People Awards 2016 – Shortlist announced

The entries have been judged, the shortlist has been announced and now the countdown is on to the spectacular People Awards 2016. To be held at the Park Plaza Hotel, Westminster on October 12, the awards ceremony promises to be an exciting night celebrating the best and most innovative initiatives in Hospitality Recruitment, retention and development.

Awards will be presented across 12 categories: Employee Engagement Programme, Employer Brand Campaign, Rewards and Benefits Initiatives, Learning & Development, On-Boarding Programme, Emerging Talent Initiative, Candidate Experience, Launch Campaign, HR Team, In-House Recruitment Team, Leadership in Recruitment, Retention and Development and the special Ambassador to The Industry Award.

The shortlist spans the sector from high-end to high street with luxury brands The Dorchester, The Doyle Collection and the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel rubbing shoulders with every day favourites like Bella Italia, Leon Restaurants and Be At One.

The shortlist also highlights the sectors continuing efforts and hard work in improving the working lives of those dedicated to the UK Hospitality industry. These practices encourage and reward staff in new and exciting ways, paying dividends with a better working culture and increased business. In the Candidate Experience category, Firmdale Hotels has utilised increased Employer Brand Engagement and their ‘Love What You Do’ campaign to successfully reduce the number of candidates dropping out before on-boarding.

Many shortlist selectees have noted the challenges they face in recruiting and keeping hold of ‘millennials’. This group, fresh to the workplace, brimming with new ideas, need to be listened to and engaged if they are to be retained. In the Employee Engagement selection, London EDITION utilised a new training programme specifically designed for this generation. Since its inception last year, 60 employees have graduated, 75% of whom were promoted during the programme.

Dishoom encourages staff to adopt their philosophy of ‘Seva’ – selfless service. They also offer an extensive training programme and total immersion in the group’s culture; ‘State of Mind’ workshops, one-on-one mentorship and a week-long Boot Camp in India, which ensured them a place on the shortlist in the Learning & Development category.

Also on the shortlist in the Rewards and Benefits category is the Portavadie Hotel which is located on the West coast of Scotland, two hours from Glasgow and an hour from the nearest town. The surroundings are tranquil and the views are stunning. This is Portavadie’s allure, but also its problem. How do you attract and secure world class staff to run a world class facility? Easy. You make it their home. Portavadie accommodates 72% of its staff, including families, within the hotel in rooms matching those of guests. This has resulted in an increase in staffing and a steady return in seasonal staff.

Your hard work and your dedication to your staff needs to be acknowledged. In an industry that prides itself on quality for the customer, it’s important to remember that quality begins with your people. Without their skills and dedication, your brand message cannot be conveyed and your profits could never be returned.

Congratulations to all shortlisted employers! You can see the full shortlist here.

The glittering People Awards 2016 will be an evening to remember with 500 guests in attendance. Sponsors for this year’s awards include Part & Co., Admiral Recruitment and Careers in Hospitality at Hotelympia 2018. Tickets provide a drinks reception, a delicious three course dinner designed by Executive Head Chef Olivier Ruiz and his team, first class entertainment and a post awards party.

We’re delighted to reveal that the evening will be hosted by the hilarious Stephen Mangan (Have I Got News for You?, Green Wing, Dirk Gently, Episodes). If you’re in Hospitality Recruitment, you cannot miss this event. So grab your glad rags and book tickets now at

Thank you Part & Company for sponsoring our People Awards are delighted to announce that Part & Company are sponsors of the People Awards 2016.

Part & Company offers a personal recruitment service, as each requirement needs individual tailoring. This strategic approach enables us to build long-term relationships with clients and candidates. Our vast network of contacts in the food and drink industry enables us to recruit the right people for the right job. Having a driven team of hard working recruitment specialists behind us makes Part & Company more efficient, thoroughly professional and an accomplished player in the industry.  Part & Company have been Members of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts since 2010.

Recruitment for the Food & Drink Industry: Restaurants, Pubs, Hotels, Independent Boutique Operators, Bars, Clubs, Festivals, Events, Private Households, Boats.

Simon Part started out in a family owned brewery pub 15 years ago.  It was here where he found a passion for food and a hunger for the food and drink industry. Working his way up he trained on the job as a chef in a number of London’s best restaurant kitchens and with some of the great Culinary teachers of the industry. Whish gave him the idea for Part and Company and we are now coming into its 9th year.

In summary, Simon has worked in most sectors within the industry ranging from Commis to Management and is therefore qualified to offer in depth knowledge and service to the industry he is incredibly passionate about.

“Part & Company are like one of the family, we have come to rely on their professional and efficient service over the past….years and owe much of our so success to them.”
Chris Galvin

Thank you Admiral Recruitment for sponsoring our People Awards

Let’s take a look at what this successful business offer!

Admiral Recruitment is a market leader in providing permanent and temporary personnel at all levels within the catering, hospitality, facilities and commercial arenas.

Their bespoke and personalised service focuses on delivering an experience that exceeds their clients’ and applicants’ expectations every step of the way.

They employ stringent and proven employment techniques uniquely tailored to the industry that they serve.

They are a dynamic, pro-active company that is committed to providing a personal service to both their clients’ and applicants’.

Specialties: Hospitality Recruitment, Sales and Events, Commercial Services, Chef Recruitment, Permanent Placements, Temporary Placements, Pubs, Bars and Branded Restaurants, Contract Catering

With a skills shortage threatening to undermine Britain’s restaurant scene, Springboard’s FutureChef offers hospitality employers a fresh approach to recruitment, says

The UK chef skills shortage is well documented and one of the biggest threats to the hospitality industry today. While waiting lists at popular restaurants grow, there are less chefs than ever available to cook the food customers crave. The situation is so critical that it’s threatening to undermine Britain’s restaurant scene, and presents an ever-present challenge for hospitality employers. Figures from the Employer Skill Survey 2015, produced by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), reveals that 47% of vacancies for chefs are difficult to recruit for, with chef shortages most prevalent in London (66%) and the South East (46%).

The survey goes on to suggest that the skills shortage could affect how we eat out, having a direct impact on the success of UK hospitality businesses. Some commentators even go so far as to suggest that the shortage of emerging young chefs could change the restaurant landscape forever, making fine dining redundant as restaurateurs choose high volume, low cost food over luxury.

Practically every UK restaurant has a shortage of staff, and this is impacting all ends of the restaurant spectrum, from fast food to fine dining. According to the People 1st State of the National Report 2013, around two thirds of hard-to-fill vacancies in the sector (65%) are hard to fill because applicants don’t have the skills required.

So what’s the solution?

Springboard’s FutureChef seeks to tackle, head-on, the challenges of recruiting and retaining young chefs and in doing so offers hospitality employers access to the best emerging talent at grass roots level. The programme reaches out to 11-16 year olds, expanding their understanding of food and cooking. It talks to schools, young people and their parents, encouraging them to positively consider a career in hospitality, challenging negative perceptions of the industry. Later in the programme, professional chefs mentor the participants, supporting their progress and teaching them core skills. Springboard’s FutureChef seeks to ensure a steady stream of young people joining the hospitality ranks. And, it seems, this approach is working.

This year, a staggering 8,000 11-16 year olds entered FutureChef.

Paul Whitecross, Head Chef of Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, and mentor to 16 year old second runner-up Connor Duncan, says, “2016 has seen more entries than ever, and this year we noticed a real shift in attitude. Now, young people are coming to us saying they want to be a chef.  They see their friends and school mates becoming passionate about food through FutureChef and they want to get involved. It’s creating a whole new talent pool of aspiring young chefs.”

Trying to make a career choice at such a young age is a tough decision, says Whitecross, so FutureChef, which encourages 11-16 year olds to master their skills in a nurturing environment, is the way to attract new talent to the industry.  Pairing aspiring young chefs like Connor with industry mentors like Whitecross enables supervised skills practice and a taste of real life work experience. In the case of Whitecross and his young charge Connor, this led to a permanent job, and the young chef now works full-time at Trump International Golf Links, alongside his mentor.

Says Whitecross:  “Mentoring is all about nurturing aspiring young chefs and encouraging them to try new skills. The goal is to inspire them, share your passion for food and above all, give them the confidence to cook.”

The attributes of a good chef are cultural as well as skills-based, says Whitecross. “There’s more to it than just being able to cook. To succeed, a chef needs passion, imagination and creativity. They need to be a good team player and have a hunger for food. They should listen, learn and respect…and a modicum of cooking talent is a good start. By working closely with Connor through FutureChef I was able to nurture his skills, so by the time he joined me as a trainee chef he was already competent beyond his age.” For his part, Connor says, “Being this young and having so much under my belt already is amazing.”

This success story is one that is repeated many times for employers and participants involved in Springboard’s FutureChef. The national programme is a clear pipeline for talent.

With the chef skills shortage costing hospitality employers dear, FutureChef offers hospitality employers a new approach to recruitment. Working with the programme can help employers to tackle the skills challenge head on by engaging directly with enthusiastic and talented young people.

Interested in finding out more about FutureChef? Click here People Awards 2016: 7 days left to enter

With 7 days to go to enter our People Awards 2016, here’s 7 things you need to know:

  1. Entry is free!
  2. Request an entry form via
  3. Browse for the 12 categories, submit as many as you wish.
  4. Judges will look at your idea and results (not at your writing style)!
  5. Tell us about the challenge you sought to address or the success of an initiative launched.
  6. Send your entries to
  7. Deadline is Wednesday 7th July so don’t delay!

Get recognised now and enter!

Are the best candidates considering you as an employer? Read our Top 6 Tips on boosting your employer brand appeal

Are the best candidates considering you as an employer?

Employer brand is often considered a concept that only applies to larger companies. The truth is, every business has an employer brand. It’s who you are, what you stand for, and the kind of company you are to work for. It’s an expression of your reputation, the benefits and rewards you give your staff, the culture of your workplace. It’s what sets you apart from the competition.

Top employers of all sizes from across the hospitality industry are embracing new and innovative approaches to aid their recruitment strategies, with employer brand at the heart.

In a skills shortage, employer brand matters. What’s more, investment in it drives recruitment costs down.

Ultimately, understanding your employer brand and communicating it to your candidates and employees will pay you back in terms of attraction, recruitment and retention rates. And you don’t need a big budget to get it right.

Our recent employer event looked at the meaning of employer brand and how businesses of every size can understand and communicate theirs. Here’s what our expert panel of hospitality employers say are the Top 6 Tips on boosting your employer brand appeal:


For many companies, the biggest challenge is defining their employer brand.  What exactly does it mean? The simple way to begin the process is to remind yourself of why your business started and what it means to you. What are the values of the business? What matters? By getting back to basics you’ll start to create a point of difference that helps you stand out from the competition.  This is the basis of your employer brand and all your communications should be an expression of it.


Many employers struggle to create a genuine employer brand message that resonates with the business and its employees.  One of the best ways to tackle this is to engage your workforce in the process.  Your current employees are your best customers and your best advocates, and know better than anyone what it’s like to work for you. Canvas their views and opinions to help you create an authentic message that you can communicate out to potential employees.


Beware the pitfalls of over-thinking!  In large organisations, or companies with multiple founders or owners, visions can often be contradictory, and the obvious solution may seem to include all the various perspectives in your employer brand message.  Do this at your peril!  To keep things authentic, keep it simple.  Look for the overriding themes in the views expressed. For example, if you run a restaurant, you might focus on the ethos behind your food and the service, the values behind your offering. This is the heartbeat of your business and it’s what makes you great and will appeal to potential candidates


If you struggle to engage with potential employees, communicating your employer brand through social media channels can be an effective way to build general awareness. Tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram can act as a support for your ongoing recruitment campaigns by giving your business a personality online.  Have fun with your content and share regularly. Focus on the things that represent your business best,including new starters, work anniversaries, celebrations; these all allow you to engage with a future candidate pool by giving them a view into your workplace. Engaging employees and candidates in a dialogue through social media also allows you to develop a talent pool of potential candidates for future roles


For some candidates, there’s disconnect between the brand they engage with as your consumer and the brand they experience through your recruitment campaigns.  Whether you are a global brand or a local business, your future employees may well be your current employees, so take time to align your consumer brand and your employer brand messaging. Make sure your communications, no matter how big or small, are recognisable as coming from the same business


Your current employees will take your employer brand message out into the market, so it’s important to look after them. Running regular employee engagement surveys will give you the chance to understand what matters to your people and where adjustments need to be made.  This process does not have to be complicated. Whilst employee engagement specialists can support larger brands in the market, smaller businesses can easily and cost effectively set up staff surveys through sites such as Survey Monkey. And when you have the results, make sure you visibly act on them. An engaged workforce can be your biggest employer brand ambassadors!


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

Employer Brand was the topic of a recent event which brought together over 70 HR professionals and recruitment specialists with a panel including Jean-Pierre Gadsdon, Head of Recruitment for Carluccio’s, Harald Samuelsson, Senior Advisor/Commercial Director for Honest Burgers and Rachel Mellors, Managing Consultant for Cubiks UK.

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.

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