An organisation's most valuable asset is its staff: never more true for hospitality venues than in these times of pandemic.
Hospitality venues have a duty of care, as much for staff as for guests, but there are numerous benefits to a robust set of Health and Safety procedures, over and above fulfilling your legal obligation. This is where the law of reciprocity kicks in – what is good for your staff is good for you.
Starting with the obvious:
1. You need your staff healthy and at work
Inarguably, if you don’t have enough trained staff members available for duty, you can’t operate. If you bring in too many temporary untrained staff, quality drops and your reputation suffers.
Added to that, you will need to trace customers who might have come into contact with any member of staff who is absent due to Covid, and other staff members will need to self-isolate.
2. You need your staff working willingly and happily. For this they need to feel safe and valued.
If your staff are anxious about their health at work or worse, resentful of the care and attention lavished on guest and customers at their expense, this will be reflected in the customer experience.
A venue that seems to be pulling out all the stops to keep the guests or customers safe but leaving the staff to fend for themselves will not be a happy workplace. Happy staff reflect well on your hotel, and create a positive atmosphere. FOH represent your brand
Take a tip from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) (the main professional body to accredit and award professional HR qualifications): “Fostering employee wellbeing is good for people and the organisation. Promoting wellbeing can help prevent stress and create positive working environments where individuals and organisations can thrive. Good health and wellbeing can be a core enabler of employee engagement and organisational performance.”
3. Your staff need to fully understand how to keep themselves safe in order to keep guests safe.
Every time a staff member challenges you as to why a protocol is in place, or how it works to prevent transmission of disease, count it as a bonus. That’s a question a guest might ask and you can now rest easy that your staff will now know the answer. You can also be sure that your strategy will be implemented properly and thoroughly.
For example, when staff are fully briefed on the correct operation of equipment such as the Ozone Purge machine, they understand that while it is powerful and highly effective against all manner of pathogens, rooms and spaces should be unoccupied while it works. They can communicate the benefits to guests. However, they also feel safe to enter the room to switch it off and move it when necessary.
Hospitality staff are generally well motivated and receptive to training re Covid and hygiene, especially as many might be on zero-hours contracts, working only when the venue has customers and getting paid only if they work.
However, any message is susceptible to fatigue. Once a warning poster has been in place for maybe a fortnight, people stop noticing it. It gradually becomes invisible.
However, it is possible to effect long-lasting change. John Hopkins Medicine advises: “Years ago, no one was concerned about second-hand smoke. We didn’t have car seats for children and didn’t put babies on their backs to sleep.
“Accepting this new reality and staying committed to good habits can prevent COVID-19.”
Adopting a creative approach to staff training can reap great rewards.
Elicit staff involvement of the design and implementation of Hygiene Protocols. It will increase engagement and ownership.
Train staff on how to communicate knowledgeably but sensitively with customers. How should they nudge a valuable customer to observe the new rules?
Demonstrate how much you value staff by implementing the same measures in place for FOH as for BOH staff areas such as staff areas, changing rooms, kitchens, linen laundry & storage etc.
Schedule a standing slot for Hygiene Protocols and Updates in regular staff training sessions, inviting feedback and further suggestions from staff. Keep the matter front-of-mind. Hygiene Protocol training is not a one-week thing.
To book your free venue assessment with the sanitisation experts at Elytraa Group, contact us on 01786 439839 or firstname.lastname@example.org.