Did you know that 77% of workers experience burnout and 40% quit their job because of it? The problem is worse in the hospitality industry where the burnout and resignation rate continues to be significantly higher. During the “Great Resignation,” more than 50% of food service and hospitality workers left their job citing burnout, and a million quit in a single month last year.
If you’re noticing a similar phenomenon happening in your hospitality business, it may be time to take active steps to remedy it before there’s a significant drop in employee well-being and workforce retention. But where do you start? To help you ease into the process, we’ve listed the signs of burnout, and the hospitality job factors that contribute to it. Our 3 tips to prevent burnout were curated by interviewing hospitality and well-being experts.
Signs of Employee Burnout in the Hospitality Industry
The best way to improve employee well-being is to start working on it before there’s an urgent need for intervention. This includes paying attention to signs of burnout in the workplace. “Some of the first signs I notice are a lack of interest in one's daily performance, a lack of care towards customers, poor attitude, low morale, and overall loss of enthusiasm for hospitality,” says Salar Sheik, founder of LA-based Savory Hospitality Restaurant Consulting. (1)
Echoing his views, Cassandra Fallon, a licensed therapist and regional clinic director at Thriveworks, says, “Hospitality requires interpersonal skills and a certain level of friendliness, a willingness to serve, and conflict resolution skills. But when these begin to fail, it can indicate burnout.” For example, a front desk worker is not able to regulate their emotions when interacting with an angry guest, or a host is speaking to guests in a disrespectful manner, with terse communication, and name calling.” (2)
→🥳 Want to implement employee well-being programs but don’t know where to start? Our 4 examples will surely give you the inspiration and impetus to start a well-being program for your employees!
Which Hospitality Job Factors Contribute to Employee Burnout?
Recent surveys show hospitality workers are quitting at the highest rate and experiencing more burnout compared to other industries due to the stressful nature of hospitality work. (3) “The long hours can be difficult and not being able to have enough breaks or time to oneself, and having to ‘be on’ at all times can be draining,” Fallon says. “Most hospitality outlets are go, go, go, and we work while others enjoy,” Sheik says. “At some point, it all comes to a crashing halt where you can no longer give more mentally or physically.”
Other workplace factors that can contribute to burnout include:
- Always having to put on a happy face.
- Communicating politely with rude or angry customers.
- Being on your feet all day.
- Working overtime to cover other people’s shifts.
- Dealing with difficult supervisors.
- Late working hours.
3 Ways to Prevent and Reduce Employee Burnout in The Hospitality Workplace
Vacations can’t fix burnout. If your employees are experiencing chronic workplace stress, taking time off won’t help, because they will come back to the same environment. (4) That’s why it’s necessary to understand and deal with the root causes of burnout. Making the symptom disappear isn’t enough. You need to cure the disease.
Here are 3 ways to do that.
1. Alleviate Workplace Pressures
One of the biggest causes of burnout comes from working in a stressful environment. As an employer, you can remedy this by understanding your employees’ concerns and alleviating pressures in the workplace. Here’s an example.
“Staff shortages have increased and this adds more pressure on existing staff to work faster and handle more tasks than they should,” says Deepanshi Gulati, a trainee psychotherapist and founder of the international support group Rain On Me. Gulati, who also worked in hospitality, says this leaves workers with no time to rest and recover from the day’s stressors, which eventually leads to burnout. (5)
Hospitality employers and management can solve this problem by ensuring there are no major staffing gaps, and no workers are under pressure to handle the work of someone who quit or is absent today. Setting clear boundaries can help here. Have clear guidelines for how the extra work will be divided when someone doesn't show up for their work or when there are more guests than expected.
2. Offer Opportunities for Growth
Doing the same stressful work every day can feel monotonous. Recent studies show boredom and under-stimulation can lead to burnout as well, so it’s important to ensure your hotel, restaurant or resort employees have enough opportunities to learn and grow on the job. (6) This can mean offering training resources, a learning stipend, or even hosting on-site workshops.
It can also mean experimenting with the way teams approach work. Changing the goal-setting and reward structure can introduce novelty and motivation into an otherwise mundane day.
“Reaching monthly targets for sales is great for business owners, but it does not necessarily benefit the staff directly,” Gulati says. “Give your team a goal to work towards and offer rewards and genuine appreciation.”
3. Create a Positive Work Environment
A positive work environment means more than just bright colours and inspiring quotes printed on the walls. A positive work environment is possible when workers feel safe, motivated, and valued. “The healthier the work environment, the better off employees are and less susceptible the organisation is to employee burnout,” Fallon says. “A caring and sensitive leadership style can go a long way in supporting team members in an empathetic manner.”
This could include:
- Scheduling regular 1-on-1 and group check-ins with employees.
- Offering mental health resources, like an on-site therapist when needed.
- Allowing disability and neurodivergent accommodations.
- Giving free or discounted access to physical health perks like yoga classes, massage sessions, etc.
- Regularly listening to employee concerns and brainstorming solutions.
You don’t have to immediately take huge steps to see a difference. As Fallon says, “Even just listening to a team member vent or share their stress can help the employee feel valued and able to take on the work stressors.
→🤔 Neurodivergent workers are often overlooked and can suffer from burnout easily. Read this article to learn how to manage and accommodate them in your hospitality workplace.
- https://www.huffpost.com/entry/summer-vacation-burnout_l_62ea8ea2e4b0c55016163f0b#:~:text=There%20are%20a%20number%20of,even%20on%20your%20days%20 off.
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