Staff engagement crucial over lockdown

Businesses need to stay close to their teams during Britain’s lockdown to make sure staff are engaged and motivated when venues reopen.

Businesses need to stay close to their teams during Britain’s lockdown to make sure staff are engaged and motivated when venues reopen.


CGA’s December Business Confidence Survey, produced in association with Fourth, identified employee engagement as a top priority for business leaders in 2021, with the wellbeing of furloughed staff a particular concern. Nine in ten (91%) business leaders said they had increased the frequency of communication with their staff, and two thirds (65%) said they had been in touch at least weekly. Four in five (79%) had stepped up their wellbeing support and guidance, and well over a third (39%) had used the period of uncertainty to prioritise training and professional development.


At a December vodcast to discuss the Survey, Karl Chessell, CGA’s director for hospitality operators and food EMEA, said staff engagement during 2020 had been excellent.

The sector has done a remarkable job of ensuring that staff are engaged and ready to return. The perceptions of a lot of employees is really positive, despite everything we’ve been through.”

Workers’ concerns about job security have been heightened in the latest lockdown, and TriSpan operating partner Robin Rowland highlighted the challenge of bringing people back to work after long periods of furlough. The battering of the market in 2020 has also made it harder for the industry to promote itself as a place to build a career, he said. “People who work in hospitality don’t feel very loved at the moment, and we need to encourage them to come back.”


Research has continually shown the positive impact learning and development has had on keeping team members engaged and prepared ahead of returning to work and support is available for your teams during the current lockdown from CPL Learning. These include free online courses such as Mental Health Support Champion and Personal Resilience to support teams’ emotional and mental wellbeing. Teams can also access a range of inspirational and motivational content to help them in their hospitality career on the CPL Learning Aspire channel. Here your teams will find blog articles, videos and resources that cover a range of topics to help build towards hospitality success.


CGA’s Business Confidence Survey also highlighted a contraction in staff numbers, with leaders predicting that their workforces would be an average of a quarter lower in February 2021 than they were in February 2020. Two thirds of leaders say they will recruit no (29%) or fewer (38%) new staff this year.

The end of the new lockdown should see recruitment pick up again—which could lead to a different type of problem. “As sites open we’re going to need more people, because the underlying demand is still there—we saw that during Eat Out to Help Out,” said Karl Chessell.

Predicting the levels of staffing that are needed after lockdown would be hard, said Fourth analytics director Max Tucker. “As we enter this new period of uncertainty… there are going to be big challenges in getting the right people in and holding on to talent.”


To watch a full replay of CGA’s Business Confidence Survey and people vodcast, click here

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