Engagement in hospitality- Are your staff aware of genuine career opportunities? a post by Tom Debenham, Managing Director, People Insight


Engagement in hospitality #4: Are your staff aware of genuine career opportunities?

People Insight has teamed up with Caterer.com for the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards. Entry is now closed and the shortlist will be announced imminently.

Our aim is that the Awards showcase the best employers in terms of their approaches to engaging their people, and provide useful case studies and inspiration for others.

Here’s our fourth post in a series on how to be a best employer in hospitality: Are your staff aware of genuine career opportunities?

Across all the companies we research, we find on average 6 out of 10 employees don’t know what career options are available to them. It’s not surprising therefore that they don’t feel their career aspirations are being met. This is one of the main reasons why employees become disengaged, stop giving their all, and leave for better opportunities elsewhere.

So what can you do about it? These 3 suggestions are not rocket science. They are small steps that are easy to carry out amongst other competing pressures, and help your people feel listened to, appreciated, and importantly – engaged.

Ask your employees what they would like to do next and in the future

This doesn’t have to be a complicated discussion, and your employee doesn’t have to have the next 10 years mapped out in detail. If your employees feel you have genuinely listened to their specific, near term goals and more general long term ambitions, they will feel better understood.

Share real example career paths & opportunities

Whether your employee knows what they want to do or not, it’s a good idea if they can pick people they admire within the business, so you can discuss real career journeys, and the development needed along the way. Concentrate on what they did and why they did it. Better still – ask them to speak with your employee directly, informally, to share their advice.

Make training opportunities happen

Amongst the hubbub of everyday activities, once you know where your people want to go, you can be conscious of any opportunities that arise, e.g. due to promotion, absence, maternity leave etc. Try role swaps, shadowing or buddying up. They don’t have to be difficult to implement – an hour here and there over the course of a few months makes employees feel valued and ready for a more long term opportunity when it presents itself.

For more information on People Insight, click here

Waiters prepare to celebrate National Waiters Day – Thursday 25th September 2014

Designed to celebrate all front of house staff across the hospitality industry, from waiters in a fine dining restaurants to a mixologist in a cocktail bar; or a barista in a coffee shop – National Waiter’s Day is a celebration of those working in the profession.

Taking place on Thursday 25th September, the day will celebrate the excellence, dedication, hard work and discipline of all 2.5 million working in the Hospitality industry in the UK, and inspire people about the range of dynamic and vibrant careers the industry has to offer.

Up and down the country, a wide range of venues will host a range of events to celebrate and educate for anyone to join in, including a Waiters race in London’s Hyde Park, where participants will show off their combined skills of elegance, competition, and professional skills, by racing carrying a tray with a bottle keeping them in place for the whole race.

Fred Sirieix, General Manager, Galvin at Windows, London Hilton on Park Lane and the inspiration behind the event, said: “There has never been a more exciting time to join the Hospitality Industry, there are opportunities everywhere for those who want them and who are prepared to do what it takes. The idea behind National Waiters Day is to bring a spotlight to the hospitality Industry and showcase what a great range of exciting careers the industry has to offer…we’ll also be having a lot of fun in the process”.

The National Waiters Day initiative is being supported and co-ordinated by the Springboard Charity.

Anne Pierce, CEO of Springboard said: “We are delighted to be part of this fantastic National Waiters Day initiative to promote the waiting profession and hospitality industry as an great career choice and celebrate the success of waiters. The proceeds raised from the initiative will go towards enabling Springboard to develop and run an exciting programme for schools to encourage young people considering a career in front of house”.

Headline Sponsors of Waiters Day are Bunzl and BaxterStorey.

Other sponsors include Zenith Hygiene and ISS.

London Waiters Race, September 25th Hyde Park, London at 16:00

In addition to the race, visitors to London’s Hyde Park can take part in a range of have-a-go activities to demonstrate ‘front of house’ skills showcased by key sponsors and partners.

Kate Rogers, Sales and Marketing Manager at The Royal Parks, said “We are proud to support this event. Our catering concessions and hardworking waiting staff are at the heart of daily life in the park and wholly support a campaign to promote the profession.

click here for more information.

Since winning the 2013 HR in Hospitality Career Development Scholarship Sponsored by Caterer.com….. a post by Natalie Wild

My career in Hospitality began in 1996 when I graduated from the University of Hertfordshire.  Not really knowing what I wanted to do, I started working part time at Hollins Hall Marriott Hotel in Food & Beverage.  The hotel was undergoing a very exciting time to add more bedrooms, and open an exciting Leisure Club and Golf Course.  I was very fortunate to get a role in HR and was sponsored to undertake a Post Graduate Diploma through the University of Leeds.

In 2013 I was nominated for a HR in Hospitality Award in the category Excellence in establishing links with Schools, Colleges, Universities and Training Providers. The Awards ceremony was held in London in September 2013, and I walked away with 2 awards that night.  The first being the award for the category I was nominated for, and secondly, the Caterer.com HR Scholarship Grant.  This was an absolutely amazing achievement, and I am very proud to have the awards in my office.

Since winning the Caterer.com Scholarship in September 2013, deciding how to use the money has been an exciting adventure. My passion for working in HR in hospitality has recently allowed me the privileged opportunity to be part of a project team working on attracting, developing and retaining culinary talent.  I joined the project in November 2013 and have worked in partnership with Caterer.com to increase brand awareness of Marriott and careers in Culinary. This area of HR is quite new to me, and I have embraced taking on new skills to support my own personal development. Working in HR we often, forget about our own development opportunities and skills gaps.  Having had a generalist HR career to date Talent Acquisition is an area I want to focus on, and the project has allowed me to work with the Talent Acquisition Team at Head Office.

This has involved launching a number of email campaigns to chefs of all levels to raise brand awareness.  We have hosted Open Days for new apprentices, and worked closely with our own skilled managers to retain chefs that join our company.

The project led me to making a decision to undertake the MSc in Human Resource Management.  Having already studied and qualified with a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management, a qualification recognised by the CIPD, the MSc was the natural progression to undertake.

I investigated the options for me to undertake the qualification, and I have decided to complete this through the University of Bradford, School of Management.  Having met my tutor to work on my dissertation title, I am now excited to be undertaking the research.  I played around with so many ideas that I wanted to write about, but one of my areas of passion is talent acquisition.  So I decided to base my dissertation on culinary recruitment, and the impact social media has on online recruitment.

Social media is growing at a pace that we need to understand how the next generation of employees engage in applying for jobs and joining a company like Marriott and I am excited to start by talking to our apprentices as part of my primary research and how they embraced the online recruitment process to start a career in Culinary with Marriott

Follow my progress on the dissertation and I look forward to sharing more information on the research I undertake.

My amazing life in hospitality – so far… Owain Llwyd Jones, General Manager, The Fishes Oxford – a Peach pub

Sitting at the Hampshire Four Seasons collecting my Acorn award is one of the greatest moments in my career. But more than that, it is another amazing chapter in the story of my time with Peach Pubs, and in Oxford, especially as I have come home to The Fishes, where I started my management career.

At 19 I was on a work placement from Oxford Brookes University at the Cardiff Marriott, under Operations Director Gareth Banner, who had just won his Acorn award. Here I am now, 10 years reminiscing with Gareth about my time as a fresh-faced waiter under his management. I now have my own placement student working under me, making the same mistakes, learning the same important lessons.

For those of you who know me as the jolly landlord swanning around our beautiful pub, it may come as a slight surprise that I have a university education from one of the top – if not the top – hospitality schools in the country.

A decade ago, around this time of year, I was finishing my A-levels and looking to start my new life in Oxford. And the reason for my journey starting here was Oxford Brookes.

I originally had aspirations to study politics or English, but my dad – who would pick me up from my weekend waiting job and see me full of energy – recognised my youthful excitement as a future passion. He went about exploring the options for studying hospitality, and one university shone out above the rest: Oxford Brookes.

Four years there not only gave me a degree which I am very proud of, but it put me in a room with one of the two people who set up Peach, something which changed my life. I was initially signed up to work in 5-star hotels with Marriott, but then I met this charismatic, energetic, passionate man, and everything changed. Two days later I started working at The Fishes, and here I am today, still with this great company, back in this amazing pub.

With Peach I have been to Paris, Spain and Kenya. I have competed at the Restaurant Show in London, and now work with colleagues who have won Acorns, Craft Guild of Chef Awards for the being the pub restaurant chefs, and of course Cateys, one of the industry’s most sought-after accolades.

The reason I list these awards isn’t for my own vanity. Firstly it is through pride for my colleagues, and also through gratitude for how many amazing opportunities this company presents its team members. But I also list these as many people starting off in their careers in the hospitality industry may turn their noses up at the pub game, perhaps seeing pulling pints as beneath them. Hopefully these awards may open their eyes a bit to the amazing world of Peach.

What Peach gives you as a young manager are the tools to run a business, the culture to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, and encouragement to strive to be the best you can, hosting dinner parties everyday, and being a pillar in your community.

I am one of the lucky ones who loves his job, his team and his new home. But that isn’t all luck: a lot of thanks have to go to my family, my Peach Family, my Oxford Brookes Family, and my Oxford family, and may this only be the beginning of my love affair with this awesome industry.

Ready, set, go! Will you take up the Team Velo Challenge?

Cyclists, or want to be cyclists, from across the hospitality industry, are invited to form teams and take on the challenge of a London to Paris bike ride this September, in aid of The Springboard Charity.

The Team Velo Challenge will see teams of four, cycle from the Pullman Hotel London to the Pullman Hotel Paris, setting off on September 18th 2014. Teams are encouraged to take the journey at their own pace, however the first to arrive in the French capital will be crowned the winners, so there’s a little something in the trip for the competitor in you.

Created by The Genuine Dining Company and sponsored by Pullman London St. Pancras and Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel, in association with Springboard, the event promises to be bigger, better and more adrenaline-fuelled than before. This unique challenge is not only ideal for team building, but an innovative way to highlight the work of The Springboard Charity and turn sponsorship into some meaningful contribution to the hospitality industry.

Speaking about the last year’s challenge, Chris Mitchell, Director at The Genuine Dining Co said: “It was a really fun event, and there was some friendly competition – not least from the very competitive Springboard team, the team rolled over the line in Paris to be crowned the winners.’’

Anne Pierce, CEO at Springboard said: “The Team Velo Challenge is an amazing opportunity for everyone that rises to the occasion and takes part. Last year we watched the teams cross the finish line in Paris and the atmosphere was electric. The funds raised were in excess of £22k which is fantastic.” Adding: “It’s a hugely worthwhile event for everyone involved, from those who take part and endure the many challenges, right up to those who benefit from the funds that are raised. Those vital funds are essential in assisting us in helping young, unemployed and disadvantaged people improve their prospects with life-changing opportunities and sustainable employment in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry.”

The money raised through sponsorship of cyclists will go towards The Springboard Charity’s Youth Programmes.

To enter a team of four including one night’s stay in Gournay-en-Bray, a cycling jersey, barbecue, breakfast on the first day and a cocktail reception upon arrival in Paris, the cost is only £300. With an achievable fundraising target of £2000 per team. For more information click here

Follow the conversation on Twitter @TeamVelo_2014

Getting the recognition you deserve

Why enter awards? Isn’t it just a lot of hassle? Can you really be bothered to spend time writing an award entry? What’s going to be the return on investment? Can you justify the time and effort when you could be doing so much more?

With so many awards to enter, so many different category’s to enter and what ones should you do, well the event that HR in hospitality on 20th May looked to help employers understand the importance of award and some top tips on how to get the most out of entering awards even if you don’t win.

We heard some great examples from different organisations of the benefits from entering awards.  There are so many ways to gain recognition not just HR specific awards.

Ian Richardson from Jumeriah said your entry should be a true story that has already been written and being shortlisted is a great excuse to celebrate with your team a real motivator. Being shortlisted helps with:

  • Credibility (for you, the team and within the organisation)
  • External Benchmarking (the work you do is really good, compare with your peers)
  • Team Motivation (a motivator in itself)
  • Celebration of your success (an excuse to come along to an award evening)
  • Talent attraction (great to talk about at interviews, gives people a reason to want to join you)
  • Career development (can help people in your team develop)

The event included some ‘Top Tips’ on how to write an award winning entry from Esther O’Halloran (see the full presentation slides uploaded for more  detail).

  •  Answer the questions properly
  • Don’t ignore the word count
  •  Avoid copy and pasting at all costs
  • Banish all HR jargon
  • Write persuasively
  • Include supporting evidence
  • Remember that words beat links 
  • Make it easy to access websites and files
  • Leave yourself (just) enough time
  • Assign somebody to the job
  • Consult colleagues
  • Proofread
  • Avoid lame typos
  • Make sure clients give you the thumbs up
  • Be passionate

HRinhospitality have opened up the 2014 awards this year with a NEW category for Excellence in Employee Engagement. We are pleased to announce that Caterer.com have offered the HR Scholarship of £2,500 for the second year too. We want to encourage as many entries as possible this year to keep our judges busy. Great news entry is FREE unlike some awards, so no excuse start preparing your entries now.

So come on, it your chance to shine and enter an award, the ROI will be clear.

Enter the HRinhospitality Awards for Excellence 2014 now!

What defines great leadership in the 21st century? asks Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association…

In this post recession era, where the boundaries between our professional and personal lives are becoming blurred and technology is changing the way we speak, think and interact, the rules of work are being redefined.  What constituted success and power in the past now follows a different set of rules, and the attributes of a successful leader are changing.

What, in the 21st defines great leadership?  The BHA investigates…

  • Leaders lead, not follow.  They listen, engage and respond; they understand, not just people, but also the context of a situation or idea and the influences which are shaping people and decisions
  • Leaders do not have to be at the top of the organisational tree to wield influence.  In the hospitality and tourism sector, leaders can be found at all levels
  • Leaders work towards a cause.  Take the case of our industry, hospitality, which is defining leadership through economic growth and various campaigns and causes including:  The Cut Tourism VAT Campaign which aims at securing a 5% rate on visitor accommodation and attractions; the Visa campaign which is lobbying to (further) reduce Visa barriers for international tourists; and job creation, for example the creation of 34,000 work placements, apprenticeships and job opportunities for 16-24 year olds through the Big Hospitality Conversation.  These are just a handful of examples of real life leadership in action
  • Great leaders are not afraid to tackle the difficult issues like youth unemployment or decline in regional tourism figures.  They will listen to the issues at hand, talk to inspirational people, organisations and businesses from a wide range of sectors and find a solution
  • Leaders do not shy away from change, they embrace it.  Graeme Codrington, a leader in the changing world of work says:  “We are in the midst of what I call ‘a moment of change.’  We now find ourselves in the transition between the ‘before’ and ‘after’.  A twilight era where yesterday’s value sets are morphing and evolving into new territory.  Today’s generation of young people is the first to work in the ‘after’ world which has been shaped by a plethora of contributory factors.”  Great leaders stop and listen to information like this, and join with others. They take inspiration from others.  Most importantly, they embrace challenges, learning from change and evolution to help shape the outcome and, ultimately the future.

The BHA embraces leadership and wants the UK hospitality and tourism industry to be recognised as a world class leader. We will do this by connecting government and industry leaders to focus on securing valuable new jobs for our people, growth for our industry and competitive advantage for the UK.

What do you think defines great leadership?  Are you a great leader?  Want to be inspired? Want to help shape the future of hospitality? Hear Graeme Codrington’s keynote speech at the Hospitality & Tourism Summit 2014 on Thursday 5th June, Novotel London West.

Click Here to see the full programme and top tier speakers

Get involved and join the discussion on Twitter using #BHAsummit

Don’t miss out. Register now and be part of shaping the future for the hospitality and tourism industry.

Engagement in hospitality- a post by Tom Debenham, Managing Director, People Insight


Engagement in hospitality #3: Do your staff feel valued? 

People Insight has teamed up with Caterer.com for the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards, which were launched in March.

Our aim is that the Awards showcase the best employers in terms of their approaches to engaging their people, and provide useful case studies and inspiration for others.

Here’s our third post in a series on how to be a best employer in hospitality: do your staff feel valued?

Our thought-provoking series of blogs has already looked at how employers can stand out to engage your workforce, but this time we’re looking at whether or not your staff feel valued themselves.

Our research shows there is a huge gulf between the job managers think they are doing and the reality of their management style on the ‘shop floor’. A massive 91% of UK managers believe that they always or sometimes spend time coaching their team, but only 40% of UK employees agree.

How do you bridge that gap? Surveys carried out by People Insight in companies across the UK find only half of employees feel recognised for the work they do. So do your line managers notice the things staff have done well and praise them? They should, because one thing that comes up time and time again in organisations where engagement could be improved is how important verbal praise is to people. We all need reassurance and this has such a positive effect on their work environment if a manager is prepared to go out of their way to thank staff for their efforts.

If you think about it, verbal praise is one of the easiest things to do to demonstrate you value your employees. It’s free and doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

Here’s three points to help you praise staff:

  1. Do it often – don’t wait until the annual performance review – do it right away, and do it a lot.
  1. Be specific – Instead of saying “well done”, say something like “well done on handling that customer complaint just now. It was particularly good that you resolved it quickly and sincerely without there being a scene.” It shows that you’re really attentive, and that you’re not giving praise just for the sake of giving praise.
  1. Be constructive – Add in some feedback in your praise to make your feedback less negative. For example, say something like “well done on handling that customer complaint just now, the only thing you might think of trying next time is to ask a few more questions to find out a bit more.”

Of course, while saying thank you can have a huge impact on a day-to-day basis, there are other things you can do if you want to take the praise further. If your team have coped with particularly difficult challenges then a team dinner is a nice way to register your appreciation. Indeed, think about formalising your recognition for certain contributions – instigating team awards at AGMs, or joining in with the national mood and giving staff an additional ‘Bank Holiday’ like many did for the Diamond Jubilee.

We all need praise, even at senior executive level, and it helps create a hugely positive culture in your business.

Tom Debenham, MD People Insight

For more information on People Insight, click here 

To enter the Caterer.com Best Employers in Hospitality Awards and find out more about your employee engagement levels, free of charge, click here

Caterer.com are taking part in the Mayfair Park & Tower Race

A team of three from Caterer.com are participating in the Mayfair Park & Tower Race on Friday 6th June 2014, to raise money and awareness for Galvin’s Chance.


Galvin’s Chance is an into work programme that provides support and training to help young people change their lives for the better through a career in the hospitality industry.

At Caterer.com we are proud of the fantastic opportunities that exist in the hospitality industry and are committed to promoting it as a great place to work. We are therefore extremely excited to be participating!


Neil Pattison, Roy Walker and Craig D’Mello from Caterer.com will be running 4.5km around Hyde Park, through the underpass on Park Lane and entering the London Hilton on Park Lane, before climbing 28 floors (475 steps). They are a competitive team and the first one to the top will NOT let the others forget their victory!

We would be delighted if you would sponsor the team and support this wonderful cause.

Galvin’s Chance is part of the Hilton in the Community Foundation. This inspirational ‘into work’ programme provides mentoring, work experience, skill training, employment and qualifications leading to NVQ Level 2 in Hospitality. It is designed to give all of the young people on the programme the skills, the support and the opportunities to start a career in the hospitality industry; to change and improve their lives for the better and to inspire those around them.

Please donate and help raise lots of money for this fantastic cause.

Recruitment levels in Pubs and Bars move beyond pre-recession levels with 33% growth in jobs

Hospitality Jobs as a whole grew 21% in Q1 2014

19 May 2014: According to Caterer.com, the UK’s largest hospitality job board, recruitment levels in the Pubs and Bars sector have moved beyond pre-recession levels last seen in 2008. In the last 12 months 13,401 jobs were advertised on the site by employers – compared with 12,000 in 2008, representing a 34% increase in the last quarter and a 33% increase year on year.

The findings are revealed in Caterer.com’s latest Hospitality Employment Index report, which also indicated a strong resurgence in jobs advertised throughout the entire hospitality sector, with 21% growth in Q1 2014, representing 34,512 jobs advertised on the site. Year on year growth was also strong, with 14% uplift in jobs advertised, equivalent to over 126,872 individual job postings.

Commenting on the findings, Ian Burke, Website Director of Caterer.com said:

“The data from our website is clearly telling a positive story and the hospitality industry as a whole has reason to be optimistic. However, despite the many encouraging indicators we need to remain focused on securing the long term viability of our industry. The war for talent is intensifying and we will continue to compete with other sectors, such as manufacturing or retail for those with the best aptitude.


“That’s why we need to keep focused on attracting young talent to the industry to avoid future skills gaps– something we’re already doing through initiatives like the BHA’s Big Hospitality Conversation or Springboard’s youth programmes. We must continue to work together to safeguard hospitality’s future as a sector of growth, initiative and opportunity.”

The report revealed a number of key trends over the last 12 months to Q1 2014:

Growth in Management and Higher Salaries

Caterer.com data disclosed that managerial staff represent the majority of jobs advertised in the last 12 months to 2014. The number of Assistant Manager roles available grew by 4.1% compared with last year, whilst General Manager roles increased by 3.3%, perhaps suggesting higher skilled managerial employees are moving jobs as a result of increased optimism and confidence in the market place.

In correlation, there have been more roles advertised with higher salaries than this time last year, whilst the number of lower salary roles advertised has fallen. For instance jobs advertised with salaries under £19,000 fell 18.7% year on year, whilst jobs advertised with salaries over £30,000 grew by 56.3% year on year.

Chefs in Pubs and Bars

The number of chef roles advertised within the Pubs and Bars sector has increased by 34% in the last year, suggesting a move by Pubs and Bars towards either introducing or improving their food offering in response to consumer demand for informal but high quality dining settings.

In comparison growth has been slower in the restaurant sector, with 24% growth year on year. Indeed, in 2009 for every chef advertised for a role in pubs and bars, there were six chefs advertised in restaurants. Now the ratio has fallen to 1:3.

Commenting on the state of the nation for the hospitality industry, Martin Couchman, Deputy CEO, British Hospitality Association, said:

“It is crucial that the UK hospitality and tourism industry receives recognition as the best in the world. To help us achieve this we must continue to focus on recruiting and growing the best talent, capitalising and continuing to build on the successes of the Big Hospitality Conversation. We also need to look long term, aiming to future proof our industry, continually innovating and evolving to attract and support the young people who form the backbone of our industry.”

The quarterly Hospitality Employment Index report from Caterer.com is available to download free of charge here.

totaljobs GROUP

Caterer.com is a trademark of Totaljobs Group Ltd
© Copyright and database rights Totaljobs Group Ltd 2013

Working with
SpringBoard   AA Hotel Services   Hospitality   hit Scotland