Kendall College at National Louis University conducted research between Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 on the status of health and well-being initiatives in hospitality. The research involved in-depth surveys with 27 hotels and 18 restaurants, for a total sample of 45 hospitality businesses located primarily in the Chicago region. In addition, working collaboratively with the national food service research firm, Datassential, a sample of 401 food service providers from across the U.S. was collected. The findings confirmed that poor working conditions have helped drive turnover and that current and prospective employees are seeking healthy, safe and inclusive work environments with reliable, supportive people who take employees’ health and well-being into consideration. In response, employers are attempting to address working conditions in the industry, with increased compensation and health benefits among the most prominent initiatives. Employers are providing greater flexibility in scheduling and touting quality-of-life factors such as paid time off, limited overtime, reduced scheduling/40-hour work weeks, and extended personal/parental leave along with fitness memberships, tuition reimbursement, retirement planning, and discounts on products and services. Mental health initiatives include EAPs and benefits that cover therapy or medication along with yoga/relaxation workshops and areas for employees to de-stress. Few participants had concrete plans to evaluate the impact of these strategies, mainly focusing on observed workplace behavior, retention and turnover data or employee feedback. A sizeable percentage of participants reported having no specific wellness programs and a small number of food service respondents responded negatively to the suggestion of supporting employees' well-being needs. Future research is needed to assess which strategies work best and why to help hospitality managers know where to place their limited resources of time and resources.
Popely, Deborah and Uhlir, Leigh, "Advancing Health and Well-Being in Hospitality: Employers Respond to New Workforce Expectations" (2023). Kendall College Research. 3.