Did you hear us on the radio this week? Director of Client Operations, Amanda Paddy, was interviewed on BBC Radio Cornwall about the challenges and opportunities facing hospitality employers as staff return from furlough leave. Read the full story below…

We work with a lot of excellent hospitality employers here in Cornwall, and are currently providing HR support as they move towards reopening. This proactive approach is throwing up lots of issues that we feel the sector as a whole needs to confront as we emerge from lockdown.

The fact is that the reopening of restaurants, pubs, hotels, cafés and bars won’t all be plain sailing unless staff are properly supported.

In most cases hospitality staff have been on furlough leave for many months, and will have undergone stress and mental strain during that time. For EU citizens that will have been exacerbated by the Settlement Scheme. Expecting everyone to return fit, ready to go and with a spring in their step just isn’t realistic.

The summer ahead is likely to be a busy one for hospitality staff

We are supporting managers and business owners to communicate with their teams ahead of reopening, hosting ‘reorientation’ sessions online and facilitating one-to-one conversations where staff can ask questions about returning to work amid Coronavirus restrictions and precautions.

The mental health problems caused by the pandemic need to be addressed by employers, and having these conversations early on is the best way to head off issues.

Many people have struggled with their mental health during the pandemic and, for hospitality workers returning to busy settings, anxiety and stress could be a factor. The South West is facing an extremely busy summer season with travel abroad being limited. Employers should be putting frameworks in place to avoid the threat of mental and physical burn-out.

Now is the time to define your workplace culture for the months ahead

However, the team here at Sapience HR also believe that reopening is an important opportunity for hospitality employers to create a positive workplace culture and attract the most talented recruits.

After all, a fresh start is a new opportunity for everyone.

We are encouraging our clients to pause for a moment and ask themselves how they can get the most out of their teams on reopening, whether that involves looking at shift patterns, training plans or better ways of communicating.

Staff engagement and productivity are seen as key factors in that all-important post-pandemic recovery phase.

Here at Sapience HR we are advising businesses to focus on supporting their staff, promoting good mental health, showing appreciation in creative ways, listening to feedback, and prioritising training and development. All of those things will lead to greater engagement and productivity and therefore aid business recovery.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you specifically with these issues and instil a positive work culture for the months ahead, please get in touch: HelloThere@sapiencehr.co.uk