Author Archives: KRaynes

  1. Gambling Awareness – 24th May 2023

    Leave a Comment

    Gambling Awareness Event with Andrew Bannister

    Huge thanks to everyone who joined us on 24th May for an insightful and thought provoking session on Gambling Awareness with Andrew (Kit) Bannister, Safer Gambling Manager of Les Ambassadeurs Casino.

    Kit has kindly shared the following links which you may find useful:

    RSPH | Understanding and responding to gambling harms

  2. HR in Hospitality Treasurer & Chair’s Report July 2022

    Leave a Comment

    HR in Hospitality Treasurer & Chair’s Report July 2022

    Financial year April 2021 – March 2022

    12 July 2022

    Summary from Chair:

    Reflecting back, who would have thought that the pandemic impact would run into a second year! And what a year it was (again!). Overall, this last year has been a successful, but steady, mainly due to the uncertainty within the industry regarding the Covid 19 pandemic which still has an enormous impact on the Hospitality industry.

    Many of us started to make different choices in the last 12 months about our work and work life and took stock of what we valued, we have seen hybrid working as the new norm for many back office support functions, we have seen challenges in recruitment in our sector along with many others, but I do wonder where have all these people gone to, if everyone is short staffed?.  We started to realise that real life matters in terms of communication and how much can be lost in terms of relying on screens, so as we move away to less virtual and more face to face we have the chance to rebuild relationships again. We plan to get back to our networking format and become more social once again when it comes to holding events and I am really looking forward to that.

    Treasurer report:

    Unlike the profit and loss accounts you will see in your businesses, HR in Hospitality’s figures are reported via an income and expenditure account. The main difference is that a P&L will show invoice values irrespective of whether the payments have been received, whereas our accounts show only the payments that have been received. We are waiting for this year’s accounts to be fully audited:


    2021-2022 £
    Income 0*
    Expenditure Awards 15,624.59
    Website Costs 1434.00
    Admin & Accountant 4822.80
    Total expenditure 21,881.39

    *Largely due to no income subscriptions from membership fees (due to them being suspended) and minimal expenditure due to the pandemic we ended the financial year with reserve funds in the bank of £38,908.01. So accumulated funds including net assets remain healthy and will cover the increase in future event costs.

    The HR in Hospitality has benefited from continued support from a number of sponsors for future events and complimentary venues for events. This continues to prove challenging. Expenses for meetings has increased considerably..

    We have now resumed the collection of membership fees in January 2023 and the subscription of annual membership costs will remain unchanged with a range between: £100.00 for individual membership rising up to £550.00 for a corporate account of 10+ members. We continue to use the services of Mr John Rooney as retained Accountant and Auditor at £500.


    Our events in the last year have primarily been online with the exception of our fabulous Awards evenings which sold out and was one of the first face to face industry events, although streamlined it turned out to be an exceptional fun filled evening with lots of new members attending. We also managed to raise £3771 in donation funds for our charity partners; Hospitality Action, Springboard and Walk for Calm.

    Some of our events included; legal update April 2021 with DLA, ‘Ready for your Shift’ mental wellbeing webinar with Springboard in May, Panel discussion ‘Championing LBGTQ+ in the workplace’ with Umbrella Training in June, ‘Leading to a true Worklife Balance’ with Matt from Hospro in November, sadly we had to postpone our post-Christmas event in January, Winter Wellbeing in February, Roundtable breakfast event for senior leaders with DAM in March.  We have continued to share content with you all over the last year on a wide range of topics from a number of hospitality contacts that we hope you also found of interest as well as summary blogs following each event.

    Committee Members:

    All of our committee members volunteer their time and without them we would not have an association, so a huge thank you to all of them. There will be some slight changes to the committee going forward but it will largely remain unchanged. Those who have agreed to stand again for another year, are; Esther O’Halloran, Chair and Vice-Chair held by Steven Williams, Basil Blanco will continue as Treasurer and Kim Raynes continues as our administrator. Other Committee members include; Mandy Colley, Emma Jenkins, Jon Dawson, Georgia Rothan, Richard Callaghan, Matthew Rowledge, Ish Anghotra, Josh Light,  Anna Aufiero and Amy-Jane Cahalane. Sadly we are saying a fond farewell and thank you to Sally Prescott and Genio Pirri who are stepping down from the committee.

    This of course means we have a number of openings for potential new committee members who may wish to volunteer their time and join our committee. If you are interested, please let us know.

    I am equally sad and delighted to announce a change in our President after many, many years Jane Sunley is taking a well-deserved break and stepping down as President, but handing over the reins to an equally competent, well respected HR professional - Sean Wheeler. A huge debt of gratitude to Jane for all her wisdom and guidance over the years.

    None of our events, blogs, information and knowledge sharing would be possible without the hard work and dedication of our committee members along with our partners, who have been a great support and valued by us all.

    We look forward to continuing to support you all through events, resources, guidance and blogs to maintain a strong HR community in hospitality and grow our presence beyond London.

    Esther O’Halloran, Chair, HR in Hospitality

    Basil Blanco, Treasurer, HR in Hospitality

  3. DAM Good Roundtable Talk

    Leave a Comment

    DAM Good Roundtable Talk

    HR in Hospitality blog 21 April 2022- Esther O’Halloran (Chair)

    “Has Covid-19 changed employees' & employers' perceptions of employee benefits?”

    We heard thought provoking and insightful perspectives from some of our senior HR leaders during the DAM roundtable breakfast discussion, hosted at the wonderful Café Royal Hotel. We know we are still firefighting as a sector and trying to get back on track.

    Here is a summary of the key issues we talked about, how many of you are facing the same challenges and experiences following the pandemic?

    What are you seeing out in your businesses?
    Are people still looking for ‘cafeteria benefits’ to suit their life cycle, but this depends on where they are in their career rather than black and white benefits, they want a bit more financial security.
    • Everything has evolved for many businesses and we are seeing lots of aspirational benefits but times have changed and with increases in inflation staff are looking now to what they immediately need as their situation changes.
    • Some businesses are struggling to keep HQ staff out of the office now, they want to be back in person. Some have become more flexible on start times for housekeeping for example who can come in much later now.
    • One thing pre-pandemic was staff moaning about lunch and staff canteen facilities, but have now noticed a increase in Uber Eats delivery and staff going out to Wholefoods for healthy options.
    • Some hotels stopped/paused staff discount rates during the pandemic whilst others did the opposite and really promoted and encouraged staff to stay.
    • Not seeing any evidence of people opting out of auto enrolment increasing despite people feeling their wages are being squeezed.
    • Some hotels now offer unlimited counselling and access to EAP to support mental health and wellbeing.

    Do you know what is important to your staff?
    Most organisations do pulse surveys and ask their teams how they are feeling and understand what’s behind the message that comes back in response to the questions.
    • 80% are more responsive to organisations that offered hybrid working, but what does this look like for a chef or a waiter, what applies to our industry and what should we be doing?
    • For many what they want is immediate money in the bank, to be paid properly achieve a good worklife balance.
    • Issue we are primarily facing now is one of pay and rewards, the most popular App is West End employers where staff can access discounts in retailers.
    • Some questioned if they could be better at promoting all of the benefits to staff and improve awareness of what is on offer, (access to spa facilities promoting wellbeing).
    • One of the biggest reasons cited for people turning down roles is they cannot take their dogs to work!
    • One employer is even offering discounted tattoos for their staff as that is what they wanted! How cool is that for GenZ?

    DAM Research showed a slight disconnect where ee’s ranked flexible working hours and improved mental health as their top two compared to er’s who thought flexibility for working from home and L&D. But what they did discover is that GenZ want to give things back. So do you need to get that generation in the room as a focus group and give them a voice to what they want so that you can better understand the gap?

    DAM research also asked how important has communication to ee’s been post Covid? HR said it is a high priority for them but ee’s responded with only 28% saying it has been done very well. Does this tell us that still the Number One thing we’re often told as an organisation is that we are not good at this in general?
    • Some have introduced Yammer to feed information to staff but how have your staff responded to this. Despite people and culture messages going out most staff want personal communication from the leaders, they want to see a face/person. Who communicates and how to inform teams of what is happening in your organisation is critical, the more you give them the more invested they become and feel proprietorial. They want a sense of belonging to something bigger so will put the extra effort in, that human connection.
    • Some have started an Instagram for ee’s and this has seen a higher level of engagement tagging what they are doing and commenting. But they still do colleague get together’s with senior leaders, it is about getting the balance between in person and online communication.
    • Others use a range of comms that suits all generations; ‘Yapster’ you can control the comms that comes to you, switch on/off or time it using ‘intelligent muting’. This is good as it provides measures of any comms tool you use to engage with your staff.
    • Others have embraced video and using TikTok as a communication business tool to launch their benefits.

    DAM research asked, is the benefits package relevant and are ee’s fully utilising them? Most HR professionals feel the benefits are but less ee’s do, yet 75% are not utilising the er’ benefit package! Some often feel it is not particularly as relevant to them as it should be. So, how do you find out what is relevant to your ee’s?
    • West One hotels provide good benchmarking data that is shared and can give you insight into what motivates ee’s about benefits.
    • We all inform joiners on day one of all of the amazing benefits we offer, but it is good to remind them at various stages after as it is easy to feel overwhelmed on day with so much other information. Some factor in reminders at a month and again at the three month probationary point. Multi comms reminders: via email, text, posters etc help.
    • Some arrange specific events such as a benefits breakfast for the team on what is great, showcasing all the things you do as a company and getting people talking about important topics, such as; menopause, fertility, policy making, working from home all the stuff you offer to raise awareness.
    • Others have translated their benefits such as Life Assurance into multiple languages for staff to better explain what the benefits are and this helps to make sense to them. They also have benefit forms in various languages to ensure staff are fully aware of the detail and meaning of these benefits.

    DAM research asked if offering total reward statements would impact recruitment and retention? Responses suggested it would yet only 33% offer the total reward statements why is this? Is it lack of resource time to prepare these or has it been a low priority in the past?
    • Consideration could be given to potentially automate these statements but are your systems capable of collating this information and talking to each other? What is the scale of this?
    • Could you publish your benefits and what they are worth in terms of monetary £pound value, such as your free meals? For example something as simple as the value of staff meals. All you would need to do is take an average meal deal lunch cost of a sandwich, drink for the average office worker who pays £7 and add it up (7 x 5 days = £35 x 48 weeks = £1680)! Think of the value of all the other thing you offer these all add up!

    In the end, what is important for people in the current climate is that we as employers are looking after their overall wellbeing as much as we can and highlighting the benefits we can offer, reminding them about it always. We need to think about the benefits that impact on people’s lives. But what does this mean tomorrow for your people what benefits have you paused due to the pandemic, do you need to start them again?
    • We know that discretionary sick pay not just SSP is important, so do you offer above SSP?
    • We know that many people are concerned about finances and stretching their budgets, so do you offer financial wellbeing support through your EAP or have a clear policy on this?
    • We know that looking after ourselves physically involves eating well so is your staff food and canteen up to scratch, are you offering nutritious hot food daily or just a cold sandwich?
    • We know that wellbeing also involves keeping physically fit so do you allow your teams access to your spa, pool or fitness gyms and encourage this if you have them?

    So, in summary covid has changed everyone’s perception of their work, the workplace and their worklife balance. So, finding out what matters most to your employees, talking to them and communicating what you offer will be an important part of engagement and retention moving forward.

  4. Blog: Winter Wellness Webinar

    Leave a Comment

    Blog: Winter Wellness Webinar


    Winter Wellbeing with SuperWellness

    HR in Hospitality event Blog: Esther O’Halloran, Chair HR in Hospitality, 03 February 2022


    Zoom Event presented by Julie Weston, Head of Nutrition and Wellbeing at Superwellness who shared her expertise and advice on keeping healthy this season.


    Winter can be a more challenging time for our health, particularly as this pandemic continues to impact us all. Colder and darker days setting in can affect our immune system, our mood and motivation to follow healthy habits and exercise.


    Did you know… garlic is anti-viral so eating a bulb a day is good for you (and good for keeping the doctor away) but, so are apples which are really beneficial for our digestive health, wat is in your office fruit bowl?


    Do any of your team suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)? How do we raise feelings of being more positive in winter when there is less sunlight? Our bodies see a drop in serotonin in the winter months when the sun is lower, so we need to go outside more and fight the feeling of not wanting to go out. Maybe you notice fatigue or increased craving for junk food in your team, if you do, encourage them to get up and go outside. Serotonin = Melatonin, our feel good chemical, did you know the majority of this is found in our digestive track so if we are not getting enough we feel like hibernating.  It is harder to be motivated to exercise and we might make poor food choices, so try and motivate your team and encourage them to step outside or sit by a window more frequently.


    Do you plan to keep up the notices to regularly wash your hands? We know that washing our hands has dramatically reduced the risk of spread of bugs and viruses and it is something our mothers always used to remind nus about. Keep the good hand washing practice going in the workplace even as the impact of Covid diminishes and I don’t mean just in the kitchen and food service areas but in your back office and front of house areas too. Remember bugs love to sit on surfaces and cannot wait to be touched!


    Do you notice people saying they feel tired or they ache more in the winter? Low vitamin D is likely to be the cause and we may really want the sun on our skin but at this time of the year there is not enough sun. Signs of  low vitamin D could also be depression, tiredness, muscle pain, so could suggesting vitamin D supplements be a good idea for them? The NHS recommends nutrients to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy that help regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies and so advise considering taking a daily su0olement during the autumn and winter.


    Here are 12 steps to help you and your team to Winter Wellness

    1. A nutrition packed diet – how healthy is the staff food in your place of work if you provide meals? Is there a good mix of protein, good fats (olive oil, avocado), a balance of fruit and vegetables and a great mix of colour available, plus a small amount of carbs? If not you may need to speak with your chefs.
    2. Keep hydrating – it is easy to forget drinking cold water when it is cold outside! Do you encourage people to top up their water intake and sip all day? Did you know meso both or herbal teas are also good ways to hydrate during the work day? Maybe you could also do something great for your carbon footprint where you work and reduce plastic use at the same time by providing reusable branded water glasses or bottles for people to have on their desks?
    3. Try a gentle detox – this is just a simple way to detox the liver, think of your liver as a huge cleaning filter that needs regular housekeeping! Encourage people to reduce intake of sugar, caffeine, alcohol by maybe detoxifying for 3, 7 or 21 days, to take the pressure off your liver. You could maybe try to encourage a team challenge for 3 days in one week and make it fun to detoxify, drinks that also help are green tea, lemon water or even a turmeric latte. So a little bit of TLC (or housekeeping) for our organs is good.
    4. Key nutrients vitamin D – it is good to supplement through the winter months and also recommended by the NHS. There are a number of online providers where you could access tests, such as; com, Medichecks and Thriva where you  can check your levels but beware not to take too many supplements.
    5. Zinc – this is super helpful to your immune system and metabolism and with a varied diet you usually get enough. Great food sources where it is readily available include; chicken, red meat, shellfish, pumpkin seeds, nuts, beans, eggs, whole grains etc, so check what is on your menu.
    6. Vitamin C – is vital for our bodies healing process and acts as an antioxidant to boost immunity. So think of all the lovely vegetables and fruit you could fill your plate with, delicious colourful foods such as; tomatoes, sweet potato, broccoli, kale, peppers or citrus fruits such as oranges, kiwi, even try to get in some raw veg occasionally too.
    7. Omega 3 fats – help to activate immune cells and help modulate your immune system and reduce inflammation. Great sources to help reduce those swollen joints are oily fish such as; anchovies or flaxseeds, chai, soya and walnuts also contain omega 3 and are a great energy source. In essence it’s getting a balance to help keep your immune system working the way it should.
    8. Grandmothers remedies? – how often did you hear grandma swearing by her old fashioned and tried and tested remedies for keeping colds away were good for you? Well there is some truth that her remedies do work, taking echinacea and elderberry are rich in compounds and stimulate immune system and decrease the effects of colds. A lot of these you can now get in teas or supplements, try things such as thyme and oregano tea or maybe a black elderberry tincture it is delicious. Honey & Hot lemon - although honey varies in potency, select darker colours as these are higher in antioxidants, soothing for coughs but beware of not having too  much honey due to high fructose levels. Garlic – is most effective when raw, or make your own humous or add it to a pesto sauce or try putting it into a salad dressing, great roasted too!
    9. Support your digestive system – give your gut some healthy support, think of it as containing beneficial bacteria as over 70% of your immune system is in the lining of your gut. We see prebiotics on labels where you could add these to your food. Onions, garlic, leeks or Jerusalem artichokes are also great sources for keeping your gut healthy.
    10. Exercise even if it’s cold outside – we all know it is essential for immunity, mood, energy sleep, cognition and protects you from lifestyle disease (diabetes). But, yes it’s cold outside so we do not want to go out, however, try putting in movement when you can, step up away from your desk, have walking meetings, even if it is up and down a flight of stairs. Consider setting yourself and your team a micro daily challenge to move or get out at least once a day.
    11. Get enough sleep – to boost your immune response and reduce your chance of contracting colds and flu. How many of us will admit to that guilty pleasure of playing with our phone or iPad late at night, checking in to see what has happened on social media or emails before we go to sleep? Worse thing we can do for our sleep is to look at screens late into the night due to the blue light restraining the production of melatonin that impacts our circadian rhythm. Try changing the setting to night mode or an orange light on screen if you cannot detox your device.
    12. Give your mind some TLC – help yourself to master the stress hormone cortisol and unload your stress bucket regularly. Light therapy (light box) can improve moods considerably (try Lumie for light boxes) or simple breathing and mindful exercise can boost mental wellbeing.


    Try the 4-7-8 Breathing exercise -  It is from the ancient yoga practice based on mindful breathing exercises and is great for mental wellbeing and reducing stress. Simply; Close your lips and inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth making a whoosh sound for a count of eight. This completes one cycle, try it for four cycles in the beginning and you may feel lightheaded at first but this will pass, eventually you can build up to eight cycles. Could be a great start to a team meeting, so give it a go.


    View our full webinar below

  5. Blog: Leading Towards a True Work-Life Balance

    Leave a Comment

    Leading Towards a True Work-life balance

    HR in Hospitality blog 03 November 2021- Esther O’Halloran (Chair)

    “Leading towards a true work-life balance”

    We heard a thought provoking and insightful perspective from Matthew Cameron @Hospro today on happiness at work and if we need to shift our perspective on work-life balance for our teams.

    The questions we should be asking ourselves and our business….

    What actions can you take to improve work-life balance? (consider things such as ensuring we have mental health first aiders, we enable hybrid working and are more accommodating to flexible working requests)

    But what are we missing? Do we need to change our focus on preventing things happening to staff by creating happy work environments to ensure we’re paying equal attention to both the work and the life side of the work-life balance. We need to ensure we do not just take a blanket approach.

    Do we really know the most common causes of unhappiness at work? (Lack of appreciation, no development, poor work relations, no clear achievable goals, no authority to make decisions, untrained management etc).

    What do we know about common causes of unhappiness in life? (Relationship breakdowns, paying the mortgage, loneliness, having no purpose, lack of identity, not feeling valued, financial problems). Actually, the most common cause is actually work.

    It’s extremely difficult to have a healthy work-life balance without a healthy work life.

    So here is the challenge for us all…. How much autonomy do we give our people? Are we stuck in our ways and insist on doing it only this way, so we are not listening to maybe better ways of doing things? Does breaking the psychological contract with our teams creating a lack of trust where happiness and performance start to dip over time? Does this then affect other interventions we put in place eg mental health first aid, open door policies? We know, and the research certainly tells us, that younger employees are looking for purpose, mastery or autonomy and without it can feel really alone and without a sense of belonging.  We know our sector means long (or late) hours so this often means less time for life or friends - if we can’t change this, what can we control? Read: Dan Pink’s book “Drive, the surprising truth about what motivates us”  So as the mindsets of our employees change, perhaps so do ours.

    Matthew shared his own very powerful and personal story and how his journey began. Taking some key points from his story I think HR can learn is to consider the following:

    • Visualisation is an important tool – how can we help our teams visualise their own success as well as that of the organisation?
    • We know we have interventions in place to support people who have gone through trauma, but what about those who have no triggers or mental illness and appear balanced on the surface with nothing seeming wrong in their ‘work-life’ balance? Is it effective to be purely reactive rather than preventative?
    • How would we know if the actual work is making our people unhappy or ‘miserable’ or not?
    • How can we look for a counterbalance for staff to make the ‘life’ side equal or greater than the ‘work’ sense? What if we lightened the emotional weight of work for our teams?

    Now here is an interesting thought?? Why is there a dash between work-life balance does this create a disconnect? Would it be more appropriate to write work + life and have a plus between the 2 as each side is equally important.

    Consider the demographics of your teams and their average age and shift in mindset of what people want from work. According to a recent survey from Fourth the average age is in our sector is 30 and 20% of ‘front of house’ staff are under the age of 21. So more younger people or GenZ in our industry! We need to understand the motivational mindset of this generation and we need to understand what makes them tick! Are we failing in this?

    So, what is the solution? Ave we empowered front line managers and given them the tools to create environments where people can thrive? Yes we may have set up open door policies and a whole range of amazing practices but if staff don’t have any trust in their managers will they ever have faith in things being improved? Trust in leaders has a direct correlation with job satisfaction, productivity and ultimately turnover. PHE (Public Health England) recent report recognised mental wellbeing at work and made recommendations that all employers give mental health training for managers.

    So is it down to getting the work balance right for everyone so the life balance can also be achieved?

    To view the slide presentation, please click here

  6. Blog: Legal Update with DLA Piper April 2021

    Leave a Comment

    Blog: Legal Update with DLA Piper April 2021

    Employment Law legal update webinar
    Hosted by the wonderful legal gurus, Jonathan Exten-Wright and Vinita Arora from DLA Piper

    Summary of the key points shared to support the slide deck

    Single enforcement body: Still a bit sketchy by definition of what is on the horizon but it is likely to reflect the European experience where they have labour inspectors who enforce workers’ rights and ensure vulnerable workers are more protected. Here we have various enforcement bodies who look at all aspects of work such as; HMRC and the national minimum wage, HSE to ensure safe places to work etc.

    Tips: This was part of the Queens speech and is no longer a voluntary code, so it should be passed on in full to staff and not used by the business to support sales or prop up payroll.

    Right to request a more predictable contract: This came out of Taylor Review to tackle the perceived issues around zero hour contracts and is intended to benefit workers with irregular hours and to remove the ‘cannot work for anyone else’ clause. This is directed to protect those on a zero hour contract with unscrupulous employers, there has been a lot of debate around this. This is an additional right to request but has yet to be shown how this will work in reality.

    Return from maternity & redundancy risk: Dealing with a real concern here, statistical evidence suggests maternity returners face a disproportionate risk of being made redundant on or very shortly after their return. This has damaged the social policy that sits behind protecting women on maternity leave from being at risk of redundancy so they plan to extend this protection. Adding in 6 months extension from return to protect women returners and to offer a suitable ‘strong’ alternative move. The protection is triggered from the point an employee says they are pregnant to their employer (it also applies to adoption as comparable circumstances and possible shared parental leave).

    Neo natal leave proposal: This is a common issue and a real need, so the government is currently looking at similar patterns of eligibility. There will be cut off in terms of child’s age and there must also be a hospital admission to qualify. There will be two forms of notice; formal known in advance or immediate due to an emergency has happened, so notification may change due to the actual circumstances parents find themselves in. The definitions are still to be sought in terms of what neonatal actually means and the level of pay and how it sits with other family rights. Likely to be capped at 12 weeks’ pay, similar to other family friendly policies and it is also likely to need to be taken in blocks. Political resistance for this coming in is unlikely here.

    Weeks statutory leave for unpaid carers: Not yet clear what this might look like and with the demographic changes of an aging population there is a real need for this. We already see high numbers of carers looking after family members without pay who are being disadvantaged. Idea is who will have the right, what does a carer obligation look like and how does it interact with other forms of leave as this is quite different. There is a body of support for this in parliament and it was part of the manifesto so should be delivered,

    Making flexible working the default: Slightly ironic as we are all pretty much working flexibly due to the pandemic! This was also set out in the manifesto but no real clarity on what it means ‘if only a good reason’. Current requests for flexible working already have a long list of reasons for employers to say no, What sits behind this is the real challenge of indirect discrimination; classic example is working hours for women with family care arrangements who need to work flexibly and could give rise to sex discrimination for maternity leave workers. This can be dangerous territory when citing any reason to not allow flexible working, so beware, as this will become more difficult to say no due to business reasons.

    Let’s pause and consider recent cases as a reminder of what not to do

    Worker Status & Uber: single biggest case to hit the employment law landscape and has been going on for 6 years brought about by a handful of drivers. Uber lost at every stage even up to the Supreme Court. Outcome in the end was all about self-employed drivers being classed as ‘workers’. Fundamental to this outcome is public policy following the Taylor Review it was inevitable that Uber could never win the case so it is a reflection of government policy that ensures we do not have a two tier workforce. Why is this important and relevant for Hospitality?
    5 key factors that Uber drivers were workers;

    1. Uber has control over how much drivers are paid
    2. Uber requires drivers to accept a standard written agreement and drivers cannot amend or change any of the terms on this.
    3. Uber controls a drivers choice whether to accept or decline a ride so this means that Uber retains a lot of control.
    4. Uber also has significant control over how the driver picks up their passenger and the journey they take.
    5. Uber also restricts the control the driver has with the passenger over a single interaction and therefore prevents repeat (or loyal) business.

    In the end Supreme Court held drivers are indeed a worker so entitled to statutory  holiday pay and the minimum wage. This now sets precedent for future cases for worker status and a high degree of control exercised by the business will automatically favour the argument that they are workers in the gig economy. So this may result in increase in prices.
    Bear this in mind in hospitality….You need to accept that you will have to look behind the ‘label’ in any typical worker you have such as casuals and the level of control and supervision you have over them. Also Consultants who provide support on adhoc projects, consider what is the substantive nature of the relationship, analyse closely the relationship you have for these workers (also bear in mind IR35).

    Indirect Discrimination BA: This case was about disadvantage to women under their parental leave policy and the term of ‘particular disadvantage’. Is there a ‘particular disadvantage’ to a group if a ‘particular arrangement’ is put in place? Check your polices carefully as more women are more likely to take parental leave than men even though it is applied equally to men as well. It was not just a question of looking at the arrangement you have but to look deeper and see if the arrangement indirectly discriminates against women (see how many women to men actually take parental leave in your organisation). When you are making an arrangement consider if it impacts anyone unfairly, take a further step and see whether your plan might impact a group in a particular way.

    Awarding Tribunal costs Copthorne Hotels: A precedent of a high award being given to an employer has now been set.  However, getting the actual money awarded out of individuals even if you do win costs from the claimant can be a challenge. Copthorne Hotel case where a Senior VP lodged multiple claims during the disclosure process, (he had covertly recorded 100’s of private conversations with colleagues) and the judge described his actions as deceitful and duplicitous. He was given an opportunity to withdraw his claim but refused and lost eventually being charged with paying costs of £432,000. This was an exceptional case that made headlines for one of the largest awards, so just in case you come across someone who is being really difficult you can now refer to a meaningful claim that could be made by you and may actually deter the employee so they end up withdrawing.

    Planning for a return
    What is occupying us at the moment as we feel our way forward to reopening and bringing people back off furlough, it seems everyone has just moved straight to action, so what does the law look like now?

    • Advice is still to work from home where possible (back office staff)
    • Ensure a covid safe work place has been created and that ongoing risk assessments are carried out.
    • Testing in the workplace is more likely to evolve and be common practice so consider how this will be administered and ensure data protection and safeguarding information is met.
    • Be mindful of mental health issues, some will still be genuinely concerned about returning to work (some may not have had the vaccination). A little bit of compassion can go a long way, so deal with people who are fearful on an individual basis being mindful of your values.
    • Revisit some of your policies and go back to basics.
    • Trade union activity has increased in hospitality so be mindful you do not behave in a way that encourages activism.
    • Travelling to work and business travel it is worth remembering what is classed as a base of work so people do not claim for expenses for travel from home.
    • Agree now on accrued holiday, how far do you allow them to carry this forward.

    Consult, Collaborate and Communicate  

    Esther O’Halloran
    Chair of HR in Hospitality

  7. Blog & Recording: Reflect, Reopen, Rise with

    Leave a Comment

    Post Event Blog: Reflect, Reopen, Rise with

    Event hosted by Esther O’Halloran, Chair HR in Hospitality, 25th March 2021

    Reflect, Reopen, Rise with

    Watch the full webinar recording HERE

    One year on and we all recognise the impact that Covid has had on the hospitality sector with huge disruption and losses, however with every crisis comes an opportunity to change. As hospitality gears up for opening we need to consider how we will support our people to better manage their life around their work but also their work around the lives. When it comes to people, processes and cultures, what matters most? We do need to reflect on the lessons learnt from last year in order to be ready to reopen and rise again.

    It was so insightful to hear from truly inspiring hospitality leaders as they reflected on the lessons of 2020 and how these insights are helping them build brilliantly for reopening, recovery and rise.

    Michael Bonsor, Managing Director, Rosewood London

    Their hotel reopened in September and remained open through the third lockdown and are now taking the opportunity to revaluate the business.

    Stop, reflect and revaluate the whole business: an upside to this lockdown situation was that it allowed those working to focus on projects that, in an operational hotel, would not have been possible. All department leaders have revaluated their areas for example, HR have bought training programmes online, Sales and Events have used the opportunity to clean up databases and the Finance team have renegotiated all contracts. The quiet time has been used to allow the hotel to be in the best shape to accept the business back. The business has changed and is being adapted in accordance with government guidelines, from alfresco dining to the delivery service and online store.

    Engagement with furloughed staff: Increased engagement activities since January, the last few months have been about overcommunicating. A lot of social activities were arranged to reengage and get spirits up. Many hours of online training has taken place which meant the leadership team have completed nearly 80% of leadership training. Also partnered with The Skills Network to enrol employees on an in-depth mental health awareness training.

    Acknowledge that everyone is feeling different: Acknowledge how associates are feeling, those working and those on furlough. Identify the individual’s feelings and work with them to get back on track.

    The new normal: Focus for the future will be to get back the colleagues back that sadly departed along the way. Expecting more flexibility and agility by combining departments together, Food and Beverage team are not attached to individual departments any longer.  A number of associates will have to go and work in other areas that we know will be busy. Realised that people can work from home! Look into hybrid working arrangements to retain the flexibility.

    Workforce planning: The Roadmap shows that come September, the industry will be in a position to recruit again and all will be looking for talent- there may be issues in finding enough talent as so many have gone home and left the country. Need to do a lot of work to rebuild the reputation of the industry.

    Communication: Sent an anonymous survey to try and understand what everyone else is feeling with a 90% response rate, vast majority of employees really appreciated the communication. More recommendations received around sharing even more of what is happening at the hotel, what are the operational hours going to look like. Where there is not answer that’s ok, employees should be informed we don’t have the answer. Being transparent, open and honest and not creating any cloudiness.

    Creation of new job roles: Lots of emphasis now on security and health & safety and looking to strengthen moving forward along with the flexibility of teams.

    Role of digital platforms: Hospitality has always lagged behind from other industries. Rosewood London’s workforce is quite young and appreciate the shift to going online. We want to keep it that way and move training videos to online as well. Hoping there is less paper on the desk, less handouts, which will help with sustainability. Need to look at the moments when people can be brought back together again but probably not for training this year.

    Top Tip: No cannot be an answer, stop and think way outside the box and see how to make things work.


    Ghazala David, Area Director of Human Resources, Dorsett Hospitality

    Their properties were housing NHS staff and frontline workers last year which meant their business and staff had to adapt.

    Put together a process on how to bring people back: Currently looking at putting a road map together for what is needed. Things that are being planned is to ensure everyone is fully trained and nurtured back into the job. Envisage some difficulty with this initially as some employees have not worked for more than a year. Need to also focus on the basics and take baby steps. This part needs to be really robust but cannot put everyone in the same box, everyone is different.

    Enable a multiskilled team: The team also need to be flexible and adaptable and the HOD’s need to be on board too. Give them the opportunity to learn different tasks and support each other at the same time.

    WFH: Enable the flexibility where possible to allow people to work from home and support this. But don’t isolate them, ensure they remain involved.

    Mental health focus: Encourage the organisation to have an EAP and give employees the opportunity to talk to someone. An open door policy is key.

    Don’t forget about development: Focus on the employees career path as have been out of the business for some time. Coach them, support them and give them time to get back into routines.

    Business levels for remainder of the year: Europe going into red zone does not help the situation at all. Business will not come back to previous levels for another two years or so. Employees will have to adapt in line with how the clientele is adapting. Zoom is becoming such a big thing, city business is suffering because they are mainly corporate and this is challenging. Vaccinations may change things but only time will tell.

    Top Tip: have a can do attitude, engage and embrace the team


    Josh Light, Director of People & Culture, Ennismore Clubs

    Preparing for all of the changes that need to be communicated to ensure people are reconnected with their work.

    Communicate, communicate, communicate: Use tech to reach out to people. Overcommunicating is better than information not coming out. Do it in a way that is compassionate and human. People are feeling differently and are going through different things. Remember that people have lost loved ones, Covid is still around. Exciting to open but people have been through tough things financially. Empathetic leadership has never been so important.

    Wellbeing focus: Give people tools to manage stress. A great tool is OpenBlend which does a quick pulse check to measure stress, confidence and happiness at work. Employee Assistance Programmes are also available.

    Stamina levels have changed: Fitness levels have changed with lots of people being sedentary in the past year.  Give people time to ease themselves back into work. Remember that everyone is different.

    Mental and emotional preparation: Training is allowed whilst on furlough so push material through to get people prepared. Prepare them emotionally and mentally through this training. Get them to mentally prepare themselves before talking about policies and procedures.

    Future of talent:  During the pandemic, good people from hospitality have found other industries and love working in those industries. It’s down to business leaders to help people fall back in love with the industry. Many employees have struggled financially in the past year. Employees are keen to come back but need to be strict that they do not burnout. There are lots of great people out there but let us not forget about the big B word. Businesses need to club together, even though there is a lot of competitiveness especially in the 5-star world. The government has done a lot of great things around apprenticeships. It is up to every business to bang the drum about the hospitality industry.

    Digital HR platforms for reopening: Include as many systems as possible to get away from admin to allow time to focus on people. HRIS systems are not that expensive anymore if you choose the right platforms. Consider integrating ‘Happiness Officers’ in the people team whose sole responsibility is to ensure that people are happy and engaged, their mental health is good- would rather invest in a role like that then have someone focus on pushing paper. Blended learning is good, digital is great, but it’s about having a balance. You can do workbooks now in Flow and everything remains stored there. Find systems that enable managers to have conversations with employees.

    Top Tip: Compassionate leadership goes a really long way.






  8. From Employee Experience to Human Experience: Creating a great Workplace Culture

    Leave a Comment

    From Employee Experience to Human Experience: Creating a great Workplace Culture

    Creating a great Workplace Culture

    “FIVE STAR Cultures”
    HR in Hospitality event Blog: Esther O’Halloran, Chair HR in Hospitality and Matthew Rowledge, Committee Member: 25 February 2021

    Zoom Event Hosted by Adam Rowledge, Managing Director of Rowledge Associates

    Adam is a keynote speaker and organisational culture expert with 20 years proven track record in business. Previously a multi award-winning 5* hotelier, he now shares his 8 powerful lessons on how to build world class teams and create competitive advantage through people

    ‘We now have the unique opportunity to treat the crises of 2020 as pivotal moments to make positive changes and invest in the lives of our employees. Even small improvements can strengthen work cultures and help us be more resilient and adaptable in the future’..

    ADAM – we all have employees who are Ambitious and Determined when you look after them but turn into an Arsey Megalomaniacs when you don't, so who are these in your organisation?

    In a world where so many organisations in our industry focus on enhancing the guest experience, it is time to apply the same degree of investment in our people. We have transitioned away from the traditional hard key to access hotel bedrooms through key cards and into smart watch check-ins. Howe can we do this for our people?

    If we get the employee experience right then the guest experience will follow. So how do we get the employee experience right? As with our guests we need to provide our employees with a FIVE STAR experience:


    When we are looking for the people we want in our organisation we need to think of VRIN to drive our competitive advantage.

    Valuable – we need to offer something the candidate deems valuable

    Rare – what do we have to that no one else does?

    Inimitable – we need to think about what we offer that others cannot copy

    Non substitutable – or competitors don’t offer anything of equal value

    Think marketing, not recruitment. Understand the market, develop your brand, tailor your message to different segments. Focus on what we are good at and keep doing it, work harder, be more ‘Daft Punk’ and think about what we specifically need when we go to market to attract people to our company.


    How do we get the best from our business. We are often so preoccupied with our outputs and meeting targets like EBITDA, RevPAR etc that we forget about the inputs that drive these numbers, our people. If you want the right outputs you need to make sure that you are getting the right inputs in your business. It is critically when you are fighting for your budgets that everything is people centric. Without investing in your people you won get the outputs you desire by investing in your people you can ensure you learn faster and adapt quicker than the competition. Where your people can work smarter and quicker, you make your business more sustainable.


    Your Values matter. ‘Communication, Respect, Integrity, Excellence’ are often common positive values, these were the stated values of Enron and look at what happened to them! We all need values that really reflect our business, ones we can live by on a day to day basis especially with the challenges ahead. 28% of executives don’t understand their organisation’s culture; 22% of employees don’t know 60% of their company’s values and only 50% of leaders believe their employees know a minimum of 80% of the values. It is important when thinking of how you can maximise your values, what do you want your people believe and live by and will your leaders embed these values and drive them.


    When we think of engagement, it isn’t always about the benefits. 81% of employees value oneness and communication as the greatest benefit their employer can offer. However, only 15% of employees think their employer communicates well. When we communicate we don’t always have to talk, listening is integral to communication. “If you are not listening to your employees they’ll start talking to someone else” and you don’t want this to happen!

    You need to think about how your people want to be communicated with. You cannot adopt a one size fits all approach. Each person’s employee experience can only be engaged where you communicate through their preferred channels.

    When you communicate you can achieve OSINTOT (‘Oh shit I never thought of that’). Even the best leaders don’t always have the best ideas. Many of your best ideas will come from your people, this is the key to success!



    Busyness kills business!! If you are too busy you are going to miss out on opportunities. So often we are on auto-pilot and we never take the opportunity to centre ourselves. We need to pause to make sure we don’t burnout the 40% percent of people who are highly engaged but have high demands. When our doors reopen we need to make sure we don’t put people in overdrive. We need a balance between managing demands and support. Where this is imbalanced your people will burnout.


    C+W=T – Competence + Warmth = Trust.

    Be the Lisa Simpson in your business. Hospitality is often guilty of micro-management. If you cannot trust other, others cannot trust you. Where you work 40 hours a week in a 24hour business you are only working 21% of your business’ operational hours. Your team is capable of running the business. They know your product and how to delight your guests. Empowering your staff will engage them in driving your profits by going above and beyond.


    OPPORTUNITYISNOWHEREis opportunity nowhere or now here

    We need to make sure we maintain a positive attitude. There are many hard months to come. Looking for opportunities instead of challenges can engage your people to drive for success. Negativity doesn’t solve anything. Harry Truman said “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities, an optimist is someone who makes opportunities of his difficulties.”


    Sir Alex Ferguson said the two most important words in leadership are ‘Well Done!’ People are 5 times more likely to stay if they are told well done. No one ever left a job because they were told well done too much!! It costs nothing, but keep it keep it varied. Just think what it will be like on April 12th or May 17th if you gave them that wonderful round of applause when they came in, how special would that make them feel?

    Final words:

    Avoid slipping back into old habits when we get back to work and continue supporting your team, be part of the 10% looking after those ADAMs in your business. Biggest win would be starting with the building blocks of your values make sure you have these right, if you have this nailed then it’s down to communication and trust which are next.

    Email Adam for slides:

    HR in Hospitality Members can access the recording of this webinar by visiting the Resources page on our website.



  9. Blog: Happiness Anyone? “Is employee happiness crucial to your success in 2021?”

    Leave a Comment

    Blog: Happiness Anyone? “Is employee happiness crucial to your success in 2021?”

    HR in Hospitality event Blog: Esther O’Halloran, Chair HR in Hospitality, 14 January 2021


    Zoom Event Hosted by Klaudia Mitura, work psychologist, learning & development specialist & co-host of a podcast called &Happiness with Kitty Newman, Director of Trapeze Media  

    A study by University of Warwick found that happier employees are 12% more productive while unhappy employees are 10% less productive. In the current challenging times, asking people professionals to consider happiness and job fulfilment in the workplace might feel like a huge stretch. Contrary to our intuition, those who are happy at work are exactly the employees that during these unprecedented times are able to reinvigorate and grow our business.

    What is happiness at work? – many times it has been misjudged as a ‘flat’ concept but it can be a predictor and real measure of the growth and wealth of the organisation. A great model developed by Daniel Pink identified 3 key elements of motivation:

    • Autonomy – considers how self-directed people are in your workplace. How much empowerment do they have to make decisions and take on responsibilities and are empowered by line managers as this is key.
    • Mastery – another component of happiness is how much do people feel they are able to apply their strengths in the workplace and develop their skills. This can be linked to job design so are you matching the right strengths to the role.
    • Purpose – focuses on how much someone’s personal purpose relates to the organisation and why it (or indeed they) exist.

    Additional studies have since highlighted 2 other factors that influence happiness at work……

    • Fairness – considers how respected people feel they are in the workplace, how much they consider your policies and processes are fair even down to people feeling they are fairly paid.
    • Belonging – how much do you feel you belong? That that sense of not being isolated even given the current lockdown situation is key, so what tools and opportunities can you create to enable that sense of belonging.

    It is reflecting on these motivators or drivers of happiness that can you ensure people have that strong sense of wellbeing and maintain connections. Think about how you can ensure that the smallest tasks people are doing are connected to the bigger purpose of the organisation and what is currently important to them and to you.

    A note on positive psychology

    John Lennon was once asked by a teacher “What do you want to be when you grow up?” His answer was “I want to be happy”, his teacher thought he had misunderstood the question, but he had not he simply wanted to be happy.  Think about your desires and what is driving you to succeed, when will you be happy, is it when you get that next pay rise? Positive psychology research proves when we are happy we are able to be more successful,  happiness is the fuel we need behind career success and therefore behind our organisational success.

    Miserable People do Miserable Work -  happiness is important to business results and there have been many studies that provide empirical evidence to demonstrate the direct impact. These figures are from Friday Pulse happiness index and show that happiness is an important metric…..

    • Retention – people are 2 x more likely to leave
    • Productivity – people are 28% less productive
    • Value – your share price can be 3% lower due to your people not being happy
    • Health – you are likely to see 55% higher stress levels
    • Innovation – people are 3 x less creative and less likely to innovate due to stress

    We know that being happy leads to improvements in…

    Productivity, relationships, resilience, sharing good fortune and promotion. Did you know that you are 40% more likely to be promoted  if you are happy and this has direct links to the different aspects of relationship building.  How is this possible you may ask! Is it a magic formula? It is linked with the idea our brain works and performs better when we are happy it is all about ‘dopamine’ or the feel good hormones released when we are happy and our cognitive ability and awareness is being boosted by happiness.

    Help Employees to find their Purpose and sense of Belonging….

    • Unilever case study example looked at boosting purpose with their approach: People with purpose perform better and unlock their full potential when they live and work with purpose. Help your employees to define a personal purpose so they can see meaning in their work (and home life) so they feel they are contributing to something and making a difference, enabling them to perform at their best. Building an ‘owner’s mindset’ and encouraging an entrepreneurial approach can help create a strong sense of ownership to your organisation’s success and this builds empowerment and collaboration within teams.
    • Coop example used coaching tools through a development programme to create happy teams and coach them with a wide angled lens to go on a journey with all their team leaders and managers. They found using the right coaching tools to support leaders helped them to build a strong sense of belonging not only to the team but also to the Coop itself, by taking them through a coaching approach it really helped revitalise their brand.

    Create happy communications

    Ensure everything starts with the idea of starting conversations about happiness – listen to what is going on in your teams, what are they saying, talking about or worrying about. In the digital world it makes it very ‘possible’ but not always easy to communicate frequently. We understand in hospitality we are very social and love to connect with our teams and guests, but we have had to adapt how we communicate at the moment. How you choose to communicate can affect your happiness and that of your teams. Are the tools your using making a positive impact and difference (reflect and think about this). When you are about to send out some comms it may sometimes feel a bit like being the first person at the disco…. All alone…. But you are not dancing on your own when you put something out there people will see it, read it or listen to it.

    There is a PATH to happy communications

    P = Play – be playful on line, run little games, keep upbeat, enthusiastic, gameification, whatever format you are using you can ask questions play games and tap into positivity

    A = Acceptance, does using social media come naturally to you, maybe pause for a moment and reconnect with your purpose in your message before you send it as this gives you a sense of control.

    T = Time – when creating any social comms give yourself the power back and do not let yourself be led by those ‘pings’ popping up and reminding you of messages coming in to distract you, manage and control your time. Decide on the task to be completed (or written) and set a timer for 25 minutes to allow yourself to focus and  create the comms messages as this will make it feel more purposeful.

    H = Habit – how to form happy habits “Our happiness is a formation of habits”  we are all learning how to do things more in a virtual online world, often things that we have done physically or face to face before. Now is the time to create new habits and maybe achieve a good blend of the 2.

    Some great things to take away and links for you explore….

    1. Watch TEDx Talk by Psychologist Shawn Achor “The Happy Secret to Better Work” it is hysterical and fun to listen to and challenges our belief that  we work hard in order to be happy he talks about positive psychology and unicorns! It is the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality and this affects your happiness.
    2. Download “The Happy Manifesto” by Henry Stewart, the founder of Happy, it’s free and is the definitive guide for anyone who wants to transform productivity, loyalty and innovation within their organisations.
    3. Score your happiness index using “Friday Pulse” by Nic Marks & Friday Pulse
    4. Log in to the People Skills CIPD Hub ‘Team Building’ and look for ‘Top 10 Tips for Motivating your Team’ and setting objectives to give them purpose
    5. Listen to podcasts and more episodes from Klaudia and Kitty from &Happiness to find out more about them

    What could you do to boost happiness by implementing at least one thing today?