Sincerely, BLLA

Digitalizing the Workplace is Helping Hoteliers Combat Employee Stress

An employee communication platform enables hotel management to gauge employees’ daily stress levels, provide tips to battle burnout, train how to dec...

An employee communication platform enables hotel management to gauge employees’ daily stress levels, provide tips to battle burnout, train how to decompress, and recognize people for jobs well done

During the Boutique Lifestyle Digital Summit by BLLA, Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global and founder of The Huffington Post, discussed a critical topic that is often overlooked: “​Mental Health & Boutique Hotels​.” In today’s new world, with travel comes trepidation. Guests have high anxiety about staying in a hotel, despite operators’ rigorous attempts to assure them that hotels are clean and social distancing protocols are in place for their protection.

But what about frontline hotel employees’ anxiety levels? With​ new safety procedures comes new rules, and reduced staffing brings heftier workloads — both of which are adding a lot of stress and anxiety to employees’ workdays. Not only are hotel workers putting themselves at personal risk just by coming to work every day, but they are expected to joyfully serve guests who are likely to be more demanding than usual. One of the most frequent challenges today is dealing with guests that fail to wear masks. When they are asked to do so, some may become agitated or outright refuse the request. This not only adds to employee anxiety, but it puts everyone at risk. Huffington said it is management’s obligation to help their people (who don’t make much money yet deal with daily aggression) learn how to decompress from a variety of high-stress situations.

“Hospitality is a fast-paced business. There are a lot of demands placed on employees today; many people want many things. Unfortunately, hospitality is not a culture known for focusing on mental health. In today’s new normal, it is the responsibility of owners and general managers to give their workers the tools needed to decompress routinely. I’ve seen the data. If employees don’t decompress, the business will pay the price.
“You can have the best safety protocols in place for guests, but unless management helps their teams tap into their mental resilience and deal with their own anxiety levels, it will be impossible for workers to create the types of experiences guests demand in the boutique lifestyle environment. Hotel staff are integral to success and can’t be stressed out of their minds.​ ​Hoteliers must have programs in place to help their staff before they can be expected to deliver service to others.

“If employees are not given the tools needed to thrive, the business will pay the price. Supporting workers’ mental health is not something that is ‘nice to have.’ Rather, it’s ‘essential’ to be able to achieve the critical business metrics needed today to survive. When management provides tools to help employees focus on their mental wellbeing, the business benefits are profound.”

The best way to support employees’ mental health is by digitalizing the workplace and giving them a communication platform whereby they can connect to the organization and each other — regardless of their physical location or job description. This type of mobile platform not only shares important information about procedural changes in their language of choice, but it can be used to provide training in how to streamline tasks, how to deal with stressful guest encounters, and how to decompress throughout the workday. Management can send videos, surveys, quizzes, and daily reminders to staff encouraging them to take breaks or advising them on how to defuse a potentially volatile guest or supervisor situation.

A digital employee communication platform also enables management to provide instant recognition of a job well done and it is the ideal tool to celebrate the successes of a staff member who may have turned a negative encounter into a positive one. An employee communication platform is proven to boost associate morale and motivate teams, fostering employee retention. When hoteliers take care of their employees, they will in return take care of valued guests.

It’s hard to expect employees to deal with unexpected moments of stress. They need to be given tools that will help them navigate these uncertain times. There is more stress and anxiety today in the workplace than ever before. Equipping employees with a resiliency tool is essential for their mental health and it is critical for business longevity.”

Arianna Huffington

Burnout is NOT the price hotel employees should pay for success. Via a digitalized employee communication platform, hoteliers can stay in constant contact with workers, gauge their mental health, provide tips for battling mental fatigue, and recognize and reward them for jobs well done. Only when operators take an interest in their teams’ personal wellbeing will they bring some level of humanity to today’s new normal.

About the Author

Andrada Paraschiv is head of hospitality for Beekeeper, an employee communication platform that connects and empowers entire workforces, including non-desk and frontline workers.

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