Travel Employers and The Need to Embrace Sustainability

7th June 2022

Covid raised many challenges for employers in the travel industry, and whilst it’s not yet a completely historical event, employers now start to face challenges of different types. With the pandemic changing the focus for many, difficulties in recruitment and retention of staff are increasingly common. The travel industry is very much amidst the recruitment and retention issues that have been well publicised in the press. Employers continually have to think about what they can do differently to overcome these issues in the modern workplace. The great reinvention is on!

There is no doubt that there is an increased awareness of social and environmental issues in society. Aside from the importance of these topics in themselves, in order to give themselves a competitive advantage some companies are giving their contribution to social and environmental issues a heightened focus. Potential job applicants are questioning a prospective employer on their equality and diversity initiatives. The majority of staff want the company they work for to be more open about their environmental impact and some employees will refuse to work for a company that profits from unsustainable practices.
There is a pressing issue here, for Travel Employers and the need to embrace sustainability is becoming paramount in the modern workplace. As employers increasingly have to change their approach to the environment and sustainability and in turn keep staff informed and engaged, several initiatives are starting to emerge. Here are a few:

  • Working from home or hybrid working is now common practice amongst most that are able to work from home – reducing their carbon footprint and supporting the achievement of a net Zero target.
  • Career break policies – in some cases a paid sabbatical (at a reduced rate of pay) to undertake certain volunteering activities for approved environmental organisations.
  • Contributions towards the cost of sustainable clothing.
  • Additional holiday leave to encourage sustainable travel– staff are rewarded with an additional day or two of leave to be tagged onto existing holiday booked, if they travel overseas without flying or domestically without flights or use of a car.

Focusing on the additional holiday leave as reward for travelling sustainably, is this going to have a consequential impact on the travel industry? Time will tell, but my own views are that the additional leave will be taken up by the additional time required to travel sustainably. For those for whom time is precious or are confined to school holidays the attraction may not be there (not to mention the additional travel time spent with children!) That said for those for whom sustainability and their own carbon footprint is important, this may be the difference for a job applicant to choose between potential employers. There is little doubt that sustainability is something that the travel industry will need to continue to consider whether that means how the impact of air travel on the environment can be reduced or looking at alternative ways to travel.

It goes without saying that what works for one company may not necessarily work for another, but the fact remains that social and environmental issues are likely to play an intrinsic part in the modern working world. It’s vital that Travel Employers embrace sustainability. If you are considering how to adopt sustainability measures that impact your workforce please do get in touch.

For help and advice on employment issues within the travel industry, contact; 

ami@travlaw.co.uk

or call;

0113 258 0033

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