Working in the hospitality industry can be at once the most rewarding and the most taxing experience. Hospitality staff are exposed to a number of challenges that can impact their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Business owners and managers in the industry need to make the welfare of their employees a priority. This will ensure that staff remain happy and healthy and thus provide consistently great service. At the same time, this will also help to prevent a high turnover rate.
The nature of working in this business calls for creativity, innovation, problem solving, and quick thinking – there is rarely a dull moment. But in 2014, research revealed that 37.7% of hospitality workers reported they suffered from stress – signifying that hospitality is the second most stressful industry in Australia.
The fast-paced nature of the work can be taxing on the body. Sleeping and eating patterns can be affected by the irregularity of working hours. The proximity to caffeine and alcohol lends itself to a higher consumption of both. As the availability of work is often affected by uncontrollable external factors such as the economy or the weather, workers can experience anxiety about job security. Additionally, the nature of the work itself can have an impact on mental health. Difficult and demanding customers can take their frustrations out directly on staff. Heavily intoxicated customers can also make workers feel unsafe.
Maintaining a positive attitude, a smile, and a high level of energy are essential parts of the job. But as a worker experiences strains on their physical and mental well-being, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the level of excellence needed for service.
Every industry has its set of challenges. By figuring out the particular nuances of the hospitality industry, employers and their staff can work together to ensure everyone is looked after in their role. By doing so, the rewards of working in hospitality start to easily outweigh the challenges of the job.
Some tips for business owners:
Build good rapport with your staff
Talk to your staff. Get to know them. This will give you a chance to detect any problems that may be arising by noticing things that are outside of their usual behaviour. By doing so, you are also creating conditions in which your staff are more likely to feel comfortable alerting you to problems they may be experiencing before they start to affect their performance at work. Maintaining open and honest communication will help you ensure everyone is happy and comfortable in their role.
Regularly check in with your staff during shifts. Ask how they’re doing. Debrief about any difficulties or problems that occurred throughout the day, ask how they handled the situation, and help them plan a strategy for the future. Ask if they need a quick breather if it’s not possible to give them a break.
Be mindful when making rosters – check how many opens, closes and doubles your staff have been doing recently, and consider if it might help ease the physical strain to change up their shifts.
Promote a team mentality
Good service depends on the team working together smoothly and efficiently. Foster a strong team spirit in your business. This will create conditions in which your staff will look after one another and boost morale when the manager is not around to check on everyone.
Be transparent about the availability of work
If you need to cut hours during quieter periods, be upfront with your staff about what is happening and why it’s necessary. Be empathetic with your staff regarding their needs. Understand that your staff might need to pick up another job to make up for this, and be as flexible as you can to ensure you don’t lose them due to cut backs.
While it’s easy enough to hire new staff, it takes time to train new members and it will take even longer for them to gel with the team. Look after your existing staff and they will stick with you during the quiet periods.
Talk to your staff about the future
Ask your staff about their career ambitions and how you can help them along. Help them develop new skills, listen to their ideas and suggestions, and encourage innovation and creativity – this will be beneficial to your business as much as to the individual. Guide your staff along as they seek to make progress in the industry.
For more tips to help you manage your restaurant staff, you can browse Typsy’s video courses on management at www.typsy.com.
By Ivana Rnjak, Typsy