Hotel management company, Valor Hospitality Europe has introduced a wellbeing strategy in response to stress in the hospitality industry. The initiative is led by the directors and sees every hotel have a minimum of one fully qualified Mental Health First Aider, trained to spot the signs of someone who may be struggling.
A 2017 government report found that almost three-quarters (74%) of employees working in hotels feel stressed and over a quarter (26%) suffer from poor mental health.
Valor knew that something had to be done to ensure the health and wellbeing of teams across its portfolio of 17 UK hotels which led to the launch of an extensive wellbeing policy, outlining its commitment to supporting improvements in health management within the business.
Moira Laird, HR director at Valor Hospitality Europe who was instrumental in developing the programme said: “In the hospitality industry, we are so good at looking after other people, that we can sometimes forget to look after ourselves. Our policy states that we will ensure that all work practices, the environment and culture we create will enhance and protect the health and wellbeing of our employees.”
“We want real action and change within the business, and we hope, the wider industry. Crowne Plaza Solihull was the first of our hotels to have a team member achieve the Mental Health First Aider accreditation and the results were immediately rewarding. A decision was then quickly made to train someone up in every hotel, giving people the skills to spot the signs of those who are struggling as well as the confidence to provide supportive advice or just a friendly face for open and honest conversation. It’s been invaluable.”
Valor also introduced “Wellness Wednesdays” in each hotel. Once a week teams are encouraged to focus on wellbeing topics or activities like nutrition, personal finance and budgeting, physical and mental health. Some activities include walking clubs, yoga, crafts, head massage, ‘waist watchers’, salary finance which helps with money management, health assessments, and running clubs. The aim is to help employees to find and do things that help with their sense of wellbeing both mentally and physically.
Elsewhere, the business is supporting campaigns to help employees give up smoking and encouraging local community involvement.
Moira added: “By allowing our teams to lead on the initiative, we are not only fostering engagement in it, but improving its effectiveness as a result of taking input from the individuals who will benefit most from it.”
Edward Holland, general manager at Crowne Plaza Solihull having seen first-hand the result of mental health issues on a family member, helped to drive the wellbeing initiative at Valor, he said: “Having suffered such personal loss of losing my brother who took his own life, I was keen to make some real changes that could impact the lives of the team within the hotel.
“The wellbeing programme that Valor has introduced, along with the policies and initiatives has been nothing short of amazing and has allowed positive conversations around mental health, actively encouraging people throughout our hotels to change their lives for the better.
“The more we can do to remove the stigma, get people to realise that it’s okay to not be okay, the more people will realise that talking is a strength not a weakness, which enables us to drive, loyalty, engagement and satisfaction within our teams.”
Valor Hospitality Europe has been operational in the UK for over three years and manages 17 properties in its UK portfolio on behalf of investment vehicles affiliated with MCAP Global Finance Ltd.