Facilitating counselling sessions, cross-training staff in different departments and engaging employees by reassigning new duties have been a key focus for the hotels that were affected by the unfortunate Easter attacks.
The General Manager of The Kingsbury, Christine Chevalaz said that with the number of tourists dropping, “the management has taken this opportunity to cross-train staff and improve their ability to multitask.” Chevalaz, who was appointed last year as the General Manager to The Kingsbury, believes by cross-training the staff, it will place them in a competitive position when business picks up and boost the employee’s morale by keeping them engaged.
Chevalaz made these statements at an event organized by the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) to initiate a dialogue on the impact on human resource in the tourism sector since the attack.
According to the Chairman of the SLITHM, Dilip De Silva, over 1500 hotel school graduates had lost their placements at hotels in the weeks following the attacks.
Vice President/ General Manager of Shangri-La Colombo and Vice President of Brand Marketing for Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts, Timothy Wright and Dileep Mudadeniya, also attended the event as guests speakers in addition to the Chairman of the SLTPB, Kishu Gomes.
The representatives of all three hotels stated that they had not laid any of their staff but had stopped taking in new recruits. In the aftermath of the attacks, the hotels emphasised that attending to the well-being of the staff and guests were their top priority.
Staff well-being at the heart of steps taken
Speaking at the event, Wright said that the management at Shangri-La Colombo has taken a decision to prioritise the well-being of their staff and guests over revenue for the time being.
He explained that immediately after the attacks, the entire staff force was given five days of special leave to help them recover from this traumatic experience. Similar to The Kingsbury and Cinnamon, the Shangri-La also had an on-site psychologist to provide counselling sessions for their staff.
“We have conducted several counselling sessions for our staff, for those who are injured as well as for families that are bereaved,” Wright added.
The management of Shangri-La has taken steps to deploy some staff members to Shangri-La hotels in other hotels to help out in busy periods. They are also looking at other opportunities to maximise the use of staff once the hotel is open.
“We are looking at reassigning some of our team members in security where the need has significantly increased and we are keen on continuing our relationship with the hotel school despite the drop in business and provide the experience the graduates are in need of,” Wright added.