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Boosting employee wellbeing and engagement: Success in hospitality

The health of your hospitality business depends on the health of your staff

Published 1 August 2023

Working in tourism and hospitality can be fast-paced and demanding, with employees on their feet for long, irregular hours servicing customers and keeping the business running.

To prevent burnout, stress and absenteeism, hospitality employees must feel supported, motivated and engaged in their work.

This is why employee engagement and wellbeing are so important in the industry: they have a direct impact on customer satisfaction, top-performer retention and, ultimately, business performance.

This article discusses strategies for measuring and improving employee wellbeing in tourism and hospitality businesses.

Why employee wellbeing and engagement matters in hospitality

Employee engagement is the emotional connection that employees have with their work and the company. According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 72% of organisations with high employee engagement had lower turnover rates than organisations with low engagement, resulting in reduced recruitment and training costs.

Employee wellbeing relates to an employee’s physical, mental, emotional and financial health and is directly linked to engagement. Research by Deloitte found that happy, healthy employees are more productive, provide higher-quality service, take fewer sick days and are less likely to leave their jobs – i.e., happy employees are engaged employees.

In the hospitality industry, employee engagement and wellbeing are especially vital as employees directly impact guest satisfaction and are the face of the company. In fact, Gallup found that engaged employees in the hospitality industry can boost customer satisfaction by 20% and profitability by 10%.

That’s because engaged employees are more likely to act as brand ambassadors and provide memorable experiences for guests, leading to repeat business and customer loyalty.


What does employee wellness entail in the hospitality industry?


Improving employee wellbeing in the hospitality industry requires a multidimensional approach that includes mental, physical, emotional and financial wellness.

Strategies can include:


  • Wellness programmes: Fitness classes, healthy food options and mental health support can all help to reduce stress and boost job satisfaction.
  • Flexible scheduling: Allows employees to attain a better work-life balance, allowing them to spend more time with their family and friends.
  • Training and development: Offering opportunities for training and development can help employees feel appreciated and improve job satisfaction. Employees that have received proper training can also deliver superior customer service.
  • Communication and support: Open and transparent communication can help employees feel heard and supported, which can improve overall wellbeing.
  • Enhancing financial security: Research has found that helping employees increase their financial security – beyond fair pay and benefits – can have a direct impact on their wellbeing. It gives them peace of mind to know that they can cover an unexpected expense or financial emergency without going into debt. Reduced money-concerns allows employees to be more engaged and focused at work.
  • Creating an inclusive environment: Employees who work in jobs they don’t enjoy, with unsupportive coworkers or in toxic environments with poor pay and working conditions are more likely to become disengaged and apathetic to the customer experience. Celebrating cultural diversity, providing a safe space for people to speak up and make suggestions and encouraging employees to bring their whole selves to work all contribute to stronger team bonds and mutual respect.
  • Employee involvement in community upliftment: Local economic development and volunteering initiatives encourage employees to engage with the local community, learn about their needs and discover ways to promote their culture and customs to visitors.
Factors that attract Employee Wellbeing

Measuring employee engagement in hospitality


Assessing employee engagement and wellness in hospitality is critical for understanding what your employees need, measuring their dedication and commitment and motivation to their work and identifying areas for improvement.

Here are some ways to measure employee wellbeing in hospitality:

  • Employee surveys: One of the most common approaches for gauging employee wellbeing is through surveys. They can be anonymous and can cover a variety of issues, such as physical and mental health, work-life balance and job satisfaction.
  • Absenteeism and turnover rates: High absenteeism and turnover rates can indicate low employee wellbeing. Tracking these rates over time can help you to identify patterns and areas for improvement. For example, high turnover in housekeeping may suggest poor working conditions.
  • Safety incidents: Accidents or injuries might be a symptom of low employee wellbeing because they often occur when employees are tired or unfocused. Tracking safety incidents can help in identifying areas where safety precautions can be strengthened.
  • Performance metrics: Measures like sales targets, customer satisfaction scores and productivity output can provide an indication of employee engagement. A drop in these figures could indicate unhappy staff.
  • Customer feedback: Feedback from customers provides an indicator of the level of service that staff provide and can help identify areas for development and opportunities for recognition.

The Weeva sustainability management platform brings all this information and more to your fingertips, providing data-backed insights that help you to measure and improve employee wellbeing.

How to improve employee engagement in hospitality


Improving employee engagement in the hospitality industry requires a proactive strategy that includes:


  • Leadership and management: Effective leadership and management support are essential for creating a positive work workspace and building a strong company culture. Leaders and managers should provide encouragement, recognition and opportunities for growth.
  • Training and development: Giving employees opportunities to develop new skills or take on additional responsibility can make them feel more supported and engaged in their work. Strategies can include formal or on-the-job training, mentorship programmes and leadership development programmes.
  • Regular communication and feedback can help employees feel heard and valued. This can include regular team meetings, one-on-one check-ins and ongoing feedback and recognition.
  • Rewards and recognition: Recognising and rewarding employees can help to create a healthy work environment and promote employee engagement. This can include bonuses, incentives and public recognition for employees who go above and beyond.
  • Create a healthy, comfortable environment: A dedicated employee lounge where employees can take breaks, eat a healthy lunch and re-energise before their next shift can boost their mood and mindset.
  • Prioritise emotional wellbeing: Spiritual and emotional wellbeing are critical components of overall employee wellbeing. Offering mental health days, counselling sessions and access to financial education, frees up head space for employees to have more personal and meaningful interactions with guests.
Employee wellness infographic

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