Skip to main content People Awards – Employee Engagement Programme – Byron Hamburgers


The hard work and perseverance of hospitality employers is often overlooked, and that’s why People Awards shine a light on their successes. The 2017 awards are now open for entries, across 13 categories reflecting every stage of the recruitment process. Last year, with an impressive initiative, Byron Hamburgers won the Employee Engagement Programme award.

We know that attracting and recruiting talent into the hospitality industry can be struggle enough but keeping hold of that talent is another battle altogether. Retention breeds experience, which is not only good for your business, it also enriches your brand and your culture. Engaging your employees from the very beginning is crucial.

From this viewpoint, Byron found themselves in a bit of a quandary. They were enjoying fast expansion, but faced a turnover of Assistant Managers of 62%, their turnover of General Managers increased to 30%, with 20% of those leaving within a four month period. With their aim of opening 15 restaurants a year, they needed to make sure employees stayed with them and were also happy to do so.

They decided to investigate and conducted a series of focus groups across all roles within the company. “The overall purpose of the focus groups was to really understand our culture,” said Louise Moneypenny, Recruitment & Talent Manager at Byron. “The focus groups included interactive sessions around ‘What do we do well as a business?’ ‘What could we do better?’ ‘What makes Byron special?’ ‘What words do we use when describing Byron Culture?’ ‘What activities do we do that enforce Byron Culture that we do not want to change?’”

As a result of the focus groups, the company identified the ‘Five Levers’ of their culture: Fun, respect individuality, do the people bit properly, great careers and a family feel. Louise said, “Through the focus groups and the feedback received it allowed us to develop an internal people plan to reinforce our culture and reengage our teams.”

Another lesson that Byron Hamburgers learned was the importance of listening to your employees. “Listening to our teams and following up with action to address their feedback is incredibly important for us,” Louise Moneypenny explained. “Our teams told us they wanted to feel listened to more and feel involved with decisions. As part of our internal people plan which was devised from listening to our teams, we have introduced multiple ways of listening to different people within Byron.”

The company initiated programmes which allowed employees direct access to top management and the directors of Byron. These included their first annual opinion survey for all employees with follow up action plans for all restaurants. This involved a face to face employee forum for all restaurants with the CEO and Directors. Other robust actions plans were put in place including regular dinners where GMs could feedback and put questions to the CEO.

Another interesting engagement programme is ‘Speed Date the Directors’. This is a quarterly GM meeting and a great opportunity for all GMs to question and give feedback to all Directors in the business. All company chefs have been invited to ‘Be Frank with Fred’ where head Chefs can feedback and question our Byron’s Head of Food, Fred Smith.

Listening to employees wasn’t the only engagement technique undertaken by Byron. They also reviewed salaries at all levels. Taking on board comments from GMs, the company created a clear and transparent pay structure based on restaurant bandings. They reviewed and simplified their bonus schemes and introduced additional top up bonuses for GMs. They also reviewed Chef pay bandings and made increases accordingly.

The results of these new initiatives have been more then pleasing for Byron. Their GM turnover went from 30% in ‘14/’15 to 10.8% in ‘15/’16. AM Turnover was down, from 62% in ‘14/’15 to 19.4% in ‘15/’16 and there was a reduction in their 90 day labour turnover from 45% in financial year ‘14/’15 to 25% in our financial year ‘15/’16.

Louise Moneypenny said that the whole company is excited about these new initiatives, “Byron is a high culture business where culture drives performance. Recognising this and introducing activities to ensure we reinforce our culture and re-engage our teams has resulted in reducing our labour turnover and increasing our engagement scores on our bi annual employee opinion survey.”

On winning the Employee Engagement Programme award Louise said, “We are extremely proud to win this award as we have focused so much effort on protecting and evolving our culture as we have grown to ensure are teams are happy and engaged at Byron. We have achieved the goals we set and it is great to get recognised with this award.”

Entering the 2017 People Awards couldn’t be easier. It’s free and you can enter as many categories as you wish. Entries close on 2nd July 2017 and the shortlist will be announced in August. The glamorous awards ceremony will take place on 5th October 2017 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

Don’t hesitate to contact our People Awards team with any questions at