Industry-wide, travel companies are making staff adjustments to stay operational during this coronavirus-induced existential crisis. How companies treat their employees during this time could have a big effect on how they’re seen once travel opens back up, according to GlobalData.
A demotivated workforce will jeopardize the service level provided, in turn affecting the reputation, return on investment (ROI) and the financial performance of a company.
Freezing recruitment, reducing working hours, decreasing pay, furloughing workers and, in some cases, redundancies have been adjustments undertaken by companies across the sector. Staffing adjustments have been the most common action undertaken by travel management so far to ultimately save costs.
The treatment of its workforce can reflect the ethical standards of a company. As more drastic measures are taken, employee wellbeing should not be forgotten. GlobaData’s Global Q4 2018 Consumer Survey found that 81 percent of the global traveler community are ‘always,’ ‘often’ or ‘somewhat’ influenced by ethics. Thus, post-COVID-19, employers that have mistreated their workforce in any way may be shunned by the public but also by their own workforce, significantly affecting their operational performance.
Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, says while larger companies like TUI, Hays Travel and OTAs like Booking.com are making “substantial staff adjustments in order to save on costs during a time where cash is vital.” Meanwhile, smaller independent companies “are looking to form more creative solutions to ensure their workforces remain motivated and in-cohort at this time of uncertainty, whether by aiding the community or developing relationships. TailorMadeTravel, for example, introduced a virtual call center for the National Health Service (NHS) in the U.K.”
Bonhill-Smith adds, “Even though staffing adjustments are vital for many a company to stay in operation, ethical standards and employee wellbeing must still be considered. Conclusively, in a post-COVID-19 world, a committed workforce will be a key differentiator in the operational efficiency and productivity of one company over another.”