Tim Etherington-Judge is the founder of Healthy Hospo. With over 20years experience within the hospitality industry around the world, he’s experienced first hand the health problems that are commonplace in hospitality and set out to change the conversation and build a better industry for all.
I’ve been campaigning for a healthier, happier hospitality industry for over a year now. It’s a dream that I have to change the industry for the better, to improve the working conditions of those who work in this amazing industry, to change attitudes towards and health and wellness and to put an end to those dying too young. This might be naive of me, but I can’t help but dream of a brighter future for the people who work in our industry.
Thankfully there’s a growing number of people and organisations who are beginning to change the conversation.
CODE Hospitality, a UK based hospitality community, has recently published its first report into the happiness of the hospitality industry in the UK and the findings are as challenging as they are stark.
Hospitality in the UK is a diverse place, with 48 different nationalities represented in the survey which puts the industry at great risk from the challenges posed by Brexit. Businesses that will not only survive, but thrive, in what are undoubtedly set to be a turbulent few years ahead, will be the ones that can attract and keep new talent.
Staff turnover is one of the industries biggest problems, with the average hospitality worker changing job inside 12 months (compared to 5 years for the average UK worker). Surprisingly, and contrary to popular opinion, money is not the driving factor for staff wanting to jump ship according to CODE Hospitalities report. They found that greater personal development was the overriding reason for a change of employer (38%), followed by lack of support from employers (22%) and incompatibility with managers (12%). Only 7% of respondents citing increasing the size of their paycheque.
Mental Health is a growing challenge for an industry whose workers are perhaps uniquely at risk from the impacts of stress, anxiety and depression. Yet the CODE Hospitality report found only 1/5 workers know of their workplace having mental health initiatives in place. Recently the UK’s drinks industry charity The Benevolent published the findings of a survey into the mental health of the industry which painted a mixed picture of the mental health of the industry. Despite great strides being made in breaking down the stigma around mental health, still, half of the people suffering don’t talk about their illness due to fear of it impacting their career prospects.
Almost everyone working in hospitality is money stressed and I don’t need to reiterate the fact that it’s an extremely poor paying industry. One of the most requested benefits is staff meals. This provides an opportunity for employers to both improve staff happiness and health. By feeding staff with healthy, nutritious meals and turning it into a communal event where everyone sits down to eat together, where possible, businesses will be receiving gains on multiple levels. Team building was also high on the list of requested perks, another great opportunity for employers to build a tight-knit team that’ll stay together.
One of the most interesting areas of the findings was around mentorship, something that I hadn’t previously paid much attention to. A staggering number of people want to be involved in mentorship, either being the mentor (87%) or being mentored (85%). According to a 2018 study by Michael Gill et al. mentorship can help reduce anxiety and stress given the beneficial role for both the mentor and the mentee. Mentorship is something that doesn’t need to add financial cost to a business and can have huge benefits to almost all aspects, from health and wellness to creativity and development.
Tom Bulleit, a man who was a great mentor to me, always told me ‘Tim, we’re not in the drinks business, we’re in the relationship business’. People are our industries most important asset and if businesses are to thrive in an industry that’s going to experience bumpy roads over the next few years then they need to pay attention to the health, happiness and needs of all those that work for them.