Whiting and Hammond is a thriving, family owned group of seven pubs based in the South East whose philosophy is to deliver fine food and warm banter. Established in 2003 by Brian Whiting and Chris Hammond when they opened The Chaser Inn, joined soon after by Darren Somerton to create the culinary delights in the kitchen. They currently employ 291 permanent staff.
The tenacious management team at Whiting and Hammond believes that the visibility of the people that run the business helps each and every one of their employees identify with the business and differentiates them as an employer. They feel that they understand their employees as individuals and appreciates they are all motivated by different things. They strive to give them the tools they need individually to reach for their goals and share the company vision.
We asked Whiting and Hammond to talk to us about Employee Engagement and what it means to them.
Q: What makes you a successful employer?
A: That we encourage our staff to develop within the company and identify their own training needs. By understanding what motivates our employees it allows us to create an environment of security and investment, this, in turn, gives our employees a stable work environment and the motivation to strive for their goals.
Q: How does employee engagement relate to this success? Why?
A: Because they see 1st hand, the commitment of the people who own the business. They are inspired from the top to care and take pride in their roles.
Q: What do you do specifically to enhance employee engagement?
A: We set standards, create brand awareness and encourage our employees to be ambassadors for the company. In return they are rewarded with opportunity to grow in the business, and earn a gold crew loyalty card after three months of service, (this offers them many extra benefits).
Q: Looking at employee engagement, what are your future plans to build on your current success and develop further to exceed expectations?
A: We have a new talent pipeline in place, where staff that have been put forward will enter a work based training scheme in order for us to produce our next generation of management as the business expands.
Q: What does winning a Caterer.com Best Employer in Hospitality Award from mean to you, to your business, and to your employees?
A: Winning an award such as this gives us nationwide exposure as a leader in our industry of keeping our staff happy. It also helps us as an award winning business, attract the right calibre of people to come and join our team.
Q: How do you feel other employers in your sector view your award win from Caterer.com Best Employers in Hospitality?
A: It’s a coveted award and they are probably wondering what we are doing that they are not!
Q: As a recruitment tool, how do you use your award to attract new employees to your business? How much impact does it have?
A: It is hard to say about the impact as we have not had the award for very long, however on a whole it showcases our beliefs in treating our staff well and rewarding them accordingly.
Q: As part of your entry to Caterer.com’s Best Employers in Hospitality Awards 2014 you received a report from employee engagement experts People Insight. What significant learnings can you share with us from the report?
A: One of the main findings from the report that we found very useful is the importance our employees place on receiving regular constructive feedback from their manager in order to develop. We have taken this ethos on board and created a new innovation for the business as we move forward.
Brian Whiting comments “We will definitely enter Caterer.com’s Best Employers in Hospitality Awards again as it would be great to see that we have kept our standards up if we win again, and if we don’t we will know it is something we need to work on!”