State of Talent Trend: Mental Health, Safety, and Wellbeing

Organizations must measure employee wellbeing, happiness, stress, satisfaction, and purpose. Everyone should ask themselves, “How am I creating a thriving workplace?” One of the kindest things a manager can do is reassure their employees that they understand that the environment is uncertain. The past few years have shaken everyone’s confidence in health, job security, and income. Employees want reassurance that they are being considered and heard. 

Pandemic fears attuned individuals to new factors and above property safety and hygiene became business drivers. Marketing and sales teams designed wellness initiatives to elevate the guest experiences. The recovery was fast but uneven, impacted by supply-chain issues, rising real estate prices, and high inflation. We know the pandemic changed individual work expectations and team relationships. It was not possible to separate work from home and many were not interested in returning to the workplace or returning to the same rules as before. We see a dichotomy of how organizations and workers decide on what comes next.  

Pre-COVID, it could be a badge of honor in many companies to show up sick and there were workplaces where it was expected that if you took time, time, should be replaced. Today, many workers are prioritizing mental health, flexibility and company culture over the “work-is-life” mentality. 

What Employees Want  

Staffing shortages and high turnover created stress and anxiety for many teams. Continually being expected to do more with less is resulting in burnout. Budgets are tight while expenses have been under pressure from 40-year high inflation and increasing compensation and benefits expense.  

Employees are:  

  • Seeking work/life balance and manageable stress.
  • Evaluating their own mental health in their decisions to stay or leave.
  • Are feeling extremely vulnerable, especially early career employees.
  • A rewarding and meaningful career that challenges them without demanding the sacrifice of health and balance in their lives
  • Looking for leaders who demonstrate empathy. 

Unrelenting stress is the most-often-cited reason for people leaving Gallup has reported that global daily stress levels are at 44%, the highest ever recorded, with women in the U.S. and Canada reporting the highest rates of all. Employees report that it is an accumulation of things, not one specific thing, that leads to their resignations. It is this accumulation that is also leading to burnout for those who cannot afford to resign. Globally, workers’ confidence to improve their financial situation has been falling since January 2022. Employee engagement and wellbeing have been stagnant for three years, after rising for more than a decade according to Gallup. Just 21% of employees are engaged at work and 33% are thriving in their overall wellbeing. Europe and South Asia have been hardest hit by continued waves of COVID-19. 

Retention Efforts  

For so long, work was at the heart of how employees viewed themselves and the pandemic changed that. Mental health became more important than outworking colleagues. Influencers, from Olympic athletes to rock stars, spoke out about prioritizing mental health. Hoteliers and others responded with strategies dubbed loud retention. These were employee-focused strategies for motivating and rewarding employees. Encouraged companies to refresh their talent experience and put people at the center of their business growth. Managers are learning to individualize employee needs. Flexibility is essential for many, in hours, location, and work arrangements. It also means setting clear expectations and reasonable productivity measures and allowing individuals to meet their goals. Wellness programs, skill building, and soft skill development can become part of team and individual discussions. 

New recruits are looking at what companies are offering for wellbeing programs. According to Indeed, 80% of potential recruits report that it is important to see wellbeing information when considering working at a company. Finally, build your understanding of what drives wellbeing. Indeed, measures four key indicators of wellbeing — happiness, stress, satisfaction, and purpose. They also look at key drivers such as foundational needs, such as fair pay, flexibility, and trust; social needs like belonging, inclusion, support, and appreciation, and being well-managed; and growth needs such as learning, achievement and being energized by your work. By examining all these holistically, you’ll have a better idea of where your organization stands.  

Calls to Action: 

  • Realign guest-centricity to meet guest expectations around health, safety, and wellbeing. 
  • Highlight career path opportunities along with personal and professional growth to help build a talent pipeline and retain valued team members.  
  • Monitor, measure, and prioritize staff wellbeing to create healthy workplaces and teams.  
  • Review your Employee Engagement Survey to ensure it asks relevant health and wellbeing questions. 


To provide insight on solutions, Hamza Khan, Speaker, Author and Leadership Expert, shared his wisdom from his research and his book, The Burnout Gamble, in a video series exclusively for HSMAI Organizational Members. 

To read more about the top talent trends, download The State of Hotel Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization Talent 2022-23: HSMAI Foundation Special Report. 

Categories: Sales, Talent and Leadership Development
Insight Type: Articles