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Spotlighting Innovation: Candidate Experience

The judges for this year’s People Awards looked for initiatives that clearly delivered a visionary end-to-end candidate experience and that have successfully delivered results to the business.

Candidate Experience Category

Judging the 2018 People Awards was a tough process.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this year’s judging process, is that UK hospitality employers are no longer just talking about adapting to change, they’re taking strong, positive steps towards bringing new recruitment ideas to life.

One of the biggest challenges facing any recruitment team is positively engaging with talent from application to on-boarding and beyond. It’s still a skills-short, candidate led market and employers who can connect with top candidates throughout the process will engage and retain them, keeping them ahead of their competitors.

Our shortlist in the Candidate Experience category for this year’s People Awards is exceptional. These employers have all demonstrated ground-breaking and truly innovative work that puts them among the very best this industry has to offer.

They are…

  • Dishoom
  • Honest Burgers
  • Malmaison & Hotel du Vin
  • Splendid Hospitality Group
  • YO! Sushi

A standout candidate experience improves candidate delivery, nurtures a strong employer reputation and lowers recruitment costs. The judges for this year’s People Awards looked for initiatives that clearly delivered a visionary end-to-end candidate experience and that have successfully delivered results to the business.

The judges for the Candidate Experience category were:

Andy Gilhooley, Head Of Recruitment, Soho House
Andy began his career working his way up through the ranks and managing sites across various branded restaurants. After 12 years working in operations, Andy joined Soho House & Co as Senior Recruitment Manager to build a bench of senior talent and support the international growth of the business.

After a successful eighteen months, Andy was promoted to Head of Recruitment, overseeing and supporting a team of internal recruiters to aide the continued expansion of the private members’ clubs, restaurants and hotels.

Charlotte Summers, Head of People & Development, Hallmark Hotels
Charlotte initially commenced her people career within Four Pillars hotels, supporting its growth from two to eight properties. Being involved in such fast-paced growth was hugely exciting, especially new builds. De Vere was the next chapter, supporting the businesses through acquisition and change.

In 2011, Charlotte took on the Head of People Role at Bespoke Hotels, again supporting the business through growth and developing the Gotham brand concept which later opened in Manchester 2015. Charlotte was instrumental in winning the 2016 People Awards for Launch Campaign. Charlotte is now working to build the Hallmark Hotels brand and team.

Emmanuelle Jugon, Talent and Culture, Accor Hotels
Emmanuelle transferred from her role as General Manager to become the Talent and Culture Manager. Now responsible for engagement, compliance, supporting the Franchise network in terms of Attraction to Learning & Development, coordinating transversal projects related to the company’s Digital and Cultural transformations, her focus is on supporting all talents who are engaged and committed to the vision of AccorHotels.

Geraldine McCormick, Head of Audience Experience, National Theatre
Geraldine is HR Advisor for Commercial Operations at the National Theatre, however, for the last nine months she has taken on the role of Head of Audience Experience – maternity cover. She is responsible for the department’s HR Advisor and Systems Manager, Resources Manager and Administrators. Their main goals are consolidation, a higher level of staff engagement through effective recruitment and selection, amazing onboarding and active and realistic performance management. They also focus on KPI analysis and future development for the whole of Commercial Operations at the National Theatre.

Jon Dawson, HR Director, The Mandarin Oriental Group
He is a Chartered? Fellow of the CIPD and a committee member of the UK’s HR in Hospitality organisation. Jon graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a degree in Hotel & Tourism Management and started his career in Florida, USA with the luxury hotel company Boca Resorts Inc before joining Marriott International in 2002 on Marriott’s graduate program and progressed within the company holding various roles within HR throughout the UK. Jon has held a variety of hotel human resources positions within the hotel sector and is the Director of Human Resources for the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London Hotel & Residences which is currently undertaking a multi-million renovation of the entire property.

Marco Reick, People Director, Leon
Marco joined LEON Restaurants at the end of 2016 as People Director, having spent three and a half years at the fledgling Bill’s Restaurants as part of the directors team taking Bill’s from newcomer to nationwide restaurant brand during its rapid expansion.

Prior to this, he spent more than six years at The Restaurant Group plc as Head of Recruitment whilst the group was going through a period of significant growth. LEON’s mission is to make it easier for everyone to live and eat well, and this is true for both customers and the LEON team. Marco is passionate about ensuring this mission and the LEON culture are well and truly alive as LEON grows internationally.

Simon Dallyn, Global Recruitment Manager, Zuma Restaurant group
At 22 Simon moved into recruitment consultancy in the supply chain industry where he remained for 3 years. Hospitality came calling again in 2012 when Firmdale Hotels offered him the role of Recruitment Manager; he jumped at the chance. In 2014, Simon was approached by Azumi Group to join as Recruitment Manager for London representing their three brands in Zuma, ROKA & Oblix. Simon’s passion, commitment & success in his role was recognised in 2015 and he was promoted to Global Recruitment Manager, representing and working with all of the global teams for the group.

So, who made the shortlist?

MalHDV is a collection of luxury boutique hotels across the UK, comprising 15 Malmaison hotels and 19 under the Hotel du Vin brand. It is a member of the Frasers Hospitality Group and employs over 2,800 people. At the heart of both brands is the ethos that all customers receive personalised and celebrity experience. Malmaison believes, and rightly so, that the key to delivering that experience is having outstanding people in your organisation at every level.

MalHDV has embarked on an ambitious, far-reaching, ‘warts-and-all’ analysis of its current processes to identify where methods could be improved and to better understand what candidates were looking for from a potential employer. Over the last 12 months, MalHDV has put in place a plan of action to tackle many of the challenges it faced and to develop an industry-leading, end-to-end, candidate experience that reflected the business brand values, ethos and attract the best talent.

Dishoom People Awards winner, Dishoom have not been resting on their laurels this past year. Tackling an increasingly candidate-driven and competitive market, the Indian street food-wallahs had to think of ways in which the company could stand out to a wider audience and tailor their attraction methods and hiring process for the candidate. They’ve been looking at every aspect of this: from their recruitment marketing strategy to their advertising channels. They’ve reworked all of their hiring and on-boarding process and rewritten and redesigned all of their materials. They’ve also done strong work on their after-care once the candidate is working at Dishoom.

Honest Burgers
The popular quality burger chain noticed that last year the number of their new managers completing probation was too high and they needed to improve retention for all management positions in the first three months. Honest Burgers created a first stage interview programme called ‘The Great Escape’, an intriguing concept where a group is locked in a room with a certain amount of time to get out. Candidates must find their way out and are faced with obstacles such as locks, passcodes and passwords around the room. Feedback has been wonderful and retention rates have increased for Honest Burgers has increased by over 30%.

Splendid Hospitality Group
The Splendid Group needed to attract the right talent but was up against huge corporate organisations with big budgets and resources. They had no Applicant Tracking System in place and because of the differences between the company’s brands and hotels, recruitment formats were inconsistent, resulting in varying candidate experiences.

Their solution was to design a careers website and ATS application process which reflected Splendid as an organisation and gave candidates a user-friendly, seamless and great experience. It was vitally important that the careers site and application process not only mirrored the brand identity but also effectively communicated the story of the Splendid Family. Their initiative has definitely paid dividends as all candidates who have been surveyed and who have completed their online application and on-boarding have given 100% positive feedback. and Splendid continues to receive amazing reviews.

YO! Sushi
As winners of the Leadership in Recruitment, Retention & Development category at last year’s People Awards, YO! Sushi has a lot to live up to. Following on from that success, YO! wanted to expand on their achievements by getting brand values deeply embedded and making them an integral part of their candidate experience. They’ve created a Careers Portal and Social media strategy which showcases what it is really like to work at YO! In addition, their ATS keeps candidates informed as to where they are at each stage of the process. YO! Recruitment materials help teams identify and measure brand values and also in operation is an interactive platform for teams to access when they join and to use throughout their YO! careers.

Who will win the much sought-after Candidate Experience award?

Be there at the 2018 People Awards at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, October 1st to find out.

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