Getting the talent pipeline flowing

 Susan Bland, Chief Human Resources Officer

Redefine|BDL Hotels


The problems around talent pipelines and employee turnover in the hospitality industry are not new to any of us, but continue to be of increasing relevance and importance.

When we find those people within the industry that shine and express an interest to forge a career in the sector, we need to be able to give them opportunities and exposure to learning experiences, to ensure we can help them realise their potential.

The hospitality industry has such a buzz about it and we want to be able to shout about this great environment and make sure our rising
stars know they can have a long-term career with us.

In order to ensure we’re not losing this talent to competitors, or another industry, we need to be able to attract a pipeline across all age groups, ensuring we focus on our ageing population and keep up with the millennial generation. This fast-paced group of professionals are
always on the lookout for their next step, and with the economy now on the up and a renewed belief in the market coming to the fore, people generally don’t feel the same need to sit tight. As such, we need to be able to provide them with
an attractive ladder to climb and a culture that nurtures talent.

Creating a talent pipeline takes time. Similar to the likes of the retail trade, we have a high influx of people entering the
workplace at team member level, but how do we ensure that these individuals can make it all the way to the very top? After all, shouldn’t born and bred hoteliers be among the most senior people in a hospitality organisation, sitting comfortably alongside financers, revenue experts and marketing gurus?

Firstly, we need to be able to identify key talent. At Redefine|BDL Hotels, we review our employees’ performance in their current role against potential for future roles in the company. From there we identify the strongest individuals with a high level of potential who want to grow. We talk
to our people and find out exactly where they see themselves in the future and what we can do internally to facilitate this growth.

25 per cent of our General Managers sit within this pool of top talent and are potentially earmarked for further opportunity within our
expansive portfolio according to their needs and those of the business.

To ensure our strongest individuals are ready to make the leap at any given moment, we will work with them to develop a tailored
retention plan. This will include a variety of learning opportunities such as mentoring, working on high-profile projects, exploring the expertise and best practice in different specialities within the business, and navigating the world of self-development, including speaker opportunities and development programmes which take them out of their comfort zone. It is important that the ownership remains with the individuals and we facilitate their development, rather than the other way round.

It is this level of engagement with our workforce that will help us to reach that much sought-after position where we have a number of talented individuals with a great attitude and the right abilities to potentially fill a role further up the organisational structure.

There is no one-plan-fits-all when it comes to retaining talent, but we do need to champion a structured talent management programme that
ambitious individuals know they can utilise and that we can cascade throughout the business moving forward.




The Savoy hotel London hosted the 20th Anniversary Awards for HR in hospitality in 2015 – a wonderful evening recognising the achievements of all that is excellent in Human Resources within all sectors of the hospitality industry.  It was 20 years ago when the HCPTA as the association was then called held their very first awards for HR, one year longer than the CIPD! Compere for the night was Esther O’Halloran, Chair of HR in Hospitality and Sam Coulstock, Vice Chair.  The President of the association, Jane Sunley, CEO of Purple Cubed, who reflected on the last 20 years since the first awards were held at the very same hotel in 1995, opened the awards. The awards night was sponsored by DLA Piper LLP, Davidson Asset Management,, Fourth, Core Recruitment, ZFL Training limited Umbrella Training & Employment Solutions Ltd and  The event was also supported by the CIPD, Springboard UK Charity and Hospitality Action charity.

Over £4,300 was raised on the night for the HR in hospitality’s chosen charities of Hospitality Action and Springboard UK – two charities that work tirelessly for the industry and its people. 

There were 10 awards on the night given to individuals and teams in recognition of the excellent work they do. Amongst the Judges for the awards were; Dr Jill Miller – CIPD, Ian Burke – Totaljobs, Emma Jayne – HRD Savoy, Krishnan Doyle – Core Recruitment, Carl Smith – Sodexo and Manda Crowder – AndSoMe.

The HR Rising Star award went this year to Natasha Wiggins, Training and HR Officer, Red Carnation Hotels. Natasha was awarded a £2000 scholarship generously donated by as part of her award. The judges felt that this professional has HR running through their veins. They seriously impressed the judges with the breadth of their impact on the business. They are confidently working at a senior level, driving change and constantly wanting to improve. Not just working across internal departments, this person brings creative ideas for new practice from external networks. This HR professional is definitely “one to watch” over the next few years! For the first time a Highly Commended was also awarded in this category to Kerry Richards, Recruitment Manager, Delaware North.

The Special Recognition Award was presented to Stephen Moss, MBE and CBE, Chairman for Springboard, for his services to HR in hospitality. For 25 years, he has made a difference to people’s lives and made a difference to business through his work with Springboard. His amazing efforts to inspire and educate people about careers in hospitality and raise the profile make him a well-deserved winner of this award.

HR Team of the Year was warded to Jumeirah where it was clear to see that in this organisation people are truly a key focus. The HR Strategy encompasses all of the businesses KPI’s and the results that this HR Team have achieved this year through aligning their goals with their business strategy. They encompassed all areas of HR and measured their success and milestones through a balanced scorecard. They managed to align culture and values with some great results. Highly Commended was given to St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London.

Innovative Recruitment was a new category this year and was awarded to The Dorchester Collection. They demonstrated a fantastic approach to recruitment that works well with current employees. The turnover of new recruits has dropped significantly and Guest satisfaction scores have yielded great results for not only sales but also retention has improved. They use Benchmarking to get the best, and included a lot of evidence to support their claims. Overall the judges felt it was well thought through plan and clearly linked to the business strategy. Highly Commended was also awarded to the London Edition Hotel.

Employee Engagement was awarded to Central Working, Central Working was first set up in Bloomsbury in 2011 by serial entrepreneur James Layfield and is a membership-based club for start ups. Central Working is NOT a co-working space but rather an environment that encourages small business owners and start ups to collaborate and interact with each other in order to build real world synergies. The judges felt that this entry was innovative, quirky, and not afraid of trying new things. They used gameification for getting employees to get to know all areas of the businesses, low cost and fun, simple ideas. It demonstrated a very open, honest and 360 approach to employee engagement. Engagement starts within the recruitment process and never really ends. It’s an entrepreneurial   approach that focuses on people not process.

A second new category for the awards was Embedding Company Culture, this was awarded to Jumeirah, their second award for the evening. This organisation used a really simple tool that aligned culture to colleagues. There were 4 clear parts to the employee lifecycle with a clear starting point, they provided loads of evidence of some great ideas on how they get to know their people. Good statistics were evident on starters and they demonstrated some pretty impressive results on reducing staff turnover. They are constantly Capturing employees at different stages of their career to make them feel part of the culture. Highly Commended was awarded to Sodexo.

Building Capability focuses on the learning and development that happens in an organisation and this year was awarded to PPHE (Park Plaza Hotel Group). The judges were impressed with the sustainability and longevity of the approach, addressing every stage of the employee life cycle, having already shown some great results within the business. Close alignment between individual needs and company culture, which enables teams to see a future within the organisation and acknowledge their contribution. They have demonstrated improved performance and capability and exciting times seem to be ahead as this way of working roles out into Europe.

The final new category for the awards was Corporate Social Responsibility and this was awarded to Firmdale Hotels.  At this company CSR is a key part of the business strategy, with engagement driven right from the very top of the organisation, through to line level operatives. This company has a diverse menu of CSR Initiatives that include, caring for the environment, sourcing responsibly, supporting charities and events, employee engagement, energy saving, minimising waste and recycling – they work with 9 local CSR partners to achieve this. CSR is also embedded in the HR Culture which can clearly be seen from their Employee Survey results where they achieved 90% of employees saying they were proud to work for this hotel.

In partnership with Springboard, one of our charities we recognise an award for Promoting Careers in the industry, and this year it was awarded to Premier Inns. This organisation provided fantastic results, a very broad approach that included working in partnership with the Clink charity, local schools and colleges, in particular targeting NEETS, they delivered some impressive results. They dipped into a lot of different pools to attract people and promote careers in the industry. They set out a clear target to recruit and managed to get double their target, they have a “Keep them Coming” attitude, which is all about engaging people from an early age and inspiring them into the industry.

During the evening an award is also given to a line manager who is not necessarily in HR and this is the Tom Crowley Award. A beautiful bronze statue is given to the winner of this individual award as chosen by all the judges and committee members The award this year was given to Leanne Findley, Account Manager, Sodexo Prestige. This person always has time for her team, a passion for this business and her potential is enormous. She makes her own decisions about what she does and when she does it, she is a perfect manager with the passion and drive you would like all your team to have. She puts recognition at the top of everyday working life including on the spot reward cards and celebrates success with her team, her business results are amazing too.

It was a truly inspirational evening to celebrate 20 years of recognising excellence in HR in the industry. The HR in hospitality committee would like to extend its congratulations to all its worthy winners, highly commended and shortlisted organisations, thanks to everyone who attended the evening and a huge gratitude of thanks too, to all our sponsors and supporters. 

If you require further information please contact Esther O’Halloran on 07957 313477 or email are proud to support Hospitality Action’s Sporting Legends Luncheon are proud to support Hospitality Action’s Sporting Legends Luncheon which sees sporting heroes come together for at Hotel Football on Friday 6th November. Gary Neville is the guest speaker who will entertain guests with his sporting tales and memories during a lively Q&A session with Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves. There will also be a range of other fantastic sporting personalities in attendance including Harry Redknapp, Diane Modahl, John Amaechi OBE and Denis Tueart to name a few.

As well as being as being entertaining afternoon, the lunch is also a great opportunity to meet up with industry colleagues whilst at the same time raising crucial funds for Hospitality Action – the industry charity, through a number of fundraising activities including an auction and prize draw.

You can join in and support the inaugural Sporting Legends Lunch in the North by buying a table or tickets.

All funds raised from the event will go directly towards helping those in the hospitality industry who have fallen on hard times.

For further information about the event, click here or contact Raj at

Hospitality employees decide which employers are worth working for…


Best Employers in Hospitality Awards 2015 Best Employers in Hospitality Awards 2015
The shortlist is out! announces the shortlist for the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards 2015. The only established and free to enter awards dedicated to recognising the best employers in hospitality.

In its fifth successful year, these awards highlight the outstanding contribution employers in hospitality make in supporting, developing and rewarding their people. They are voted for and judged by their employees, via an engagement survey conducted by our awards partner, People Insight.

Employers from all sectors of the industry are represented and this year saw responses from over 8000 of their employees. To reach the shortlist and a top 60 employer, organisations were required to achieve a high level score from their employees’ responses to an online survey. As a Top 60 employer, these shortlisted organisations will carry the most trusted accreditation of all – the mark of approval from their employees.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Betty’s Café and Tea Rooms, Hogarths Hotels, Ceviche Limited, The Trustcott Arms and Salt Yard Group have all made the shortlist. Some well-known names returning this year include The Rezidor Hotel Group, Oxo Tower Restaurant Bar and Brassiere, QHotels and One Aldwych. New entrants include Ssoosh Inns, Park Plaza Hotels and Resorts and MASH steak ltd, who are all hoping to win a top spot.

Neil Patterson, Sales Director from says “we are proud to be celebrating five years of these respected annual awards, to honour employers in hospitality who Best Employers in Hospitality Awardknow how important it is to be a best employer in order to attract and retain top talent. What better way to support this than to be shortlisted as a Best Employer in Hospitality? These awards grew from’s passion for the hospitality industry and those that work within it. Great employees deserve to work for great employers. Congratulations to those who have been shortlisted and thank you to all who entered. It’s great to see some regulars as well as new comers to the shortlist this year.”

Tom Debenham, Managing Director of People Insight says “we are once again delighted to have the opportunity to measure engagement across the finest employers in the industry. We have seen a notable increase in engagement within the sector this year, and in order to differentiate the very best from the rest, this year we are using a combination of both quantitative and qualitative data, including using sentiment analysis – really listening to what employees have to say about their employers – to form judgments about which organisations pip their peers to the post of Best Employer.”

Following these awards, all shortlisted employers will receive a free, comprehensive engagement report of their employee’s responses from People Insight.

Join and over 400 hospitality professionals from CEOs to HR teams, in celebrating the Best Employers in Hospitality 2015. Category winners, along with a countdown of the top 60 employers will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony on 12th October 2015, at Lancaster London. Categories include the best employers from hotels, restaurants, pubs & bars and food service.

Who will make it to that top spot?

Celebrate with us and our sponsors including Admiral Recruitment, at a black tie dinner and ceremony including pre-dinner drinks, a lavish three course meal with wine, fabulous entertainment and a very special guest presenter.


Monday 12 October at Lancaster London, from 6.30pm until late

Ticket and table bookings are now open!

Please email for a booking form or visit Best Employers in Hospitality 2015/Book a Table 

2015 Shortlist Best Employers in Hospitality Awards 2015 – Shortlisted Companies Best Employers in Hospitality Awards 2015

Congratulations to all those hospitality employers who have been shortlisted for a Best Employers in Hospitality 2015 Award

You have reached the Top 60 Best Employers in Hospitality 2015.
Your dedication to your employees and hard work has paid off!


Join us at the Lancaster London on the 12 October from 6.30pm, where category winners for best employers in hotels, restaurants, pubs & bars and food service, along with a countdown of the Top 60 Best Employers in Hospitality, will be announced at a spectacular black tie dinner and ceremony. Over 400 of your colleagues within the hospitality industry will join you in celebrating success.

Table bookings and ticket sales are now open!
Please contact for a booking form.

See you there!
The team at


The shortlist is alphabetical only – winners will be announced on 12 October 2015


Babylon at The Roof Gardens


Bettys Café Tea Rooms

Cantina Laredo

CD Pub Co Ltd

Ceviche Limited

Collingham Serviced Apartments

Cozy Pubs Ltd

Deer Park Country House Hotel

Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants

Dinish Restaurants Ltd

Dishoom Ltd

DoubleTree By Hilton London Marble Arch

DoubleTree By Hilton London Ealing

Edwardian Group London


ETM Group

Fairmont St Andrews


Glendola Leisure

H10 London Waterloo Hotel

Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5

Hogarths Hotels

Ideal Collection


Koh Thai Tapas

Loungers Ltd

Macdonald Hotels and Resorts

MASH Steak ltd

Nadler Hotels

One Aldwych

Oxo Tower Restaurant Bar Brasserie

Park Plaza Hotels And Resorts

Peach Pub Co

Portavadie Marina



Safestay PLC

Saint Arnold Management Ltd

Salt Yard Group

Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa

Sir John Fitzgerald Ltd


Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Stratford City Hotels

Summit Hotels

Tasty PLC

The Ampersand Hotel

The Kettering Park Hotel and Spa

The Metropolitan

The Old Course Hotel Golf Resort Spa

The Rezidor Hotel Group

The Truscott Arms

The Vineyard

Trout Hotel

Waterfall Catering Group

Whiting and Hammond


Zero Degrees



HR in hospitality 2015 Awards are now open for entry!

This year there are 9 awards in total. We are looking to award HR teams and individuals within hospitality for HR Excellence in all that they do, with 3 exciting new categories to enter this year. It will be your chance to demonstrate and recognise a team or individual efforts within best people practices.

Entries will close on Tuesday 21st July 2015. Shortlist will be announced Friday 31st July 2015 and the award ceremony will be held at the Savoy on Friday 4th September.


1. Excellence in Employee Engagement (Sponsored by fourth)

This award looks for how HR has helped build business success through engaging its people. The judges will want to see what you have done to get the people bit right, how you have motivated your staff to be more productive and deliver better performance. You need to demonstrate that the values are lived and not just spoken. What do you do to get your people engaged and on-board, to deliver that great service and go that extra mile? You are asked to give an example of an employee engagement initiative in your organisation and how you have unlocked that discretionary effort from staff. Provide evidence of great leadership, exceptional levels of communication and any culture initiatives that were focused on organisation needs. Include measurement data (such as; employee engagement surveys, staff turnover, absence metrics) and show how you really understood the link between performance and engagement

2. Excellence in Building Capability (Sponsored by ZFL ltd)

To win this award we are looking for a learning and development initiative or way of operating/working that develops the talent of individuals and/or team(s) development to meet the changing or challenging needs of the business.  Outline what the challenges, changes or needs were within the business?  What were the development needs and how this gap was closed?  What impact did this activity have on the business and how did it help staff focus on key organisational objectives?  What was learned from this approach?  How does your organisation meet the needs of individuals, teams and the business on an on-going basis?  The judges will look for well-designed, innovative and well-delivered learning and development programmes.

3. HR Team of the Year (Sponsored by DLA Piper)

This award is aimed at HR teams that can demonstrate genuine strategic status and adding value within their organisations. Entries should explain the business strategy and the contribution of the HR team to meeting objectives. Judges will look at the team’s own HR strategy, how this was devised and implemented, the involvement and collaboration with other functions and what results have been achieved. Entries should explain how the team identified priorities and how HR has measured the benefits. The entry can include specific projects that you have worked on and can also demonstrate the function’s collaborative approach and ability to attract and develop excellent HR people.

NEW 4. Excellence in Innovative Recruitment (Sponsored by Core Recruitment)

To win this award we are looking for innovative recruitment solutions that prove to be efficient and effective that support the business needs. You may include more than one recruitment initiative to be considered.  This might be shown via timely lead in times, leaving little or no disruption to the business or is a cost efficient or innovative recruitment process.  The judges will be particularly interested in self-sufficient methods (i.e. the vacancy is not simply passed to a third party to source).  How does your recruitment initiative feed into your succession plan or talent pool? To support this award entry you would outline what has been learned and applied to enable a new approach to maintain this effective and efficient approach to recruitment, along with the operational considerations.

NEW 5. Excellence in Embedding Company Culture (Sponsored by DAM)

To win this award we are looking for evidence throughout the business that proves that the company values and culture is alive. What is the culture striving to achieve within the business? Who is involved with focusing on this activity? How is the whole of the workforce inspired and encouraged to live the company culture and values? How does this impact on the business results? How is this maintained?  What does the workforce and other people (evidence from front line colleagues and support function colleagues) think and feel about working in your organisation? Judges will be looking for evidence of a strong company culture that makes your organisation a great place to work, where people feel valued and motivated and you can see visible strategic benefits.

NEW 6. Excellence in CSR

To win this award we are looking for evidence that an organisation is committed to the ‘People’ aspect of Corporate Social Responsibility and they can clearly demonstrate the impact throughout the organisation. In particular we will be looking at the pillars of your CSR strategy that cover the people element of your policy. Entrants should demonstrate the role HR has played in the strategy and execution of CSR initiatives. Judges will mark highly CSR initiatives/strategies that demonstrate a clear link between corporate strategy, community benefits and societal responsibility and education. Your entry needs to demonstrate the link between the people elements and the business strategy. What impact this initiative has had on the internal/external Employer Brand? How was this initiative/practices communicated to the relevant stakeholders?

7. Excellence in Promoting Careers (Sponsored by Springboard)

To win this award we are looking for a team or individual who has built strong links in the education sector (schools, colleges or universities) or working alongside charities. They work to help change perceptions of a career in hospitality. They are constantly working to promote the industry as a ‘Great Place to Work’ and have inspired people to join hospitality. A one off event could achieve this or by building a long term partnership, and can include programmes around work experience, apprenticeships, placements, graduate programmes or Ambassadors. Judges will look for initiatives or programmes that not only encourage people into careers in hospitality but also provide additional skills and learning opportunities for their colleagues through involvement in these initiatives.


8. HR Rising Star (Sponsored by and CIPD)

We are looking for that HR Rising Star the one to watch, who will be a future HR Leader. They are on a career development path where their contribution to the HR team is really making a difference. This person may be in any role within the HR team, but you can see their potential through their skills, the way they work and the results they are achieving.  Entrants can self-nominate or be entered by their organisation, ideally they need to have worked in HR for at least 2 years but not necessarily in their current position within the team. Statements from the HR Director or other managers can be submitted in support of this entry. The winner of this award will also receive a scholarship to use towards developing their personal HR training or qualifications.

9. Tom Crowley Award (Presented by Oliver Daly)

This is a truly special award for an individual line manager who really embodies excellent people management skills within their department. The Tom Crowley Award recognises an individual line manager, in any function across the organisation, not necessarily HR, this could go to an Executive Chef, Housekeeper or Restaurant Manager. Someone who has promoted recognition in the workplace takes time to celebrate or reflect on successes with their teams and really delivers excellence in people best practise. They are that line manager that really believes in developing their team and spends time getting to know them. The judges will be looking for evidence that this person gets on and manages and develops the potential in their people. They are the line manager their people trust and will go that extra mile for. They are able to demonstrate their effectiveness through tangible results such as staff surveys, retention or other business measures. The winner of this special award will receive a beautiful handcrafted bronze statue for the year.

Enter and find out more here.

How Winning Best Employers In Hospitality Awards Will Open The Door To Best Employees In The Industry


For Liza Wade, Area Director HR UK & Ireland of The Rezidor Hotel Group,’s Best Employers in Hospitality Awards offers a great opportunity to raise the profile of the business in the eyes of potential and future employees.

Liza explained:

‘’We wanted the benefit of the external recognition that is part of winning a national award. Winning this prestigious award allows us to celebrate as a team, and also helps to attract the best talent to the business. Winning such a prestigious award is a fantastic achievement for me, the business and team members. It is the result of a lot of hard work and recognition of group success.  I’m sure it will enhance our reputation amongst other employers. We will be entering again next year. We want to keep being best in class!’’

If you want to benefit in the same way and be recognised as a best employer in hospitality, don’t miss the chance to enter’s Best Employers in Hospitality Awards 2015 – the UK’s only established, recognised and FREE to enter hospitality employer awards.

Upon entry you will be sent a link to an online engagement survey. Just forward this to your permanent staff and encourage them to complete it by the deadline July 13th. Your entry will be solely judged on the response of your employees, there is no judging panel for these awards so the results are truly representative.

On completion of the required number of employee engagement surveys you will be ranked against other employers who enter. The Top 50 Best Employers in Hospitality 2015 will be announced, along with the individual category winners, at a spectacular awards ceremony to be held at the Lancaster London Hotel on 12th October 2015

After the awards, all employers who complete the required number of surveys will receive a FREE comprehensive report of their results from engagement experts People Insight.

If you are a UK hospitality employer, with a minimum of 50 permanent employees, you are eligible to enter.

Remember the deadline for completed entries is July 13th so enter now at

Please direct email enquiries to

Follow us on Twitter @CatererNews #BestEmployers2015

Winchester schoolchildren are set to compete in cookery contest

A known recruitment firm is on the hunt for the next young culinary star.

Click here to read more.

The Top 10 Best Employers in Hospitality 2014


The best talent wants to work for the best employers! So if you are a UK hospitality employer with a minimum of 50 permanent staff, enter’s Best Employers in Hospitality Awards now and get the recognition you deserve.


Here are the Top 10 Best Employers in Hospitality 2014:


1st   Urban Leisure Group

2nd   Summit Hotels Limited

3rd    Whiting and Hammond

4th    Cantina Lerado

5th    Nadler Hotels limited

6th    Pix Pintxos

7th    CD Pub Co. Ltd

8th   Deer Park Country House Hotel

9th    Saint Arnold Management Ltd

10th   Casa Hotel Ltd


Don’t miss your chance to be recognized as a Best Employer in Hospitality 2015!


They are the only established, recognized, and FREE to enter hospitality employer awards in the UK.

Judged solely on your employees’ responses to a bespoke online engagement survey provided by our expert partners, People Insight.

Survey closes July 13th 2015.


Complete your application now

Please email any enquiries to

Follow us on Twitter @CatererNews #BestEmployers2015


Peach Pub Company share their formula for a successful business…



Watch Hamish Stoddart Co-founder of Peach Pub Company, and 4 times winner of’s Best Employers in Hospitality Awards!



Enter Best Employers in Hospitality Awards 2015 here and receive a FREE Employee Engagement Report provided by People Insight.

Please email any enquiries to

Follow us  on Twitter @CatererNews #BestEmployers2015


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