Hospitality’s Future Must Include Active Risk Management & Safety Protocols

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Hospitality’s Future Must Include Active Risk Management & Safety Protocols

By Michal Christine Escobar - 10/28/2020

September’s BLS Jobs Report revealed a decline in the unemployment rate from 8.4% in August to 7.9%, with notable job gains in leisure and hospitality, retail and health care among others. While millions more remain unemployed, September’s activity means that about 12 million jobs have been recovered since the mid-March economic shutdown which caused about 22 million layoffs. Although there’s still a ways to go on the road to recovery, there are a few things the hospitality sector can do to keep growing. To learn what that is, Hospitality Technology spoke with Michael Schultz, founder of Aclaimant.

As the job market recovers due to the initial hit it took from COVID-19, how is the workplace evolving?

The workplace is in the throes of where Digital Darwinism meets corporate social responsibility and employment practices liability. Thank you COVID-19. There has never been a better time to back up the rhetoric of transparency and trust in and outside of the workplace with tools that promote dialogue instead of a monologue. Zoom fatigue is real, but the most refreshing upside of the COVID-19 experience is creating an environment of resiliency and creativity that employees and employers can use to grow personally and professionally.

How can the hospitality industry plan for an uptick in new hires in the coming months? What do they need to do from an employee safety perspective?

I would wager that without a dynamic playbook for implementing and accounting for a safe and secure workplace then there is no uptick at all. Talented people have options and they aren’t going to gravitate toward unsafe employers or companies that don’t live their values. In order to move forward, active risk management and safety protocols must be a part of every organization's identity. A sure-fire way to win back your customer base is to demonstrate that absolute safety is a major component of the dining experience and have the employees to prove it. 

Have you seen an increase in job roles focused around health and safety? What are the benefits of companies incorporating these roles into their workforce?

We have not really seen an increase in health and safety job roles because the world of health and safety still has not elevated its status to a profit center. The world of safety and risk management is often underserved and misunderstood and the ability to articulate and illustrate the complexity of workplace safety workflow is not exactly sexy. The number one challenge that companies face with COVID-19 is simply survival and yet their very survival is now a function of how they are being accountable for re-entry into the workplace – just check in with OHSA.  COVID-19 is code for how to make the world safe again, the worksite safe again and the home safe again, and until we dedicate the resources that address personal and personnel protective equipment as a starting point, we will not be able then to resume the privilege of dining out.

How can the hospitality industry mitigate workplace risks as businesses recover and reopen their doors?

One of the most challenging issues facing any industry group, association, or chamber of commerce is my Ghostbusters approach: Who You Gonna Call?

It is incumbent upon the hospitality industry to think beyond the traditional model of outsourcing subject matter expertise and to think in terms of becoming a Business Process Outsourcing partner and begin to take ownership and authorship of the most innovative, creative, and fundamentally sound tools and resources that deploy an active risk management strategy. I understand that conflicts of interest are a possibility and professional liability exposures are real but this is where leadership becomes a premium. The small proprietor has the same problems as the large proprietor but they just don't always know it and don't have the resources to execute enterprise risk management. Who better than hospitality people to provide insight and solutions that engage the consumer and empowers the employee to report, document, and triage an incident before it becomes a claim. In order to do this, it’s critical that the hospitality industry utilizes innovative technology to better streamline and manage their safety, incident management, analytics and claim reviews into one dedicated platform. 

Any other comments you would like to share?

It's time to stop relying on the idea that when it comes to workplace risks, this is what insurance is for. Begin to realize that the U in Underwriter is YOU.