Employee well-being is crucial to longevity in the drinks and hospitality industry, says The Drinks Trust’s annual survey


According to a new study by The Drinks Trust, proactive well-being support is the key to success for the drinks and hospitality industry and its people.

The annual Drinks Trust Industry Survey, which polls people throughout the drinks and hospitality industries in partnership with Kingsland Drinks, aims to uncover the industry’s individuals’ challenges over the previous 12 months. 

In 2024, staff within the industry are increasingly citing positive well-being approaches as critical to many areas of their work lives.

There have been some positive improvements in recent years; uplifting data shows that almost half (41%) of people surveyed said that their businesses have improved well-being processes over the last five years, and – if a company has a well-being lead – the most common timeframe for sharing resources or offering training and support is once a month.

However, The Drinks Trust emphasises that there is still a long way to go, as nearly a third (29%) of individuals report never receiving communication from well-being leads regarding resources, support, or training. This is particularly concerning for industry employees who frequently work long or antisocial hours, as such support can be a crucial lifeline.

There are economic benefits, too. Businesses can tackle absenteeism and staff turnover by adopting a preventative and structured approach to promoting well-being in the workplace. According to findings, people seeking support most frequently turn to friends and family, with managers being just the third most common source of assistance. In 2023 Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) reported that poor mental health accounts for more than half of all work-related illnesses, 76% of respondents took time off as sick leave due to stress and poor mental health was blamed in 63% of long-term absences. Absenteeism due to poor mental health and well-being costs the UK economy £18 Billion in lost staff time every year in the UK.

It is essential to implement employee well-being policies proactively and take these initiatives seriously. Implementing measures such as a well-being policy, training teams to understand more about workplace mental health and well-being with accredited courses, or having regular team catch-ups and signposting will ensure the sector’s longevity with individuals eager to learn, progress, and become the leaders of tomorrow.

One beacon of positivity from the survey results shows that the sector had come a long way since the pandemic, when the reputation of drinks and hospitality careers was severely damaged. In 2024, two-thirds of respondents (65%) indicated that they view the drinks and hospitality industry as their long-term career choice, maintaining the same percentage as last year’s results.

Furthermore, many respondents say experience in front-line industry roles not only sets up team members with a wealth of transferrable skills but is proving critical to longer-term career prospects, with a third (31%) stating that service roles have been crucial in their development.

Ross Carter comments on the findings: “Investing in employee well-being policies is not just an act of corporate kindness; it’s a strategic imperative that fuels productivity, fosters innovation, and builds a resilient workforce. By prioritising the health and content of their people, companies pave the way for sustainable success and a thriving organisational culture. Our survey’s findings clearly show how crucial the well-being of employees is and how it’s vitally linked to a healthier and more productive workforce. In November, The Drinks Trust launched its Business Advisory Programme to create and implement preventative well-being solutions to assist companies with their well-being journeys and as a response to a clear industry need. I urge industry businesses keen to start working on their well-being journey but don’t have the tools or the know-how to get in touch with us so we can showcase how our Business Advisory Programme could support you and your employees.”

Jo Taylorson from Kingsland Drinks, which partnered with The Drinks Trust for the research, said: “Ensuring the longevity of the drinks and hospitality sectors is critical – the industry is one which supports thousands of people and their families in the UK. It’s good to see that well-being is being taken seriously by many within the sector; at Kingsland Drinks, our Thirsty Earth programme – which aims to build a better drinks industry now and for the future – includes well-being as a key part of our Society pillar, and as an employee-owned business, it’s something we take seriously. We actively engage our employees to ensure their opinions and suggestions are worked into the very fabric of our firm and how we operate. As a firm that touches every part of the industry from the creation of drinks, design, production and distribution to both the on and off trade, we can see first-hand how this impacts all aspects of the business and the wider sector.

“The Drinks Trust’s Well-being Champions course is something that we have taken advantage of at Kingsland Drinks and we’d highly recommend it to any other firm looking to promote well-being. It enables middle managers and team members outside traditional HR functions to learn how to support their colleagues and create healthy workplace well-being practises.”

Ross continues: “The Drinks Trust’s Business Advisory Programme (BAP) has been created to meet the challenges that drinks and hospitality businesses face in designing and executing a meaningful well-being strategy. Our ground-breaking service provides ongoing support and proactive, practical welfare solutions for staff members.

“Looking to the future, 24% of those surveyed said that professional training and qualifications are key to success over the next 12 months, with a further 18% saying that mentoring would help them in their career. This is also something that the wider drinks and hospitality industries can take on board to futureproof the sector. For this reason, I’d like to remind the industry that our skills and training programme, DEVELOP, intends to bring much-needed staff into our industry and upskill those already working within it. Since its launch in 2022, it has exceeded expectations, and in only two years, we have delivered skills and opportunities to over 1500 people and have facilitated the employment of 200. If you are looking for upskilling opportunities or wish to partner with the programme, please contact us for more information”.

To find out more about the services provided by The Drinks Trust, visit www.drinkstrust.org.uk/

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