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Why looking after our people is more critical now than ever

30 Sep 2020
People 1st International

Employers across the industry are confronting a stark reality never faced before. With up to one million jobs at risk of redundancy across the industry if furlough is not extended, today’s challenges are unparalleled, leaving many feeling powerless.

Some of the most gregarious industry leaders that normally display a sense of high-end optimism have expressed their concern, despair and dejection. And in doing so they’ve taken responsibility to represent the industry and be honest about how hard things genuinely are.

Many have been brave enough to recognise there are limited opportunities in the industry right now, and they’ve encouraged their people to explore other options. It takes courage and conviction for employers to take this approach. But they’ve done so secure in the knowledge that they have treated their people well and that they share a unrivalled passion for working in the industry – confident that when the tourism industry rebuilds itself, they will welcome these individuals back.

As the most valuable asset of any business, we should take this opportunity to highlight how resilient, agile and people-focused those that work in hospitality and tourism are.

Those faced with the distressing prospect of leaving the industry have an extraordinary set of transferable skills that will be sought-after by hiring employers across other industries, including:

  • Effective communication – attentive to tone, language and verbal behaviours. The ability to communicate with people doesn’t just rely on being outgoing, bubbly, or talkative, it relies on being able to read people, to understand them inherently and have compassion and respect for individuals, mindful of whatever situation a person is in.
  • An ability to work well with people – with compassion, empathy and showing understanding. Everyone’s different and they react to situations in different ways, so being able to get tone of voice right, understand non-verbal behaviours, and being aware of the feelings or thoughts of others is a special skill that can’t be underestimated when dealing with people.
  • Cultural intelligence – respectful of diversity & inclusion. The capability to relate and work effectively across cultures requires an understanding of different values and different social norms – but there’s also an emotional intelligence around how to apply that knowledge.
  • Confident decision-making. Working in a customer-facing role requires leadership and the ability think on your feet very, very quickly. Those with this experience will be hugely confident and able to quickly and easily dispel conflict – they’ve become well-practiced but they’ve also been trained in it and developed their own capabilities.
  • The ability to deal with out of the ordinary situations. When faced with the unexpected it’s important to deal with it in the right way. An ability to read the situation and get the people involved with on board with the resolution is critical. There’s only one of chance to fix it properly and that’s it in the moment – and that takes a certain type of skillset.

It can often be easy to overlook the value of these skills. They come as second nature to those that work in the industry. But it’s important that our people are able to tease these out from their previous experience, recognise their strengths and core values and shout about them in order to secure alternative employment whilst Covid continues to disrupt the industry.

To find a positive way through the crisis we need to focus on our people and look after them. We’re confident that the industry will rebuild itself so we’ll need to inspire future generations to enter the industry – and those that may leave the industry temporarily, to return.

If your teams are facing redundancy, we can support your people to transition into a new role until they can re-join the sector they love. Our connections with industry and our partnerships across the health, care, logistics and retail industries mean we’re uniquely placed to help redeploy those displaced, offering them opportunities within other industries looking for staff.

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