Business

COLIN NEILL: People Promise is key to maximising potential of hospitality and tourism sectors

Launching the Wellbeing and Development Promise are (from left) Ciaran O’Neill, chair of HATS Network and managing director of Bishops Gate Hotel; Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster; Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality Ulster; and David Roberts, director of strategic development at Tourism Northern Ireland
Launching the Wellbeing and Development Promise are (from left) Ciaran O’Neill, chair of HATS Network and managing director of Bishops Gate Hotel; Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster; Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality U Launching the Wellbeing and Development Promise are (from left) Ciaran O’Neill, chair of HATS Network and managing director of Bishops Gate Hotel; Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster; Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality Ulster; and David Roberts, director of strategic development at Tourism Northern Ireland

HOSPITALITY workers are some of the most passionate, inspiring, and resilient individuals that Northern Ireland’s workforce has to offer. We have all experienced the impact of good hospitality service; nothing is too big an ask, and the positivity and attention to detail leaves a lasting positive impact on our meal, pint, or stay.

It is the people who work in our pubs, restaurants, hotels, and cafés who have allowed hospitality to be the great economic driver and catalyst for tourism that it is. They work tirelessly in highly pressurised and busy environments to consistently deliver excellence to everyone who walks through their doors.

It is so important that hospitality staff feel valued, supported in the workplace, and satisfied in their jobs. At a time when the sector is grappling with severe workforce shortages and heightened pressures, it is vital that we find a way to retain the workforce that is currently Northern Ireland’s fourth largest private sector employer.

This is why Hospitality Ulster, in partnership with Tourism Northern Ireland and Hospitality and Tourism Skills (HATS) has delivered the roll-out of the Wellbeing and Development Promise, a UK-wide initiative developed by the UK Hospitality & Tourism Skills Board, to attract and retain talent in both the hospitality and tourism sectors, boost career opportunities and ultimately improve staff wellbeing.

Some of the key recommendations of the Promise includes a pledge to consider a wide range of pay and benefits and flexible working arrangements for staff, implement a diversity and inclusion policy, identify training and development opportunities for all staff, minimise mental health challenges associated with the workplace, and enforce an anti-harassment policy.

The holistic approach to the Promise will ensure that staff members not only feel valued as a member of the team but feel supported by their employer in their wider life outside of work. The Wellbeing and Development Promise also pledges to upskill individuals through new training programmes so that staff can progress, avoid stagnation, and flourish in their career.

Hospitality is a fulfilling, life-long, and rewarding career and we know that investing in and developing its employees is the stimulant for a productive and vibrant sector.

For all that they do, our hospitality workers deserve to feel appreciated and recognised. We can all do our bit to show some love to staff working in hospitality and tourism this summer, it all goes a long way in making staff feel valued and appreciated by the customers they serve.

:: Colin Neill is chief executive of Hospitality Ulster