Five keys for implementing a common-sense COVID-19 policy
It has been a difficult couple of years for any business looking to hire. The COVID-19 pandemic allowed Americans to step back, reassess, and reimagine their careers and work-life balance needs. Many workers have left the workforce altogether due to factors like lack of child care, health concerns, or early retirement.
This has created a supply-and-demand imbalance in the labor market. As of this writing, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting more than 11.3 million open positions across the country and only two job seekers for every three open jobs. The power has now shifted from the employer to the employee and folks have the freedom to be choosy about which jobs they pursue. And while this crisis has hit all types of organizations, hotels have been struck especially hard.
The success of your hotel depends on your people. After all, it’s your people who interact with your guests and make their experience great. So, prioritizing people over function is critical to win in today’s challenging hiring landscape. In other words, you need to find ways to offer more to meet the needs of today’s job seekers, otherwise you risk operating short staffed and losing business to competitors. One way for hotels to attract and retain better talent is to show you truly care about COVID-19 safety for your employees.
While cases may be on the decline, we may be living with the virus in some capacity for the remainder of our lifetimes. And it’s something hotel managers must continue to address with employees, especially those who work face to face with customers.
So, in addition to vaccine guidelines, hotels that want to compete must implement common-sense COVID-19 policies to ensure employees feel safe coming to work and trust that you prioritize their well-being. Based on experiences gained from working with those in the hospitality space during the past two unpredictable years, here are the five elements crucial to a common-sense COVID-19 policy.
A recent study found that 1 in 4 people who quit their job during the pandemic wanted more flexibility. For businesses like hotels where remote work isn’t an option for most positions, flexibility can come in the form of allowing employees to choose their own hours and schedules. For example, can employees leave to pick up their kids or take them to the doctor if they’re sick? Just because you may not be able to offer hybrid or remote work doesn’t mean flexibility is off the table. If you can offer flexibility that works for your hotel and implement it correctly, you can attract and retain talent.
It should be common sense to offer COVID-19 testing for on-site employees. This gives your employees another layer of protection while keeping guests safe. Making testing free and readily available, or even requiring employees to regularly test, can put everyone at ease.
3. PAID LEAVE
Implementing a COVID-19 leave-of-absence policy that accommodates medical and personal absences shows employees you care about their overall well-being. The pandemic has impacted everyone, and dealing with COVID-19-related issues while working is very difficult, whether or not your employees are actually sick themselves. For example, this would be useful for working parents dealing with school closures related to COVID-19.
4. CHARACTER COUNTS
COVID-19 has impacted us all in more ways than one. Even if we haven’t physically fallen ill, our mental health has likely taken a toll. And having to show up every day and endure a bad manager or a toxic culture amplifies those issues. Implement a mandate that demands everyone treat those around them with respect and stick to it. A culture of kindness makes people happy to come to work, even during tough times like the ones we’re facing today. You should only hire folks who demonstrate this value and have little patience for anyone who violates it.
5. MENTAL HEALTH
As noted above, COVID-19 brought much-needed conversations around mental health to the forefront. In addition to flexibility and PTO designed to help folks who are infected with the virus themselves or need to support infected family members, build in some opportunities for people to step away for their mental health too. Some employers are starting to offer one mental health day each month, no questions asked. It’s a great way to show your employees that you value their well-being beyond just the physical.
As the economic recovery is still unpredictable and we are continuing to see patterns similar to 2021, hotel managers are in a difficult position. The key is to continue to adapt and invest in your talent and tools that will help you build a successful business for the long run. Implementing these five protocols will help your hotel stand out from the rest and set the groundwork to be prepared for any challenges on the horizon.