Six steps to make a difference to your team's mental health

02 October 2023 by

Hospitality Action has some simple steps any organisation can take to ensure its people feel listened to and that their mental health matters

Hospitality workers are some of the nation's most vulnerable when it comes to mental health issues, a series of reports have identified. In March 2023, events and activity company Wildgoose revealed that 64% of those in the hospitality industry have experienced increasingly poor mental health at work over the past 12 months, compared to the previous year.

To help operators support their employees' mental health Hospitality Action has put together a step-by-step wellbeing guide developed in conjunction with mental health expert Emma Keeble.

Keeble, whose business Anchor People provides mental health first-aid training via Hospitality Action, said: "We are definitely getting better as an industry at putting our people's wellbeing front and centre, but long, irregular hours, physically demanding shifts and ever-increasing customer demandscontinue to make hospitality a highly pressured environment.

"This guide gives managers tangible step-by-step resources to make a big difference to their teams' mental health and wellbeing – which ultimately benefit teams and businesses alike."

Step 1: Educate yourself and your management team

  • Understand the common challenges faced by your employees and develop empathy towards them.
  • Appreciate everybody's capacity to deal with stress is different.
  • Support your management and HR teams – they're human too!
  • Learn the signs and symptoms of common mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety and burnout.
  • Undertake mental health first-aid training and develop a wellbeing action plan that empowers all to contribute ideas. Deliver the plan as you would with any other sales, revenue or engagement strategy.

Step 2: Foster an open and supportive culture

  • Create a culture where mental health is openly discussed, valued and respected.
  • Regularly check in with your staff and provide a safe space for them to express their concerns.
  • Include sincere questions on wellbeing in staff surveys.
  • Introduce and promote the use of Hospitality Action's Employee Assistance Programme which provides a counselling service and 24-hour helpline.
  • Create wellbeing checks and activities in team meetings – ensure no one leaves work in a negative headspace.
  • Provide mental health resources and information which includes contact details for mental health helplines – Hospitality Action's website is a trusted source of information.
  • Organise events to increase awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

Step 3: Encourage self-care

  • Insist your employees take breaks and use their holiday allowance.
  • Discourage excessive overtime and emailing out of hours.
  • Offer true individualised flexibility and don't make staff feel indebted to you because of it.
  • Lead by example and demonstrate a healthy work-life balance yourself.

Step 4: Cultivate a positive work environment

  • Promote teamwork, appreciation and recognition.
  • Celebrate achievements and provide constructive feedback when needed.
  • Encourage collaboration and create opportunities for all team members to bond and build supportive relationships.
  • Be approachable, understanding and ready to listen.
  • Be interested in your teams and what they like doing outside of work.

Step 5: Offer training and development

  • Invest in training programmes that focus on stress management, resilience and self-care.
  • Provide resources or workshops on topics like mindfulness, mental health awareness, time management and coping strategies.
  • Encourage walking meetings and time outside of the workplace.

Step 6: Constantly evaluate and adjust.

  • Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your mental health initiatives and make adjustments as needed.
  • Seek feedback from your employees through surveys or focus groups to gauge their experiences and identify areas for improvement.

Walk for Wellbeing

The wellbeing guide has been launched as part of the Walk for Wellbeing campaign, a nationwide movement to help promote health and wellbeing within the hospitality industry, powered by hospitality talent partner mum in partnership with and Peoplebank.

Now in its fourth year, Walk for Wellbeing encourages the hospitality community to come together and take simple steps towards raising vital funds that allow Hospitality Action to support individuals and their families in the sector who are facing challenging times.

Five hosted 20km walks will take place on Sunday 8 October in London, Bath/Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. Those who can't make that date can ‘Walk It Your Way' at a location of their choice any time between Saturday 30 September and Sunday 15 October, encompassing World Mental Health Day on Tuesday 10 October. These challenges allow participants to spend quality time on a long or short walk of their choosing with family, friends, colleagues and pets.

Hospitality Action's Employee Assistance Programme continues to make a positive difference to the industry and supports more than 500 clients and 200,000 people across a variety of different areas, including financial and mental health support. The money raised will also help to continue to provide Hospitality Action's 24/7 helpline.

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