Study: Workplace Wellness Drives Benefits to Hospitality Sector and Beyond

While we report often on the benefits of a well-run workplace wellness program across business sectors, a recent study provides interesting insights into the particular for a specific sector: Hospitality.

The study, “The role of employee wellness programme in the hospitality industry: a review of concepts, research, and practice,” was published in Research in Hospitality Management in 2014. The report states: “In the hospitality industry, employees are critical to firm success, through their intimate interactions with customers to create memorable experiences and relationships… this study offers a detailed review and synthesis of key concepts and existing knowledge in the industry, which produces a framework for further research, as well as managerial implications.”

Among the findings:

  • Engagement: “… Employees who benefit from such programmes exhibit greater interest in and passion for their jobs (O’Rourke and Sullivan 2003), such that they become engaged employees (Saks and Gruman 2011). Customers, who interact closely with employees and serve as co-producers of the service (Argenti and Forman 2004), also benefit from wellness programmes, because they enjoy a higher probability of interacting with engaged, passionate employees who deliver better services (Saks and Gruman 2014). Accordingly, customers likely are more satisfied when they have been served by an engaged employee who is passionate about her or his job (Deng et al. 2010).”
  • Business: “Both customer loyalty and positive word of mouth help secure greater profitability (Cheng et al. 2013) and revenue growth (Brodie et al. 2011) for firms, which is crucial for their corporate sustainability (Ang 2011). In this sense, firms are key beneficiaries of employee wellness programmes (O’Rourke and Sullivan 2003).”
  • Business: “Previous researchers also identify, empirically or theoretically, several tangible benefits that companies might gain from employee wellness programmes, such as increased productivity (Patterson et al. 2004), employee trust (Gilson 2006), commitment (Makrides et al. 2007), and citizenship behaviours (González and Garazo 2006), as well as reduced turnover (Mosadeghrad 2014) and absenteeism (Ho, 1997). Thus firms acknowledge that maintaining the health of their employees can influence their corporate success (Mokaya et al. 2013).”
  • Society: “In the face of high absenteeism and turnover rates, due to stress, burnout, and other health problems related to job demands (Baum, 1998; Blaxter, 1990), employee wellness programme consti- tute an important CSR approach, by which employers can contribute to their employees’ health and well-being, and to society as a whole.”
  • Conclusion: “Employee wellness programmes and their related concepts, such as a corporate wellness culture and CSR, are key factors that can influence the success of hospitality businesses. Positive outcomes of employee wellness programmes, such as employee engagement, customer engagement, productivity, profitability, and so forth, emerge from this review of previous literature. In addition, this article presents several successful business practices associated with the employee wellness programmes implemented by leading hospitality firms, for managerial reference. In turn, it offers four main insights.”

And, importantly, the study concludes that the noted benefits very well may extend beyond the hospitality sector: “Though this study focused on the hospitality industry, key points related to wellness programmes likely generalise to other service industries, such as tourism, airlines, retailing, and information technology, or even to manufacturing. Managers in various industry settings could tailor the findings provided herein to their particular situations to implement effective wellness programmes, build a corporate wellness culture, and engage in CSR.”