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3 tips to keep hospitality employees motivated during stressful times

Posted by Adrian Johansen on Nov 1, 2021 4:00:00 PM

It’s not uncommon for hospitality employees to experience times of stress, especially during busy seasons. But, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the industry, and the virus hasn’t subsided the way many people expected and hoped for at this point. 

On top of that, the holiday season is just around the corner. Though the pandemic is still lingering, many people want to get out and return to a sense of normalcy, so more people might be traveling over the holidays. 

So, what can you do to keep your employees motivated during stressful times? 

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Between keeping patrons (and themselves) safe, accommodating busy schedules, dealing with guests who might be over-stressed and anxious, themselves, it’s easy to see how employee motivation can struggle. 

As a manager or owner, your employees’ mental health should be your top priority while they’re providing superior customer service. Happy employees are more likely to be motivated, but they’re also at less of a risk of burning out. Here are some top tips to help keep motivation high and stress low:

1. Make strong communication the norm

When employees feel heard and understood, especially in times of stress or crisis, they’re more likely to be happy and productive at work. That starts from a leadership position. 

To establish a communicative culture, strive to create a transparent working environment. Let your staff meetings be open forums where employees can express their concerns or feelings. Talk to them about what to expect around the establishment, including any changes that might be coming forward. Your goal should be to make them feel as safe and appreciated as possible. 

You can take your communication strategy a few steps further by: 

  • Acknowledging each employee’s important contributions
  • Showing empathy
  • Avoiding micromanaging
  • Thanking your employees regularly
  • Being open for one-on-one meetings

By being a supportive leader, you’ll promote positivity throughout your establishment. Listen to what your employees want and think about things they would enjoy. It could be something as simple as decorating the office for the holidays to rewarding hard-working employees or providing incentives. In showing strong communication skills as a leader, you’ll also promote it throughout your establishment. 

When your employees feel comfortable openly communicating with each other, office morale is likely to go up, and there will be a greater sense of community throughout the workplace. People will be more willing to help out, more trusting, and more comfortable. It all starts with communication. 


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2. Use pets as a perk

Dog-friendly restaurants, breweries, and hotels have become increasingly popular across the country. Since millions of people consider their pets to be a part of the family, you can open up your place of business to a whole new target audience by encouraging guests to bring their four-legged friends along. 

You can also boost employee morale and motivation by allowing pets in your business space. Some of the benefits you can expect include

  • Boosted interconnectedness
  • A decrease in employee turnover
  • Encouragement in breaks and physical activity
  • Reduced stress levels
  • An environment of compassion

You can choose to make your entire business pet-friendly, or you can hold special events that allow your employees to get together with their furry friends. Not only will it improve relationships but communication too!.

Pet-friendly businesses aren’t for everyone. It’s important to make sure all of your employees are on board and no one is uncomfortable with it. But, if everyone agrees, the mental health benefits can go a long way for your employees and patrons alike.



3. Find ways to de-stress

The hospitality industry can be one of the most stressful. Your employees have to work with people from all walks of life every day, and no one ever really knows what to expect. 

But, there’s no reason you can’t also make the industry – and your establishment – a lot of fun. 

By promoting activities that allow your employees to have fun, especially during stressful times, they’re more likely to feel relaxed and stay motivated every day. 

One of the best things you can do is to provide relaxing things for your employees to do during their breaks. Encourage walking outside, or listening to music. Set up a small “library” or reading nook somewhere in your establishments for employees to unwind and turn a few pages. 

You can also plan bigger events that show your appreciation for your workers while allowing them to unwind and relax. With the holidays coming up, consider putting together fun events that involve employees and their families. One of the biggest struggles today’s workers face is striking a healthy work-life balance. Encouraging that balance and making sure they know you value their personal lives can boost productivity and loyalty. 

The hospitality industry will always go through ebbs and flows when it comes to stressful times.  The most important thing is making sure your employees are happy and healthy, so they can do the best job possible. Don’t be afraid to let your creative side come through and think outside the box to promote a positive work environment. 


Adrian-Johansen-170x170 Adrian Johansen is a writer and businesswoman in the Pacific Northwest. She loves discussing what businesses can do to thrive, especially during hard times. You can find more of her writing on Contently

Have a question? We’re always ready to talk.

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Topics: Health and wellbeing, Hotels, Hospitality managers, Restaurants