Tell us what you do well! People Awards 2016

Showcase your team’s successes and #GetRecognised in this year’s People Awards.

There are 12 categories for every stage of the recruitment process…which will you enter?

Whether it’s the best Candidate Experience or Rewards & Benefits Initiative, outstanding Learning & Development or Employee Engagement Programme, there’s a category for every team.

Shout about your achievements!

Request a form now by emailing

A strong employer brand provides competitive edge, says, but how can it aid recruitment strategies?

“In the war of talent it’s so important you have your presence out there,” says Carluccio’s Head of Recruitment, Jean-Pierre (JP) Gadsdon, setting the tone for’s recent Employer Brand interactive panel session.

Gadsdon, together with Honest Burgers Commercial Director Harald Samuelsson and over 70 HR professionals and recruitment specialists, explored in more detail the new and innovative approaches top employers are adopting to aid their recruitment strategies.

Interactive panel session with over 70 HR professionals and recruitment specialists

With unemployment at its lowest rate since 2008, it’s no secret that great talent is hard to attract and retain. Employers need to work harder than ever and take the competitive edge in recruiting and retaining top talent, in turn building and leveraging strong employer brands. What’s clear is that employer brand matters in a skills shortage, and investment in it drives recruitment costs down.

For those new to the concept, employer brand is defined as the ‘commercially competitive qualities, reputation and attributes that set a company apart from the competition.’ In short, it’s the payback for investing in staff – attraction, retention and inspiration.

So what makes employer branding so important in today’s climate? Says Harald Samuelsson: “Recruitment has changed over the last 15 years. Today, potential employees want to know what they are letting themselves in for. Now it’s all about ‘what can you offer me?’ JP Gadsdon agrees: “Now you spend the first half of an interview selling the business to candidates. This is driven by the skills shortage and in part is due to the millennials’ approach to finding a job.”

What’s clear is that in defining your employer brand, finding your point of difference is key. However, far from being a corporate branding exercise there’s a real need for it to be authentic and genuine. As Harald Samuelsson says, “in this market there’s a need to keep it real.”

Harald Samuelsson, Senior Advisor/Commercial Director, Honest Burgers

“As an industry, we are judged by Trip Advisor and the online community,” says JP Gadsdon. “All the bits that make you unique need to be out there. To attract millennials we need to show them why and how we are unique.”

In the bid to establish a meaningful employer brand, authenticity is key. “If your employer brand feels corporate and fake you’ll soon be found out,” warns JP Gadsdon. Drawing on his own experience at Carluccio’s he says:  “You need to ensure that the people working in your business have a tone of voice that is common across all platforms.  Create a consistent language.”

Harald Samuelsson concurs: “The employer brand needs to mean something to your employees. You can’t impose it on them.”

Offering guidance to a member of the audience who had recently opened a kebab shop in Clerkenwell, the Panel offered practical guidance on taking the first steps to define employer brand.

“The market is so competitive that you need to remember your point of difference. Why did you start the business and what does it mean to you? Leverage that,” says  JP Gadsdon. “Give food samples to potential customers, tell them your story, share your vision. Give them something to follow and something to believe in. Use social media. Have fun with your content. Expose your followers to new experiences and ideas. ”

On differentiating yourself from the competition, Harald Samuelsson says: “Keep it real and remember your purpose. Follow through on the promises you make to staff. If you offer training, train them. Remember, your customers are potential employees.”

Talk of Branding can often raise alarm bells for those holding the purse strings, viewed as expensive. However, contrary to popular opinion, “You don’t need pots of money to get employer branding right,” says Carluccio’s JP Gadsdon.

Jean-Pierre Gadsdon, Head of Recruitment, Carluccio's

A strong employer brand provides competitive edge and is sought after for hard to recruit candidates. This, in turn, can reduce recruitment costs. Says JP Gadsdon: “Recruitment is a by-product of great employer branding.” What’s more, employees who are totally aligned with your brand can act as advocates, in turn attracting new recruits. “By focusing on staff retention you’ll save on recruitment costs,” says Harald Samuelsson.

Branding is now a fundamental part of the employee journey. What’s more, to achieve cut through, a brand needs to be closely aligned internally and externally. “To present a strong employee brand you need to get back to your company roots,” says JP Gadsdon. “Employees need to have bought into both the consumer and employee brands for them to take you seriously. To align consumer and employee brands gives consistency.”

He continues: “It’s our responsibility as recruiters and HR professionals to get the message out there to potential employees. We need to help them de-select as much as select our businesses.”

“As an employer the starting point is how can we communicate our messages to the outside,” says Harald Samuelsson. “The messages in our heads need to be on the website. We need to ‘tickle’ potential employees and engage them in a dialogue. We need to sew the seeds for future roles to attract the best candidates.”

After all, as JP Gadsdon concludes: “If employer branding’s doing its job you’ll get the candidates.”

Employee engagement: What do you need to know?

In an industry characterised by a skills shortage, an engaged workforce is invaluable.

So what is employee engagement? In a nut shell an engaged employee is one who is fully committed, enthusiastic and involved in their work. As a collective this means you have a workforce who are driving the company forward.

How do you get this? Well, we’ve done some research and these are the top five things you need to think about to get great employee engagement.

1. A clear vision: Employees want to know what the future vision for the company is. They want to know that leadership are aligned and have a clear view on where they are headed and how to get there. Even more so, they want to be taken on that journey with you and feel like they have a part to play in what that vision is.

2. Opportunity to grow: Without a clear development plan, roles can become stagnant and employees disengaged. The key employees with future potential need the room to grow and a path to do so. This will drive up your retention and attract more talent.

3. A voice that matters: It’s simple. We all want to be heard and taken seriously. Give everyone a voice and a channel to have meaningful dialogue with leadership and commit to it.

4. Confidence in leadership: This ties together point 1 and 3. Leadership should be present and engaged themselves. They should be regularly communicating with employees and keep the dialogue open. They should be inspiring confidence in employees that they know what they are doing and that they care.

5. Congratulate and celebrate: Finally, appreciation is important. Employees should be celebrated for victories, supported through tougher times and recognised for going above and beyond.

Have any of these points had a part to play in your great employee engagement programme? We want to hear about it! Enter our People Awards now in the Employee Engagement Programme category and get recognised as a leader in the industry.

We’re looking for entries that demonstrate a focus on understanding and successfully improving employee engagement levels, and the measurable value this has brought back to the business. Find out more and enter by emailing


Ready to Enter?

Request your entry form for the People Awards by emailing now!

If you entered before 8th June please email as we have important information for you.

Every team has achieved something they’re really proud of, whether a company wide programme or a small, local initiative that has had a positive impact. These awards are about acknowledging the great work that you do, at every level of the recruitment process.

12 ways to Get Recognised!

Every employer has achieved something they’re proud of. Tell us about it! There are 12 ways to Get Recognised with our People Awards.

It’s free to enter via our simple online form.

  • Employee Engagement Programme
  • Employer Brand Campaign
  • Rewards & Benefits Initiative
  • Learning & Development
  • On-Boarding Programme
  • Emerging Talent Initiative
  • Candidate Experience
  • Launch Campaign
  • HR Team
  • In-House Recruitment Team
  • Leadership in recruitment, retention & development
  • Ambassador to the industry

Enter now!

Bridging the skills gap by hiring for cultural fit

Marco Reick, HR Director, Bill's Restaurant

Marco Reick, HR Director at Bill’s, reveals how a fresh approach to recruitment has helped Bill’s source more of the right type of talent.

At our latest employer insight webinar, the panel explored the increasingly popular topic of hiring for cultural fit and training for skill. Throughout the webinar and busy Q&A session, Marco Reick, HR Director at Bill’s, shared insight with over 60 live delegates, speaking of Bill’s own recruitment methods and approaches around cultural fit.

Reick outlined key employee motivators that drive retention, the importance of internal stakeholder buy-in and the tangible benefits to team, customers and ultimately the business.

The 45 minute free to attend webinar ‘Hiring for cultural fit: going beyond skills set’ also featured Rachel Mellors, Managing Consultant, Cubiks, and Account Director  Roy Walker. Rachel Mellors, Managing Consultant, Cubiks, talked through the key learnings from our recent employer round table on the topic, attended by 10 senior recruitment leaders. Read more here.

You can view the webinar free on demand now here.

Our next employer insight event takes place on 14th June, at Soho Hotel, London. This live interactive panel session will take a look at how Employer Brand directly impacts attraction, recruitment and retention in a competitive talent market. Employers and recruiters can register attendance  here People Awards 2016

Hospitality employers and recruiters gathered last night at Hilton London Bankside, together with our team, to celebrate the launch of the unique People Awards. Sales Director Neil Pattison spoke on the evolution of these awards over the last 5 years and announced their fresh new format. Guests then enjoyed drinks and canapes throughout the evening along with networking and the chance to talk through the awards in detail.

The prestigious Best Employers in Hospitality Awards have now re-launched as the People Awards. Entries are open until June 23rd. Get recognised!

Neil Pattison commented:

“For 5 successful years, our Best Employers in Hospitality Awards have celebrated hospitality employer success through the results of an online employee engagement survey. But through our close work with many hundreds of hospitality employers, the team know that whilst employee engagement is important, it is just one part of the complex recruitment and retention mix. So, we’ve moved our awards forward to a more relevant format, truly reflecting the great work carried out by today’s hospitality employers to address the various recruitment, retention and development challenges they face. In this respect, we are pleased to say our People Awards are unique to the sector.

We believe that every employer will have achieved something they’re really proud of in recruitment, retention and development, whether it’s a company-wide programme or a small, local initiative that has had a positive impact. Our People Awards are about acknowledging hospitality employers delivery at every stage of the recruitment process.”

In the new People Awards, Employee Engagement is still recognised in an award category of its own. However, the awards go further to recognise hospitality employers across the 12 categories including Employer Brand, Rewards & Benefits, Learning & Development, On-Boarding, Emerging Talent Initiatives, Candidate Experience and Launch Campaigns. Teams and individuals are recognised too, in the HR team and In-House Recruitment Team award categories and with the Leadership and Ambassador for the Industry awards. People Awards are now open for entries until June 23rd. Entry is FREE, online, and simple to complete. We are encouraging every hospitality employer, of any size and in every location of the UK, to enter as many categories as they feel relevant and get recognised for their best work over the last year in recruitment, retention and development.

Our panels of judges are comprised of around 45 employers, recruiters, specialists, award winners and leaders from hospitality and complimentary sectors, bringing a fresh and unbiased approach to the judging process. Entries will be judged in July using transparent criteria and a clear, benchmarked scoring system. All entries will be exclusively reserved for the independent judging panel, with a shortlist announced closer to the time of the awards.

Make sure that you and your teams are rewarded for the amazing work you have delivered in the past year. Visit the awards site for all the detail you need on the categories, entry forms, judges and awards night.

Get recognised!


If you have any questions our People Awards 2016 team are here to help-


Change is afoot in hospitality recruitment, and going beyond skills and hiring for cultural fit is a step in the right direction says

Ed Pyke, Cluster General Manager at Premier Inn, in discussion at roundtable

“Ours is a nation obsessed with food but no-one wants to cook it,” says Marco Reick, HR Director of Bill’s Restaurant, reflecting on one of the biggest challenges facing hospitality employers right now.  With UK unemployment levels at 5.1%, it’s a well-known fact that hospitality is facing a skills crisis.

Reick, with 10 other HR and talent acquisition chiefs from across the sector, came together at a recent employer roundtable event.  Here they debated the challenges and trends facing the sector right now.  The scrapping of CVs, hiring for cultural fit over skills and the morphing of customer and employee brand experience were just some of the hot topics up for debate.

What’s evident is that attracting the right candidates is tougher than ever.  The knock on effect is an industry-wide evolution that means HR professionals are embracing cultural fit when it comes to recruitment.

“Gone are the days of basic skills-based CVs and formal interviews,” says Premier Inn’s Ed Pyke.  For entry level roles, cultural fit rather than skill is the recruitment method of choice and one used by Drue Hammond at McDonalds Restaurants. Elsewhere, the experiential recruitment events and peer-to-peer interviews implemented by Premier Inn and The London EDITION are just the start.  “Engaging potential employees needs to give them a brand experience from the off,” says The London EDITION’s Charlie Brodie.  What’s more, “training employees to be brand ambassadors provides opportunities for self recruiting through peer-to-peer interviewing,” says Firmdale Hotel’s Jessica Berry.

Premier Inn HR Business Partner Sam Goode believes that “an element of our industry backbone is shifting.  It opens up opportunities and new ways of thinking.”

Clearly cultural fit is more important than ever.  In a highly competitive job market good cultural fit to company values and goals is crucial.  Getting it right can boost both recruitment and retention rates.  What’s clear is that branding and recruitment are increasingly going hand in hand.  The disconnect in years gone-by between employer brands and consumer brands no longer has a place.  As Itsu’s Annabel Nash says, “the cultural and experiential values of the company need to be aligned internally and externally.”

It is evident that while hiring for cultural fit is imperative, there are no certainties in this fragile economic environment, where the ebb and flow of market forces and the strategic direction of new CEOs and visionaries make for an environment of flux and change.  Planning for the future workforce in these circumstances needs flexibility, an innovative approach and an open mind.  Culture needs to evolve but core values need to be set.

What’s clear is that change is afoot in hospitality recruitment, and going beyond skills and hiring for cultural fit is a step in the right direction.  However, there’s still a long way to go, and as Firmdale Hotels Jessica Berry explains, “successful recruitment tools are no longer just about getting people through the door”.  Beyond the HR remit, there’s a PR and education job to be done when it comes to attracting talent to the industry, and as McDonalds Drue Hammond concludes, “there’s a cultural shift taking place in hospitality that’s evident in recruitment processes.  It’s no longer a matter of attracting good people but retaining them.  Cultural fit is more important than ever.”

The Round Table Debate Hiring for cultural fit:  going beyond skills was hosted by at The Hospital Club, Covent Garden and attended by:  Annabel Nash, Head of Resourcing at itsu; Ed Pyke, Cluster General Manager West London for Premier Inn; Marcus Weedon, Head of Recruitment for The Ivy Collection; Marco Reick, HR Director of Bill’s Restaurants; Drue Hammond, HR & Resourcing Manager for McDonald’s Restaurants; Paul Macfarlane, Resourcing Partner at Pizza Hut Restaurants UK; Charlie Brodie, Head of Talent & Training for The London EDITION; Jessica Berry, Talent Manager for Firmdale Hotels and  Sam Goode, HR Business Partner at Premier Inn.  The event was facilitated by Rachel Mellors, Managing Consultant for Cubiks UK and hosted by Roy Walker, Account Director for

Register for our webinar on ‘Hiring for cultural fit: going beyond skills set’ and hear from Marco Reick, HR Director, Bill’s Restaurant who will deliver a best practice case study presentation.

Bacchus Alumni Awards 2016 – The Winners Announced


David Levin MBE, winner of the Bacchus Special Award with Neil Pattison, Sales Director, are proud to support the industry and were excited to be headline sponsors of the 2016 Bacchus Awards. The ceremony, held to celebrate the professional achievements of graduates of the Oxford School of Hospitality Management took place on 11th April 2016 at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.

This year’s winners are:

Bacchus Student Award – Jennifer Connelly

Young Alumni Award – Robyn Isherwood, Head of Luxury Events, Lillingston

Manager of the Year Award – Gareth Banner, General Manager, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

Bacchus Mentor Award – Lynne Levin, CEO, Levin Wines

Major Contribution to the Hospitality Industry – Peter Ducker, CEO, Institute of Hospitality

Bacchus Special Award – Professor David Levin, Founder of Capital Hotel Group

Speaking at the awards ceremony, which was attended by around 220 alumni, students and friends of the Oxford School of Hospitality Management, Ben McEwen (Bacchus Alumni Chair), said: “Our alumni are our greatest ambassadors internationally. They go on to find incredible success in the hospitality industry and to shape the reputation of the School on the world-stage”.

After the ceremony, Donald Sloan, Head of the Oxford School of Hospitality Management, commented: “The Bacchus Alumni Awards are of great significance. They highlight the strength of our international community of graduates – and reassert the importance we place on preparing our students for successful and rewarding careers in industry. The awards give us the opportunity to formally recognise the achievements and influence of our talented alumni”.

The Oxford School of Hospitality Management is pleased to acknowledge those companies that supported this year’s alumni awards:, Lexington Catering, Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services, The Restaurant Group, BaxterStorey, Brodericks Love Coffee, Levin Wines, Ellis of Richmond, The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Vortek Design and 80SIX Ltd.

Click here for more information about the Bacchus Alumni Awards. are proud to support the 2016 Bacchus Awards

Following the success of last year’s Bacchus Awards, are proud to be headline sponsors of the 2016 Awards.

The awards which take place on 11th April at the St Pancras Hotel provide us with an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of the Oxford School of Hospitality management graduates and reinforces the importance of strong links between education and industry.

The Oxford School of Hospitality Management has developed a strong reputation as a key player in the talent pipeline for the UK hospitality industry and offers a Mentoring Programme which sees every postgraduate and final year undergraduate student assigned one of 130 senior figures in industry as a mentor.

On the night awards we will be presented to outstanding individuals in the following categories:
• Student Award
• Young Alumni Award
• Manager of the Year
• Mentor of the Year
• Major Contribution
• Special Award
Tickets are priced at £120 for individuals or £1,100 for a table of 10. The ticket for the Awards Ceremony includes a champagne drinks reception followed by a 3 course dinner with wine and dancing to the Bacchus Band.

For more information and to book, please click here or alternatively contact Susan Ing ( at Brookes who can provide an invoice.

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