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Spotlighting Innovation: Rewards & Benefits

Recruiting top talent is only half the battle, keeping hold of their skills and expertise is the real trick.

Reward & Benefits

Ask any employer within the hospitality industry and they’ll all say the same: Recruiting top talent is only half the battle, keeping hold of their skills and expertise is the real trick. Of course, many factors can come into play; salary, location, a strong learning & development package, but like all of us, your people want to feel valued and the perks of the job can be just as important as any other consideration.

Shortlisted in the category for Rewards & Benefits at the 2018 People Awards are:

  • Dalata Hotel Group
  • Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants Ltd
  • Hyatt UK
  • Las Iguanas
  • LEON
  • Malmaison and Hotel du Vin
  • National Theatre Commercial Operations Department

For this category, the judges were looking for employers that could demonstrate a strategic and innovative approach to designing a benefits offering that suits the needs of a diverse workforce.

Meet our judges

Anneli Daniels – HR Director, Marriott Hotels

After attending Norwich City Hotel School Anneli joined De Vere Hotels as a Trainee Manager and then moved into Human Resources holding various roles. She then joined Hilton, again in HR, overseeing various properties as an HR Manager, Training Manager and Area Director.

A change in direction saw a move to South West Trains in 2014 where she held the role of Area HR Business Partner at London Waterloo.

However, Anneli’s heart lay with Hospitality and in 2015 she joined Marriott taking the role of Multi-Property Director of Human Resources with a promotion to Cluster Director of Human Resources – Central Cluster following in early 2017.

Gemma Beeson -Head of HR, Champneys Health Spa

Gemma’s HR career journey has taken her through many sectors, giving her great experiences within the HR world. Starting off in the prison service, Gemma has also worked in telecommunications, distribution, e-commerce and now in Hospitality, a sector that is extremely diverse and one she thoroughly enjoys.

In 2014, Gemma joined Champneys as a HR Manager looking after one resort and the reservations department and is now solely responsible for the HR function and looks after the whole group.

Jo Harley – Managing Director, Purple Cubed

As MD of award winning employee engagement consultancy Purple Cubed, Jo has provided expertise and tools for organisations to improve business results and growth through harnessing the power of their people for over 15 years. Prior to this she was operational in the industry managing pubs/bars and working with Bacardi-Martini.

Lisa Redding – Head of HR, Eden Hotel Collection

Lisa joined Eden Hotel Collection in 2018 in a newly created Head of HR role introduced to support its people culture and values, bringing a proactive and ‘modern day’ HR approach across eight luxury hotels. Prior to this, Lisa was Group Resourcing and Talent Manager for QHotels where she worked for 10 years in generalist and specialist roles, responsible for the Resourcing and Employer Brand strategy designed to recruit, engage, develop, and retain top talent across 26 hotels. Lisa has 15 years+ experience working within HR in the hospitality industry, having also held previous roles for Village Hotels and MacDonald Hotels.

Martin McPhail – Director of Human Resources, RBH Hotels UK Ltd

Martin has spent his entire working career in hospitality. Originally from an Ops background, he now has the responsibility of driving the people strategy into a diverse range of hotels across the UK. Having worked at RBH for eight years, the experience gained is tremendous, from working with new opening hotels, changing cultures in established properties and developing individuals and teams.

Martin is a passionate and dedicated hospitality professional with a wealth of expertise.

Edward Gallier – Head of Learning & Development, Jurys Inn Hotels

Ed is Head of Learning & Development for Jurys Inn Hotels. He is a passionate hospitality operator specialising in learning and development.

Prior to his role with Jurys Inn he ran a hospitality learning consultancy, U Flourish working with small and medium size businesses improving the guest experience and management development programmes. He also found time to be part of the Conde Nast hotel inspection team in the UK.

A mentor in the School of Hospitality at Oxford Brookes University and Chair of the Hospitality Apprenticeship board, Ed believes in developing stronger links between education and business for the mutual benefits that can be gained.

Who’s made the shortlist?

Dalata Hotel Group

Dalata launched the SAYE (Save as you Earn) scheme to drive employee engagement by giving them the opportunity to invest in their future with the company and also allowing the company to communicate their commitment to the future of their employees. Dalata’s commitment to an employee share ownership scheme was group-wide and it was committed to setting up these schemes at the earliest opportunity for each and every employee of the group, from the exec all the way through the local teams. It was important to the senior team that every employee could benefit from the success of the business and so Dalata sought to maximise access and inclusiveness when designing the SAYE schemes. For example, it ensured that it would be possible for SAYE purposes to aggregate continuous service across participating companies for employees who may move between hotel sites as part of the ongoing training and promotion programme. The SAYE grants options with the maximum discount of 20% in the UK permitted under respective tax legislation to provide the maximum tax-free benefit to participants at exercise.

Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants Ltd.

Devonshire changed the way service charge is paid to staff and the comapny undertook several presentations to ensure they communicated the changes clearly. Devonshire calculated how much staff currently receive, compared with what was estimated they would receive going forwards. This illustrated to team members how much better off they would be. As opposed to the previous 50%, 100% of service charge was now paid to team members. The implementation of the new scheme including training was completed within a period of two months. In addition, the staff at The Devonshire Arms in Pilsley will get a team trip out every time they do 100 covers on a Saturday or Sunday lunchtime. In the year 17/18 Devonshire paid out £400 as part of their ‘refer a friend’ scheme. This potentially saved the company £4,000 in agency fees. Devonshire’s overall staff turnover was at 76% in March 2016. One year later it was at 57.6%. Two years later it is at 50%.

Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill

Due to their employment status, Hyatt had not really implemented or communicated a benefit programme for their casual colleagues. This led to them feeling less valued by the company. From a guest perspective, however, they are no different. This had a direct impact, as many casuals did not stay with the hotel and there was a high turnover. Higher recruitment and training costs also resulted from this. After reviewing their communications and aligning their rewards & benefits programme for casuals, Hyatt were able to give casual workers the following benefits: competitive salary and service charge, complimentary meals on duty in a dedicated colleague restaurant, designed to meet all dietary needs; Colleague reward scheme – Any successful full time recommendation receives £500; any casual recommendation £50; Free WIFI; 50% discount in all UK Hotel Food & Beverage outlets; a wide range of social activities; Sport activities and clubs, Family & Friends Rate at any Hyatt hotel worldwide and regular departmental outings. The revised communication of Hyatt’s Casual rewards & benefits programme has led to a higher retention of casuals workers, more internal recommendations and a higher participation of casuals in social activities.

Las Iguanas

The Race to Rio is arguably Las Iguanas’ best known employee incentive. Each year for 10 years, it has sent a number of lucky Las Iguanas employees from three winning sites to Rio de Janeiro for an all-expenses paid trip of a lifetime. The purpose of this annual trip is to drive focus on guest experience, to reward employees and give them a taste of Latin American hospitality first hand. Winners are based on a Guest Experience Report which looks at Trip Advisor, Google Reviews, FeeditBack and complaints. As well as being a fair measure, it also ensures that all sites are engaged in the incentive all year round as there are three equal opportunities to win. In addition to the winners, the Support Chef and Support Manager of the previous year also win places on this prestigious trip.


Like many other employers in the hospitality industry, LEON is determined to attract the best team members and retain them for as long as possible so they can have a happy and prosperous career. Team retention is the holy grail of most people teams, simply because the cost of staff turnover is so high. The company reviewed their R&B offer with team retention in mind and changed the way they pay and incentivise hourly paid team members, General Managers and Head Office in particular as well as the ancillary benefits available to all. As a result, LEON has significantly improved team turnover and like for like sales are now in double digit growth, meaning that all those whose bonus is at least partly based on sales, managers and Head Office for example, are on course for much higher bonus payouts at year end. LEON has reduced their rolling 12 month team turnover by 9% since January and therefore reduced training costs by £12,000 year to date in comparison to the same period last time.

Malmaison and Hotel du Vin

At the heart of the MalHDV rewards programme was a desire to create a package that reflected the brand and delivered a personalised and celebrity experience. The result is what the company believes to be the most comprehensive offering in the industry, innovatively delivered and consistently communicated through a specifically created internal brand ‘It’s All About You’. To help employees access and manage the wide variety of benefits, rewards and incentives MalHDV invested in a dedicated online hub called the ‘The Box’, MalHDV’s internal social media channel that is a mix of Facebook and Twitter, while being a personal shopping hub to access discounts and explore new offers. Team members can dip in and out to find discounts and rewards at a time that suits them and also learn about upcoming initiatives, brand news and vacancies all in one place. 1,700 (60%) of employees have signed up to The Box, averaging 73 new sign-ups every month that’s over 40% of users engaged. 36% are classed as ‘active’ users and over £85,000 has been spent on discounts, rewards and benefits.

National Theatre Commercial Operations Department

NT’s biggest challenges in creating an effective rewards and benefits scheme for the staff are the size of their workforce, the many different roles they have, and a very limited budget. About 55% of staff are employed on casual engagements, with many from creative backgrounds, both factors can make retention really difficult, and so the Theatre needed to ensure that the benefits offered encouraged staff to stay. NT tackled these issues in several ways, they developed a dedicated, centrally managed ‘points’ scheme, with a monthly £40 prize for the person with the most colleague nominations. When the scheme began to stagnate this year, NT updated it, adding an additional prize for ‘point of the month’, and ensuring that staff are aware of every nomination they receive. They also have an extensive benefits package for the staff. During Mental Health Awareness week this year NT ran a well-being week. The results of these benefits have been overwhelmingly positive. The feedback they have received from staff indicates that they feel acknowledged and appreciated, the feedback from customers revealed a happy workforce who embody National Theatre Audience Experience Values.

Who will win the Rewards & Benefits category?

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

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