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Best places to work 2017 Foxhill Manor


CLAYTON HOTEL MANCHESTER AIRPORT In a nutshell This 365-bedroom

four-star hotel is part of the Dalata Hotel Group, Ireland’s largest hotel operator Location Outwood Lane, near Manchester Airport Employees 116 Average staff turnover 18% Annual sales turnover £14m

form’ has also been introduced to enable man- agers to request regular time off each week to take up an activity or enjoy family time. To push staff development, managers hold reviews with team members every few months to find out how they are getting on and what support they may need to progress. Needless to say, some 90.58% of employees surveyed reckon they work in a great environment. The company has pledged to continue to review and refine this process over the next 12 months.


FARNCOMBE ESTATE In a nutshell A family-owned estate that includes three award-winning

boutique hotels – Dormy House, Foxhills and the Fish hotel Location The Cotswolds Employees 275 Average staff turnover 40% Annual sales turnover £11m

While average staff turnover of 40% isn’t the lowest in the hospitality industry, it’s worth noting that in 2014, Farncombe was seeing closer to 62%. And the figure is continuing to reduce, with January this year showing its lowest moving annual total turnover of 39%. This is a big achievement bearing in mind

the business has seen a significant transition, particularly in the past four years, moving from a conference centre and head office on a private estate to the launch of three award- winning hotels. To ensure Farncombe’s fam- ily culture wasn’t unsettled, HR director Holly Glover included staff in helping to define the company’s values and behaviours. Farncombe even closed all three hotels for a day in January to throw a party for all staff – with the morn- ing off the next day to allow for recovery time. To drive loyalty, there has been an increase in internal succession across the portfolio, with 48 internal promotions to the year-end in 2016, representing 20% of the head count. This compares with 11 in 2015 and none in 2014. To underline how much it values staff, Farncombe replaced 71 casual contracts for permanent ones in 2016. More than 28% of the team at year-end last year had more secure

48 | The Caterer | 28 April 2017

employment, with only 14 seasonal employ- ees remaining on casual contracts by choice. “The teams in each of the businesses are now integrated and working brilliantly together, rather than in isolation,” says Glover. “Ultimately there has been a real shift in cul- ture on the estate.”


THE HEADLAND HOTEL & SPA In a nutshell A 96-bedroom four-star hotel with an award-winning spa,

five-star cottages and surf school Location Newquay, Cornwall Employees 157 Average staff turnover Not measured Annual sales turnover £8.39m

As a hotel that is consistently listed in Best Places to Work, there’s no doubt the Head- land has a successful staff engagement strat- egy driven partly by the opportunities it offers. In the recent survey, some 80% of staff said they valued having access to personal development. The introduction of its Head- land Talent Development Plan is a case in point. This schools employees in the knowl- edge, skills and confidence they need to become a manager.

Another facet of the hotel’s success is that it listens to staff. Last year, for instance, feed- back on the appraisal system revealed that the team considered it to be a “tick-box exercise” and “too generic”. In response, the hotel has devised staff development workbooks that provide the tools and information to enable meaningful conversations that identify how ambitious staff can reach purposeful goals. Although it is in the early stages of imple- mentation, reception has been positive. One employee comments: “The Headland goes above and beyond to offer training opportu- nities and room for progression. There are always opportunities to provide feedback, which I know will be taken on board.” Those at the top admit they are learning

new things about the team, which is enabling them to step up their support of individuals in achieving their aspirations and building hos- pitality careers.

An airport hotel has transient guests, but it doesn’t need to have transient staff. This is a challenge that Clayton Hotel Manchester Air- port has risen to, ensuring it has a well-moti- vated, cohesive team. This is borne out by the fact some 83.5% of staff who participated in Purple Cubed’s survey said it was a good envi- ronment to work in and 87.5% said they felt they were part of a team that respects each other. Driving this engagement is the hotel’s WOW scheme. Staff earn points for four qualities: attendance, grooming, positivity and time-keeping. The incentive to perform well is boosted by the fact they also accrue points that are shared with the team. And those with the most points are nominated for employee of the month.

Staff have been given a voice, too. The Excel- lence Committee, comprised of one or two team members from each department, meets regularly to share ideas on how to improve employee areas at the hotel, organise events, services and address any concerns. One member of staff sums it all up: “It’s a friendly and professional place to work where your efforts are appreciated.”


BARTLETT MITCHELL In a nutshell An independent contract caterer set up by three

entrepreneurs with strong sustainable ethics Locations Caters at 90 sites throughout London and the South East Employees 737 Average staff turnover 12% Annual sales turnover £35m

Bartlett Mitchell is a growing company boast- ing a 98% client retention rate, running con- tracts with businesses across a broad range of sectors including finance, legal and media. One simple initiative that has boosted staff

engagement is the introduction of the “we’re building a better company” noticeboard across all 90 sites. The HR department posts monthly updates on the boards such as: team meeting details and minutes; employee benefits and scheme details; the Employee Assistance Pro- gramme; sustainable product news; training events; company events; a monthly newsletter; HMRC details and so on to assist team mem- bers; key contacts; and any other snippets. Running in tandem with this are the weekly team talks. These focus on messages from the noticeboard as well as site and employee news. Another element is that every team member is asked to share, over a team breakfast, one thing that has made the week go well and one thing that will make next week even better.

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