Creating an “open environment” in which people can talk about their anxieties and worries is crucial in helping staff going through a tough time mentally during the Covid-19 crisis.
Three major travel companies talked about what they are doing to support staff and improve their mental health during TTG’s first Get Travel Talking seminar as the industry goes through enormous changes due to the pandemic.
The importance of showing “kindness” to colleagues and “looking out for each other” were also key recommendations, during a session titled: Supporting staff and building resilience.
Rachel O’Reilly, UK head of communications at Kuoni, said: “It’s important to be kind – mental health is invisible which is one of the major challenges. A lot of people will remain silent.
“Talking is really important and encouraging an open environment where people feel able to ask colleagues for support. Not everybody is going to feel comfortable sharing, but encourage a culture of communication and sharing; asking if people are ok."
Danielle Grant, head of HR EMEA at Royal Caribbean Group, said the cruise company had targeted “breaking down barriers around mental health”.
“Education and building awareness is important,” she added. “We went through a journey to break barriers and change the conversation so it’s ok to talk about mental health and share your stories.
“You need to find ways in an organisation to start that conversation – it doesn’t cost anything but can make a huge difference.”
They also talked about the support they were offering to staff concerned about returning to their offices after months of working at home.
Laura Herbert, global head of people and talent at Travel Counsellors, said all staff have access to a counsellor who they can talk to about any issues worrying them.
“It’s important to stick together as a community,” she added. “We appreciate it’s a very challenging time for our people at the moment. It’s about personalisation and understanding each individual’s needs."
Get Travel Talking also featured a presentation from the Centre for Crisis Psychology, outlining the pressures Covid-19 has placed on the industry with advice for protecting your mental health and a panel discussion with travel professionals who have created support groups to help colleagues to ensure nobody is suffering through these tough times alone.
To watch the full seminar on-demand become a TTG+ member today. Join for only £1 to gain access,