Globally, health experts are concerned about the continuing high levels of grief, fear, anxiety and uncertainty that individuals are experiencing as a result of Covid-19 – increasingly referred
to as an ‘emotional tsunami.’
The pandemic has also significantly impacted almost every industry, with companies in the
gaming and hospitality industry particularly hard hit.
Award-winning hospitality and entertainment company, Peermont Hotels, Casinos and Resorts,
was no exception. Being in tune with the needs of their people, the Peermont Executive team became
increasingly concerned about the impact of this emotional tsunami on their people’s wellbeing
as well as their ability to deliver on the company’s purpose of “creating exceptional memories
by delivering relaxing stays and exciting times.” The reality is, no matter how committed you
are to the bigger purpose, it becomes difficult to focus on the needs of others when you feel
“We definitely live in unprecedented times and need coping mechanisms,” said Nigel Atherton,
Group Chief Executive Officer.
Peermont’s Executive team embraced this challenge as an opportunity to demonstrate to their
employees that they are valued contributors to the success of the organisation and that their
leaders care. The team identified the need for a personal wellbeing programme that would
build resilience and agility – personal attributes required to live the Peermont Way.
A phased approach
Free To Grow’s Staying Strong programme and toolkit were selected to address this need. Implementation took place in three phases. During Phase 1, Free To Grow presented the Staying Strong programme virtually to 750 leaders, spanning 12 sites in South Africa and Botswana. This provided leaders, from Executives to Supervisors, with an opportunity to ‘put on their own mask’ as far as wellbeing is concerned before proceeding to assist their staff in this journey.
Experience and value of the programme
This opportunity was deeply valued by the majority of leaders, as can be seen from their evaluation of the different facets of the programme:
Phase 2 comprised equipping these leaders with the skills to use the Staying Strong Toolkit for focused 10 to 30 mins wellbeing conversations with their teams. The toolkit consists of 15 short videos with powerful, relatable messages on different facets of wellbeing. With the aid of a user-friendly, step-by-step guide, leaders engaged their teams in conversations around the message of each video and how to apply it to their work and lives.
Phase 3 involved putting the toolkit to action and Malebo Mpepele, Group Training and Development Manager at Peermont, expressed appreciation for the commitment of the Executive team.
“They did not just pay lip-service to support our people to Stay Strong, their hearts were really in it. They led by example and this made all the difference.”
Group Training & Development Manager
Talking to the impact of the toolkit, Malebo shared:
“In the units where we could implement the Staying Strong Toolkit, it worked brilliantly. Our leaders and staff loved it and used it. It made a huge contribution to staff morale and relationships. Leaders interact with their people all the time. The toolkit gave them the tools to do this in a way that had a positive impact. I also loved its visual nature, the images were strong and created interest. It was very engaging and touched and strengthened people. We are grateful for this tool to look after and care for our people.”
Describing her experience of working with Free To Grow, Malebo concluded:
“Free To Grow is not just a service provider, they are a real partner. They care about the success of the programme and were ready to jump in and assist whenever we needed help or advice