The nature of the hotel industry is dynamic due to fluctuating profits, tight margins and pressure to deliver high quality service to their guests /patrons. High employee turnover, Presenteeism and Absenteeism within the Hospitality Industry presents a challenge for effective management (Demir, 2004) Confronted with a tight labour supply and the need to enhance service quality, today’s hospitality managers should look to invest in human resources rather than just minimizing labour costs (Klebanow and Elder, 1992)
In a study conducted amongst hotel employees it was found that workers health was increasingly declining due to stress and obesity caused by shift work and fatigue as a result of working long hours, bad eating habits, unpredictable shifts, few breaks, heavy physical demands (Wallace, 2003) casualization and high employee turnover.
The table below shows the various risk, environment and health outcomes experienced by employees of the hospitality and tourism industry.
|RISK||Physical Work Environment Description||Health Outcomes|
|Noise, hearing and high sound levels||
|Hearing loss, mental fatigue, lack of concentration can lead to accidents|
|Low light conditions||
|Higher accident risk|
|Temperature and breathing problems||
|Discomfort, heat stress, inability to concentrate, muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, weakness, headaches, heat stroke.|
|Physically demanding work||
|MSDs such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, etc|
|Contact with dangerous substances||
|Eczema, biological infections, dermatitis, skin allergies, eye and nose irritations, allergies and respiratory diseases.|
|Equipment and technology||
|Slips, trips and falls||
|Accidents can cause sprains, broken limbs, injured necks and backs, cuts and bruises from falling and injuries from falling onto or into machinery, or into deep fat fryers.|
|Cuts, Limbs caught in moving parts, electric shock, lacerations and needle stick injuries, rape and assault.|
|Smoking, alcohol consumption||
|Irritant and respiratory symptoms, cancer, lower life expectancy.|
|Violence, harassment and discrimination
|Physical violence includes instances of kicking, pushing, burning someone with hot equipment or food and throwing objects.
Unwanted sexual attention
|High workload and stress||
|Workers in the tourism sector report more than average headaches, stress and fear.
Impaired work-life balance.
Depression, increased absenteeism.
|Organization, management and working climate||
|Autonomy and control||
|Training and learning opportunities||
SOURCE: Dienstbuhl & Dietmar, European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (2008) Cited in “Protecting Workers in hotels, restaurants and catering”.
The hospitality sector is both physically and psychologically demanding, with employees having little control or authority of their environment, (Hinkin & Tracey 2000). Stress is rampant, the majority of the tourism workforce are young and inexperienced, thus role ambiguity and role conflict are commonly experienced by these young workers within the hospitality sector, their work is described as low skilled, mundane and repetitive with poor quality training and supervision causing low job satisfaction (Hinkin & Tracey, 2000). This sector is therefore experiencing high turnover rates, absenteeism, due to ill-health, presenteeism caused by stress and low energy levels leading to the low levels of service quality experienced. The largely intangible nature of the service, meaning concurrent consumption and production, are the key role of employees in producing the hospitality product (Bowen & Ford, 2004).
Hospitality employees fulfill roles which demand high levels of interaction and communication between hosts and guests. For those working in hospitality, these interactions have the potential to generate considerable stress which is a causal agent in physical and mental disorders leading to absenteeism, and reduced productivity ( Ganster and Schaubroeck, 1991) and low organizational commitment.
So there is the why, what is the solution to this problem? Eat better, Exercise more, Meditate, join a social club, listen to Music, drink more Coffee and Wine… or you could increase Organizational Commitment and Service Quality through the use of Health and Wellness Programmes. In order to increase Productivity, Job Performance, and lower Stress and increase Engagement; management must show an active interest in their employee’s well being as well as involve them in the act of creating a wellness Programme as they are the participants of such.
Journals used –
Birdir, Kemal. “General Manager Turnover and Root Causes.” International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 14, no. 1 (2002): 43-47.
Brien, Anthony. “The New Zealand Hotel Industry: Vacancies increase while applicant numbers and calibre decrease.” International Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Administration 5, no. 1 (2004): 87-108.
Bowen, John, and Robert Ford. “What experts say about managing hospitality service delivery systems.” International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 16, no. 7 (2004): 394-401.
Davidson, Michael, Nils Timo, and Ying Wang. “How much does Labour Turnover Cost? A case study of Australian four-five star hotels.” International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 22, no. 4 (2010): 451-466.
Demir, Cengiz. “The Importance of Human Resources Planning for Tourism Administration.” The school of Tourism Administration and Hotel Management, 2004: 293-298.
Hinkin, Timothy R, and J Bruce Tracey. “The cost turnover: Putting a price on the learning curve.” Cornell University 41, no. 3 (2000): 14-21.
Ganster, Daniel, and John Schaubroeck. “Work Stress and Employee Health.” Journal of Management 17, no. 2 (1991): 235-271.
Wallace, Meredith. OSH Implications of Shiftwork and Irregular hours of Work: Guidelines for Managing Shiftwork. Sydney: Ivanhoe East Vic: Health & Work Behaviour Management Consultants, 2003.