Both hotel managers and employees alike are concerned with the safety of guests—it’s simply part of the job. Within the industry, improving guest experience is often at the top of the to-do list, offering a tangible metric to success and profitability that everyone can work towards. Your guests are your clients, and your hotel should be a safe haven for them anytime they come to stay.
Workplace safety for staff, on the other hand, is often a little more problematic. For hotel managers, ensuring your hotel is fully compliant with the latest health and safety laws while also safeguarding workers rights is a considerable job. It is important to remember, however, that your staff are key assets to your business, and ensuring proper protection is in place can help improve safety for guests and visitors too.
The good news is that both managers and staff can benefit from fostering a dialogue regarding workplace safety. But how can this be achieved, and what kind of feedback can employees give hotel managers to increase safety in the workplace? In this article, with the help of those on the frontline, we have pooled the top three pieces of feedback we heard from workers in a wide range of roles to explore exactly what employees need to feel safe and comfortable during their shifts.
1. Build Inclusive HR Policies – Help Staff to Come Forward with Issues
Your HR department will have multiple procedures and countless pieces of documentation for employees in place, covering onboarding, offboarding and all eventualities in between. Problems may arise when staff cannot access this documentation, and some staff have reported difficulties finding or understanding HR documentation and jargon, particularly when filing workplace hazard reports or formally communicating other issues.
Building an inclusive, empathetic, accessible HR framework that allows staff to easily come forward with problems is one way to increase safety and prevent issues growing into larger concerns. This means employees must be able to easily understand the contents of any given documentation, have instant access to forms and other paperwork, and know that the latest procedural updates will be clearly communicated to them.
Depending on the demographics of your staff, this may mean ensuring procedure and documentation is , can be accessed online from a central location or be easily available in the workplace through face-to-face requests. It also means that both the management team and HR should never retaliate against employees that do step forward to report unsafe working conditions—it’s your job to encourage staff to feel safe when relaying problems through transparent policy and procedure.
2. Adapt to Fast-Changing Situations – Allow Staff to Guide You
The Coronavirus pandemic has heavily affected the tourism and hospitality industry, and outside of the usual PPE and contingency plans you already have in place, hotel managers are often unsure of how to adapt to rapidly evolving situations such as this. However, staff on the frontline are perfectly placed to guide you so you are able to maintain service while assuring both the safety of guests and your workforce.
Staff also wanted to stress that in-house contingency plans should be implemented in case of outbreak; clear policy on mask wearing, social distancing and temperature checks should be made visible to guests with adequate signage before entering property; and rapid-response help should be available to staff dealing with confrontational guests.
Finally, it is critical to remember that it is your employees that are risking their health and wellbeing every day, and staff also expressed the wish to improve the spaces that they regularly work in. This means implementing the following if you are not already doing so:
- Introducing empathy and hazard pay
- Ensuring back of house is clean and ventilated
- Disinfecting employee spaces between shifts
- Adding hand sanitizer stations in common areas and back of house staff areas as well
3. Build an Employee Safety Net – Roll Out Panic Buttons
Among the most common requests from within our pool was for reliable panic buttons. Hotel employees are often exposed to threats from both guests and other employees, as well as heavy equipment or challenging working environments, and wearable panic buttons are a welcome tool that leverages technology to help de-escalate incidents and summon help quickly through the use of a subtle device connected to a network.
What is interesting to note is that those staff who currently have access to panic buttons reported using them when a guest refused to wear a mask or follow COVID protocols. This particular use case is significant in the context of the industry’s workforce, where 70% of housekeepers speak English as a second language. Panic buttons enable employees to avoid the task of policing guests, which can pose an immediate communication issue. Additionally, employees should never be expected to monitor and enforce policies with guests – it is simply not part of their duties – and panic buttons can deliver a real-time safety net in case of conflict.
Today, panic button laws are beginning to extend across the US, however, it remains clear that staff need more workplace support—practically, emotionally, and financially. Additionally, the evolving Coronavirus pandemic has pushed the topic of workplace safety to the forefront of managers’ minds, and it has now become a business imperative to make it a priority across the industry.
This is why ROAR for Good has developed our AlwaysOn™ technology specifically for hotels, providing your workers with wearable and discreet panic buttons to summon help quickly. Protect your biggest assets with AlwaysOn™ and contact us today to discuss our business solutions and learn more about the platform.