Passion for Engagement: by Emma Jayne – HR Director at The Savoy and HR in hospitality committee member

I was delighted last evening to be hosting HRIH’s latest event at The Savoy when we welcomed Jonathan Austin, Founder and CEO of Best Companies as our guest speaker. I am fortunate to have the privilege to work closely with Jonathan in the last eighteen months, through our desire to improve and evolve our levels of engagement at The Savoy as well as climb up the charts on the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies and whenever we meet, whether for a coffee, breakfast or otherwise, I am always struck by Jonathan’s passionate approach to the subject of engagement.

I hoped our beautiful hotel and great guest speaker were the right recipe to entice my industry colleagues to an HRIH Event on a balmy Thursday evening in July and we had almost 50 come along which we were very pleased about.

Jonathan spoke to us in his usual style, a mixture of storytelling, amusement, emotion, fact and theory – it was fascinating. We looked at ‘Servant Leadership’, the energy inside organisations, watched  a couple of amusing videos highlighting great colleague engagement from Southwest Airlines and not so great from United Airlines too with some amazing stats on the hits these short films received! We looked at the difference between measuring satisfaction to measuring engagement which  I think was a bit of a light bulb moment for me personally as well as how important it is to have a vision and values statement that are simple and resonate with your business ethic.

One of the other things that really struck a chord with me, as I suspect did also with my colleagues in the room is that the winners of the Sunday Times awards last year, Pets at Home and Iceland, their average salaries come in way below £20,000 pa across the business but yet they have seriously high levels of engagement all across their organisations, meaning that money isn’t always the only motivator…good to know because none of us went into hospitality wanting to make our fortune (hopefully!)

As always after an interaction with Jonathan, I am left feeling excited about the future, I have a couple of new ideas to introduce to the engagement agenda at The Savoy and I am looking forward to his next visit already.

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