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Employers confirm scale of Covid-19 impact on staff: employers invest in skills-led approach to restore confidence

In a new research report launched today by People 1st International, Covid-19: The impact on skills in hospitality, retail, travel and aviation based on feedback from over 500 employers across these sectors, three quarters of employers (74.5%) report that staff are feeling anxious and stressed, with their mental and physical wellbeing affected.

In a bid to restore consumer confidence and get their people up and running as they prepare to re-open, employers are taking a skills-led approach to both managing the transition back to work as well as being ready for customers.

Well over three-quarters of respondents (82.8%) say that the ability of business leaders and managers to boost motivation, morale and productivity will be key. This means ensuring that managers are equipped with critical thinking, decision-making and problem-solving skills, so that they can manage uncertainty as well as ensuring that their teams are engaged.

Important skills and behaviours identified by employers in the post-Covid-19 new normal are:

  • A more proactive approach to customer service (90.8%).
  • Developing new techniques such as active listening (80.8%).
  • Persuading people to change their attitudes or behaviours (74.9%).
  • Bringing people together to reconcile differences (65.7%).

When it comes to the critical issue of staff training in hygiene controls and social distancing measures, almost two thirds (64%) of employers support the creation of a recognised symbol, which can be publicly displayed to reassure customers. And, as highlighted in a recent poll by People 1st International, more than half (54%) of consumers want assurances that staff have been trained in these new measures.

There is also substantial support for a collaborative approach to support the recovery phase with more than half (55%) backing industry-recognised, transferable, virtual training solutions.

Other findings from the report highlight that:

  • Almost two thirds (64.1%) want more clarity on government policies such as confirmation on opening dates.
  • Just over half (53.3%) would like more guidance on bringing staff back into the workplace.
  • In the short-term, more than half of employers (60%) expect that major re-structuring and redundancies will require assistance with workforce planning.
  • In the medium to long-term, businesses are looking for help with recruitment and HR support (77.4%), followed by performance management systems (68.7%) and organisational development (59.1%).

Commenting on the findings, Sandra Kelly, UK Director of People 1st International said:

“The pandemic is changing the status-quo and will act a catalyst for sweeping changes when it comes to resilience, agility, preparedness, culture change and being competitive. This means that new skills are essential and that CEOs and CFOs will need to prioritise the recommendations of their HRDs and training and development professionals.

“Regardless of business size, people are the greatest asset and are the key to economic recovery. Employers who have treated their people well in this period and are now training them for the return, will not only recover more quickly but will also be stronger and more agile moving forward.”

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