Employee wellness trends for 2022

employee wellness trends for 2022

As the hospitality industry works to fix the staffing crisis, employee wellness should be top of mind. Let’s look at some employee wellness trends for 2022.

Employee wellness and wellbeing should be top of mind right now for leaders in the hospitality industry. Nobody should be ignoring it or putting it off. 

Staffing was already an issue before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and, heading into 2022, hotels, resorts, and spas are facing an unprecedented worker shortage. 

So, companies should be looking at any number of potential changes to their recruitment and retention strategies.

People don’t want to work in hospitality

We can’t gloss over it anymore; people don’t want to work in hospitality.

According to Forbes, a recent survey of more than 30,000 job seekers, from Joblist, found that 60% of job seekers would not consider working in a restaurant, bar, hotel or other hospitality job. Of those, 70% said nothing would convince them to work in hospitality. Plus, 38% of former hospitality workers said they are not even considering a hospitality job, and only 26% said higher pay would incentivize them to change their minds.

Fortunately, this can change. As dire as things sound, it’s not an unsolvable problem. It will, however, take attention, time, and financial investment. Hurdles may be bigger in hospitality than other industries, thanks in part to the amount of person-to-person contact required in these industries, but they are not insurmountable. You only control what you can control, but that may be a lot more than you think.

You can make employees feel valued

Companies can increase pay and workplace flexibility. They can listen to their employees and pay attention to people’s needs. A focus on employee wellbeing is something everyone can offer. Making employees feel valued is another thing that everyone can offer. 

Studies show the primary reasons employees quit their jobs is when workplace health and sustainability expectations go unmet and they feel underappreciated and undervalued. And a 2020 survey by Qualtrics found that travel and hospitality employees are the least likely out of all industries surveyed to feel valued at work. 

Focus on mental health

In a recent SWNS poll of 2,000 Americans, 57% said they would willingly exchange supposed perks like “free in-office food” for free mental health resources, and six in 10 ranked health benefits as the most important non-salary-related factor when considering a job. Separate research found that healthcare, sick and parental leave, and flexible work schedules were the most valued workplace benefits. (The specifics of these factors and their importance depends on where people live, as some locations, like Canada, already offer free healthcare).

The Joblist’s report shows that these benefits are currently a major factor in attracting employees, with 55% of job seekers saying they would even consider taking a lower-paying job if it offered better benefits.

More findings include: 74% of job seekers believe employers need to re-evaluate their benefits after the pandemic and 43% of job seekers say benefits are more important than financial compensation when considering a new job.

Digital outreach

Technology can play a role. There’s suggestion that tech can help keep people engaged in their own health and employers in the loop. One example is ​​the Moodbeam, a tech wellness device that links to a mobile phone app and web interface. The device has  two buttons, one yellow and one blue. Users press the yellow button when they’re feeling happy, and the blue one when they’re unhappy. The idea is to have team members voluntarily wear the device to increase awareness and communication. 

The Moodbeam is said to be “a complete solution, helping you map happiness across your people and teams, driving positive change and improved wellbeing.”

What more should one know about employee wellbeing going into 2022?

Wellbeing and wellness programs are an employment-brand differentiator

Ryan Wolf, Physical Wellbeing Lead, Gallup

According to Ryan Wolf, Physical Wellbeing Lead at Gallup, employers are looking to wellbeing “as a solution for the great resignation.” When we asked Wolf what employee wellness trends he’s predicting for 2022, he said, “A continued double down on mental health – and a greater realization that the wellbeing and wellness programs are an employment-brand differentiator.”

Wolf explained, “The pandemic has made mental wellbeing a subject that doesn’t have to be danced around anymore. It is a safe subject to discuss and address – and employees are expecting their manager, leaders, and employer to genuinely care about them as a human being. Employers who demonstrate just how much they care about their employees will see a trickle-down effect to customers.”

We also asked Wolf to explain how employee wellbeing strategies contribute to employee acquisition and retention, as well as how it affects a business’ bottom line.  

He said, “Employees want to know that all their needs are being met. Gallup conducted a large international study in the early 2000’s called the World Poll to discover the differentiators between a good life and a great life. Career, social, financial, physical and community wellbeing were the common elements of wellbeing identified by world residents. Employers who can address these elements (in conversation, through communication, and via interventions) will boost employee wellbeing which has downstream effects on all the significant KPIs that business leaders are evaluating and managing.”

Particularly in hospitality and wellness, happy employees are key to the guest experience, upon which revenue is entirely dependent. Those who don’t place a premium on employee wellness and wellbeing will almost certainly pay for it.

Employers who recognize this positive trend of making employee experience part of their employer brand, on the other hand, are far more likely to thrive.

Wolf said, “We are experiencing a purpose crisis, one fueled by a lack of fulfillment and negative emotions. Deaths of despair, ranging from obesity to overdosing, are higher than ever.  Employers who can integrate meaningfulness into jobs and roles will create a workforce, a workplace, and a balance sheet that thrives and flourishes.”


We’ve released a list of the spa & wellness trends we’ll be watching next year. Click here to download the Handbook: Seven wellness trends for 2022

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