How to keep hospitality staff happy


Hospitality operators might not regard staff happiness as their number one priority when re-opening sites but hiring happy employees and keeping them content in the workplace is proven to have multiple benefits on the business, so it should rank highly in the plan.

Staff who are happy in their jobs are more likely to stick around and with staff retention continuing to be a concern for hospitality operators - 34% responding to a survey commissioned by Access Hospitality in February 2020 identified employee churn as a challenge - it makes sense to do all you can to retain them.

According to Warwick University’s Happiness and Productivity Study, happier workers are also 12% more productive on average than those who aren’t and most importantly, when staff are happy, they are more likely to spread their cheer to customers. Happy customers, as we all know, improves the likelihood that they will spend more and return often, which in turn, can provide a welcome boost to profits.

Operators hoping to keep their staff happy and benefit from their contentment can do so by creating a workplace culture where employee wellbeing is a high priority, where communication is strong, where achievements are celebrated and where those who want to progress are given opportunities to.

Here we explore some of the ways to keep hospitality staff happy.

Mind staff wellbeing

There is a perception that hospitality is an industry where people work long unsociable hours for low pay. Many operators have taken steps to change that perception, however, and introduced flexible working, and/or shorter working weeks with elevated pay.

Hospitality, nevertheless does require many staff to work evenings and weekends, is fast-paced, and with COVID-secure regulations in place could become a high-pressured work environment.

Employers, therefore need to ensure staff take regular breaks during shifts and are supported to do their jobs well which will help them feel looked-after, valued and content at work. Feeding staff before busy shifts, holding regular yoga sessions and appointing a mental health and wellbeing ambassador are some of the ways hospitality employers can improve employee wellbeing.

Celebrate achievements

As we’ve said before, hospitality is nothing without its people, so when sales at your site are stronger than usual, or customers give glowing feedback about their dining experience at your restaurant, it will no doubt be due to the performance of your team.

Make sure managers communicate these wins to the team and acknowledge individuals who may have contributed to the success. When employees know they are making a difference to the business they will feel good about themselves and recognition of hard work will further boost their good mood.

To motivate staff to achieve and increase their chances of happiness, you could reward high performance with individual, or team prizes such as gift vouchers, or subscribe to a perks scheme that formally recognises achievements.

Offer development

Not every person employed at your hospitality business will want to spend their life working in the industry, but the likelihood of them considering a career with you will increase greatly if you offer training and development and the chance of promotion.

Career development is a key component of workplace happiness because staff feel invested in and valued, which results in improved retention, so it is a win-win for all.

Offering regular training and development to staff and promoting those who hit agreed targets improves retention because not only does it make the promoted employee happy, it helps others see the potential career path offered by the business, so they are more likely to stick around.

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