Flawless performance and providing a 5* service in the hospitality sector depends on creating a conducive work environment, with motivated and friendly hospitality staff.

The hospitality industry is a bundle of specific goods and services that must be generated on demand to an ever more demanding clientele. Constant change of environment and demanding guests generate stressful situations for many employees who fail to cope successfully. Managers on the other hand must be firm with employees, but friendly and accommodating with guests. This requires a constant change of attitude.

The hospitality industry has specific characteristics that can cause workplace stress, including:

Long, unsociable working hours,
Uneven work load
Constant requirement to deliver goods and services under time pressure
A very diverse clientele with different needs and expectations.
Diverse groups of employees from differing cultural backgrounds
Members of management in most hospitality establishments come from various cultural, educational and industrial backgrounds, but must run a cohesive team if the establishment is to succeed. The general manager must be able to mould the team to a harmonious and flawlessly functioning machine through motivation, as well as paying attention to cultural diversity.

Control of workplace stress is a leadership responsibility. Good leaders who recognize the symptoms of stress can control situations to create more desirable workplaces and to improve both productivity and the bottom line.

Abnormally high absenteeism is a sure sign of stress. Inconsistent product delivery, willful property destruction, waste and pilferage are other signs. Harmful stress is experienced in times of conflict, pressure, absence of leadership, and inconsistent management decisions.

The time element is most important when dealing with stress. Constant, prolonged stress is more harmful than short, profound stress. The former can lead to stress-related diseases (cardiovascular, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, ulcers, diabetes, headache, migraines and even backache).

Individual employee stress will most often manifest itself in the following signs:

Loss of self confidence
Rapid emotional shifts
Physical exhaustion
Symptoms such as these cost companies millions of rands each year in health care costs, absenteeism, accidents, quality control, staff turnover, workplace accidents and various interpersonal relationship problems.

Management Solutions to Workplace Stress:

Identify the major sources of stress in your company.
Invest in your managers & supervisors so that they are excellent leaders, communicators and motivators
Communicate clearly and often about everything.
Treat all staff members at all levels with respect
Train your staff on Managing Cultural Diversity
Talk with your employees about how to make your company great
Work with your employees to make their jobs as rewarding as possible
Encourage employees to talk freely and support one another
Work with employees on creating job flexibility that allows greater work-life balance
Make sure your employees have the resources and training to do their jobs well
Acknowledge a job well done Give clear and constant feedback
Make sure you’re hiring the right people and adequately preparing them for their jobs can decrease the stress levels in your hospitality staff.
Research shows that happy employees produce better, and more efficiently. Creating less stressful working environments results in greater guest satisfaction, a loyal clientele, increased revenue and profits.

Now breathe!

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