Hotels focus on the mental well-being of workers as job retention

Take Skift

Hotels know that meticulously addressing the mental health of their employees not only helps them retain employees, but goes a long way in creating a happy workforce that is more likely to improve the guest experience.

Carly Thornell

Vianel Filpo, General Manager at Turks and Caicos Groupa group of luxury resorts, he will never forget the day he found an employee depressed so severely that she contemplated suicide.

It’s hard for guests to imagine anything but paradise when enjoying the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the tranquility of Ambergris Caye, a private island. But for those who work there, feeling isolated while in hospitality, is one of the world Most stressful industriesIt can sometimes feel like it’s too much to handle.

“After Covid, people are more vulnerable, more sensitive and less patient,” Filpo said of the changing business climate. “I’ve always found that a good work environment is always something that reflects in the guest experience, and I have an open door policy for people to talk to me 24/7. But there’s only so much one person can do.”

So Filpo worked with hotel leadership to travel to a mental health professional once or twice a month for face-to-face counseling with staff — confidential sessions he said were very popular with staff.

Turks and Caicos’ leadership is not alone in increasing its focus on employee retention when developing a comprehensive benefits plan. in Crescent Hotels and ResortsJulie Farnsworth, who operates more than 100 properties in the United States and Canada, has expanded her mental health offerings through her Employee Assistance Plan. Crescent was one of the first hospitality management companies to offer health insurance to its part-time employees, which helped attract potential employees. But with coverage plans for mental health varying across destinations, adding services has been critical as business ramps up.

“This is a crazy, ‘always on’ industry, it’s busy. With understaffing that can lead to more stress and more work, it’s important to recognize the impact that can have on our employees and their families,” Farnsworth said.

The Employee Assistance Plan Counseling Plan includes free virtual services in 40 languages ​​as well as flexibility around schedules as well as benefits for employees’ families. Crescent has seen a strong association in fewer employees using antidepressants and starting supplemental mental health coverage, Farnsworth said.

Farnsworth also believes that conversations about hiring and retention in recent years have focused more on benefits than compensation. She believes that quality of life and flexibility are more important than ever in contributing to happiness Hotels are still understaffed.

“There’s a reason people don’t go back to hospitality — because they had that ‘aha’ moment to say, ‘I enjoyed spending time with my family, being able to have some flexibility,’ Farnsworth said. .

“We have to respond to that and say, OK, we can build that resilience in life. And yes, you can have a great job in this industry. Just because certain jobs weren’t done at home three years ago doesn’t mean those in certain roles they can’t perform out of home now.”

like Modern report From job search engines Indeed and Glassdoor to getting employers creative to attract outstanding candidates, the creativity at Marriott International has come in the form of reimagining roles themselves. The company’s new part-time manager structure has increased the pool of available candidates while offering more options for workers – such as those with young children – who might otherwise not have considered a career in hospitality. Ty Breland, Marriott’s chief human resources officer, believes this is especially important for working moms More than working parents are putting their careers on hold during the pandemic.

Marriott has also provided in-person and online coaching for its employees focused on mental health to help leaders recognize and address signs of distress. Breeland added that the company has also expanded TakeCare, a wellness initiative it launched in 2010 to improve physical health, to address mental, emotional and financial health issues.

So what is the bottom line for all these efforts?

“There is no doubt that the focus on mental wellness means that the smiles on employees’ faces are genuine,” said Filpo of Turks and Caicos Collection. “You can’t fake sincerity.”

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