall health and wellbeing strategy includes usually a focus on diet and nutrition, physical activity, stress management and smoking cessation. These are just programs… and can employers be held responsible for an employee’s health and lifestyle when so many of the relevant factors are outside the employer’s control?
But how about caring for your workers, genuinely, from the start? CONSUMINGPASSIONS
When you realize that your company knows more about your guests | clients | customers than about the employees, you might want rethink your health and wellbeing strategy.
We believe that an employer should imbed a Hospitality Strategy throughout the whole company.
One way to define Hospitality is: “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.”
We wrote earlier (see Why Wellbeing Counts – The Happiness Factor) that a company can only succeed at making employees feel wanted and welcomed — and helping them experience a sense of belonging — when it embeds these objectives into its culture and the ongoing training it provides to its people.
When you perceive your employees as guests, you are willing to treat them as guests and understand why you would make them feel at home and cared for. We recognise of course that workplaces are inevitably characterised by hierarchy, subordination and control but does this mean you cannot treat your employees in a warm, friendly and generous way? We think you can. Imbedding a Hospitality Strategy for your staff’s wellbeing will not only make them happy but gives them greater job satisfaction, increases productivity, creativity and, ultimately boost the organisation’s bottom line.
ENGAGING ALL OUR SKILLS, TALENTS, CAPABILITIES & EMOTIONS
Whatever line of work you are in, work has to be seen as a fully human activity, which engages all of our skills, talents, capabilities and emotions. People are not simply objects to be manipulated in the service of business objectives, work is a social act. It is hardly surprising then that people are increasingly seeking work that has meaning, offering a degree of fulfilment, creating a sense of rootedness and stability in the world and allowing them to develop their ‘craftsmanship’, whether being a software designer, chef or nurse.
In a 2008 survey (The Guardian) two-thirds of respondents said they needed to feel happy with an employer’s ethical record before accepting a job offer. Of these, a third defined ‘ethical’ in terms of the treatment of employees. A 2014 survey of Randstad found that making a clear commitment to prospective recruits could be a rewarding strategy: long-term job security (13% top, 56% top five) and career progression opportunities (5% top, 37% top five) were both quite important to respondents. Staying loyal to your employees is a good way to encourage them stay loyal to you.
What these surveys tell us is that, in addition to good pay, career prospects and opportunities for advancement, a huge proportion of workers are attaching importance to the ethical reputation of the organisation and its ability value and trust their employees.
WILL BEING GENEROUS AND EMBRACING HURT YOU?
Employers often recognise that their businesses benefit in many ways from a healthy and engaged workforce, yet the same employers can equally be reluctant to invest in long-term measures to improve the health of their workplaces.
They might argue that trying to raise the quality of employment will generate higher costs. We believe that if you change your business routine slightly, it can have a profound impact on changing the wellbeing of your employees for the better.
One of the driving forces of your company should be that people have to be managed as people rather than as commodities. The quality of the relationship with the employer includes aspects as whether the employee believes they are respected or treated as an individual.
Everyone in the hospitality business knows that if you make a first visit unpleasant, the guest may not return. Not doing what you say you are doing, will result in guest complaints. But what level of hospitality are you offering your employees? Why not grant your most precious assets, your employees, the highest level of hospitality?
HOSPITALITY STRATEGY MODEL
The Hospitality Strategy should be an integral part of the business strategy. Keeping employees engaged is an on-going process that needs to be hard wired into an organisation’s DNA.
Implementing a Hospitality Strategy from the top down, you start by defining a driving philosophy. This philosophy on how you embrace your employees – the Employee Journey, will be the guideline for all policies, practices and procedures—and the behaviours that get rewarded, supported and expected. It is all about being generous in your behaviour that will make a difference.
You make them feel welcome, you lead by example, you do what you say you are doing, you care.
The employee needs to feels that the organisation cares for their wider health and wellbeing. The notion of security has much more to do with a sense of belonging or rootedness in the workplace than with the formal length of the job.
Just realize: there are a number of aspects of job performance which are demonstrably better if employees are healthy – both physically and psychologically. These include:
o Coping with pressure
o Coping with uncertainty
o Coping with critical feedback
o Coping with change
o Being supportive of colleagues
o Completion of tasks
Employers who ignore this evidence, and its implications, are missing out on an opportunity to enhance their reputations and their profits.
We can play a role, not just in promoting the message about health and wellbeing at work, but in delivering accessible and relevant support to employers across all sectors and of every size as they struggle to provide healthy working environments and good quality jobs within which employees can drive forward productivity and competitiveness. For more info, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org .
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