Recipes for sharing

first_imgPromotingbest training practice across five restaurant brands is no mean feat. LucieCarrington reports on the approach taken by Whitbread’s learning anddevelopment director Alison ClarkeMakingsure that good ideas and methods are not confined to one section of thebusiness is a major preoccupation for most organisations. The restaurantdivision of Whitbread decided to tackle this head on and last year set to workon a massive learning and development strategy to share best practice acrosstheir five different brands.“Weare bringing together many talented people across the brands and creatingsomething unique within the industry,” says Alison Clarke, divisional directorof learning and development.It’sunique because branding is what the business is about. Whitbread owns five mainbrands: Beefeater, Brewers Fare, TGI Friday’s, Costa Café and Pelican, whichconsists of Café Rouge and Bella Pasta. ABeefeater experience is designed to be different from a Café Rouge experience –both for customers and employees. But Clarke and her learning and developmentteam are pulling together common recruitment, induction and management trainingprogrammes, which they believe, can meet individual brand as well as corporateneeds. Theirstrategy has come out of a major company reorganisation. Over the past year,Whitbread has sold its interests in brewing and pubs, and introduced a matrixmanagement structure. Within the restaurant division, brands are no longerentirely independent and many of the senior managers, including Clarke, nowhave two roles – a brand one and a central one. Clarke’s“other job” is as HR director for the largest brand – Brewers Fare. She movedthere at the time of the reorganisation last September, having spent 14 monthsas HR director of the Pelican brand. It was her decision to add training to herbrief.“Ihad a feeling that learning and development was going to be the most strategicpart of HR,” Clarke says. There are, she insists, only occasional conflicts ofinterest between her two roles.CentralteamAsL&D chief, Clarke has pulled together a central team to spearheadcross-brand solutions. Jo-Anne Miller is currently learning and developmentmanager, operations, within the division, but was group training manager forthe Pelican brand. LynnThompson-Lee joined Whitbread 11 years ago. At the time of the restructure shewas training manager for the Beefeater brand, but she now works as a projectmanager on the division’s First 90 Days programme. Her fellow project manageris Grace Coleman, who recently joined Whitbread from Marks & Spencer.Theyare not working in isolation. A team of regional L&D specialists keeps themin touch with local needs, and each brand has a link person on the centralL&D team. Thereare two central planks to the shared development strategy – the First 90 Daysinduction framework and a centralised programme of legislative training. Thislatter programme covers issues such as health and safety, food hygiene andlicensing laws. There were clear economies to be gained from bringing thisunder one umbrella. Every brand has to comply with the same laws. So, the wholelegislative programme has been outsourced to a single provider. TheFirst 90 Days programme is run in house. It is aimed at frontline staff, whomWhitbread calls team members, and unit managers. With up to four in 10 recruitsto the industry leaving within the first three months, getting people throughthat first 90 days is critical. “Wehad tried it before,” points out Miller. “But because of the way the companywas structured and brands acquired, it didn’t work.”InductionprojectFirst90 Days is the working title for an induction project that is still evolving.Most of the work that has been done so far has been aimed at unit managers. Anew leaders’ welcome programme was introduced eight months ago for anyone newto Whitbread management. It is now running across the brands.Itstarts with a two-day programme designed for anyone from any brand. On thefirst day, participants are introduced to Whitbread Restaurants as an employer.New leaders learn about different brands, the jobs they will be doing asmanagers, the people they are responsible for and accountable to. “It’sa very powerful programme because it gives new managers an opportunity to findout what the business expects from them and that job,” Miller says.Thesecond day is devoted to helping managers draw up their personal learningplans. These are based on their own assessment of their strengths anddevelopment needs. They take the initial plan back to their line managers andbetween them agree a final plan and learning processes. These could includecourses, coaching or perhaps secondments.Behindthe welcome exercise the L&D team have put together a managementdevelopment programme of six modules. It’s based on Whitbread’s managementcompetencies, which are grouped into five areas including leadership, workingwith people, and drive for results. New leaders can pick and choose whicheverbits they need. Theaim of First 90 Days is to be as flexible as possible, while recognising thecore skills the division and brands need their managers to have. “At the momentthese are being delivered in a course format. But we are looking at othermedia,” Miller says. However,First 90 Days is not introducing lots of new training tools and techniques.Instead the project team is making a point of using the good things that arealready going on within brands. “It’sabout pulling together existing best practice. Different brands have things inplace that work for them,” says project manager Grace Coleman.Clarketakes up the baton. “In the old way of doing things there was the mostfantastic best practice within brands. For example TGI Friday’s was up fortraining awards. But we were missing out on sharing that,” she says.SteeringgroupThedesire to share good practice stretches beyond the division. Clarke is part ofa corporate learning steering group. Once a month senior learning anddevelopment managers from across the plc meet to exchange news and information.Now that Whitbread has sold its pubs and inns it has become a much smaller, butarguably more focused group, Clarke says.Shecites several reasons why sharing good practice is such a great idea. To startwith there are some economies of scale to be gained – as in the legislativeprogramme. “In the old world there was a huge amount of duplication,” Clarkesays.Butthere are more strategic motives behind the change too. The whole issue ofretention is high on the agenda. The division employs 35,000 people andturnover is high – as in any restaurant business in the UK. But Whitbread wantsto be sure it can hold on to the best. SoFirst 90 Days is about positioning the firm as the employer of choice withinits market. “We know that Generation X is going to decide to join us or notbased on whether we have the capacity to learn and grow,” Clarke says.CompetitiveedgeIt’salso about Whitbread restaurants gaining the competitive edge in its broadestsense. Clarke talks a great deal about renewal and the importance of staff –especially managers – being able to renew their skills. “We have a verycompetitive market, which is at best flat,” Clarke says. “We have to be thebest and be able to create new brands for the market. And if people can’t learnand keep recreating themselves then they won’t be competitive.”However,reaching the nirvana of renewal requires significant cultural change. With1,500 units to reach, managers are Whitbread’s key players here. Recognisingthis, Whitbread has set up what it calls its Enabling Leadership programme –open to all managers who have got beyond First 90 Days.Itseems to be more of a philosophy than a training and development programme. “Weare moving from saying, ‘I’m a manager, let me show you how clever I am’ to‘I’m a leader, let me show you how clever you are’,” Clarke says. Muchof this is delivered on the job through coaching and secondments. But theL&D team is also introducing action learning sets. And a link with theInternational Management Centres Association is designed to provideparticipants in Enabling Leadership some form of accreditation towards acertificate or diploma in management studies, or even an MBA.“Weare not just thinking about the people who will lead today, but also ourleaders of tomorrow,” Clarke says.BranddevelopmentThroughall this, Clarke and her team insist that the brands and their needs remainparamount. This means consulting with brands at every turn, says LynnThompson-Lee, and talking their language – whether its colleghi in Costa Coffeeor the “can do” approach of TGI Friday’s.Thecommonality is the approach, Clarke says. She cites the example of branddevelopment. “So many businesses see refurbishment as a lick of paint and a newsign. We see it as new style, new service quality and new behaviours,” shesays. Withthis in mind, she has introduced a brand development role to the L&D team.Someone with L&D expertise can sweep in, identify potential trainers withinthe brand and eventually hand the learning side of rebranding over to them.Sowho do people work for when they join a Whitbread restaurant: the unit, thebrand, the division or the plc? Clarke and her colleagues have chewed severalpounds of fat over this. “Inthe end we decided that team members must decide for themselves,” Clarke says.“If we are talking about vision, mission and values, then we want that to bebrand-, even restaurant-specific. But, ideally we want people to feel that theybelong to Whitbread too – as I do.”Clarkeserves top tips on best practice at work–Involve brands at every stage– Use best practice – Create brand champions to drive activity– Protect brand integrity– Make learning integral to the way your people work– Think about who owns the learning Comments are closed. Recipes for sharingOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Job losses do not always bring stress, strain or ruin

first_imgJob losses do not always bring stress, strain or ruinOn 26 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Redundancy does not automatically lead to stress, strained relationships orfinancial ruin, according to research assessing the impact of job losses in 18countries. The report, by global career consultancy Drake Beam Morin, based on a surveyof 3,000 executives, reveals that two in five respondents feel redundancyactually strengthened their relationships with their partner. In the UK, only five per cent of respondents say their partners had problemsdealing with the situation, despite the fact that before losing their jobs 95per cent were the principal breadwinners. In Singapore and Germany, the figures were slightly higher, with 19 and 15per cent respectively of those surveyed saying their partners had troubleaccepting that they had been made redundant. Overall, 82 per cent of respondents’ partners were supportive during theircareer transition. Less than one-third of executives were concerned or very concerned abouttheir finances after they were made redundant and before they found a new job. Concern over money was most acute in Latin America, where partners were lesslikely to be in employment. More than 60 per cent of respondents in Colombiaexpressed concern about finances and nearly 40 per cent of executives fromNorway and New Zealand were also worried. In the UK, 19 per cent of respondents were worried about money, but theFrench were the most unconcerned on 12 per cent. Nine out of 10 participants reported that they had benefited from support infinding a new job. Tony Gould, managing director of DBM in the UK, said, “It’s encouragingto confirm that job loss is not nearly as traumatic for families as it has beenin the past. “Over the past few decades, we have seen a rise in the stockmarket aswell as an increase in house prices, which has given people greater equity thanever before. “This confidence is also helped by the fact that responsible humanresource professionals in the UK are wisely supporting departing employees withcareer transition services.” www.dbm.comBy Ben Willmott Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_img Comments are closed. NetworkOn 1 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article This month’s networkIndustry support is vital to NTO effortsThe UK is in danger of exporting its IT industry, with grave consequences. To retain and increase the prosperity of the economy, a dramatic improvementin the availability and quality of technical and business skills among the UKworkforce is needed. The key objectives of the e-skills NTO, as outlined in its strategic plan,are to radically improve the image of careers in IT, improve links betweenindustry and educators to ensure the high employability of the workforce,generate an internationally respected IT qualification and create a populationcompetent in, and enthusiastic about, IT. In the 15 months since its inception, the e-skills NTO has made significantsteps towards delivering on these objectives. Backed by leading organisations,including EDS, IBM, BT Cellnet, Ericsson and ICL, it has developed the SkillsFramework for the Information Age, which provides a map to the skills andcompetencies required in IT and telecoms. SFIA can assist with a range of HRneeds, including individual/team assessment, career planning, skills audit andfuture skills planning. Other projects include the e-skills Graduate Apprenticeship, which providesa flexible training structure combining a degree, soft key skills and ITprofessional competence – based on the national occupational standards set bythe e-skills NTO on behalf of industry – and the Prove You Can Do IT project,which has linked vendor qualifications such as Microsoft, Cisco and Novell withNVQs/SVQs, and showed how they complement each other. Great work is being done to meet the aims and objectives of the e-skillsNTO’s strategic plan, but only with continued support will the UK industry beable to stand tall as an internationally respected technology innovator. Terry Watts Chief operating officer, e-skills NTO How we can fulfil the desire to learn I was inspired by your Editor’s Comment on workplace learning (October). Learning is a deep and powerful human instinct that takes considerableeffort to stifle, but so many organisations seem to manage this! Tom Peters once challenged a group of executives to find out what theiremployees did outside work. He speculated that they would discover that mostare passionate, engaged, creative, enthusiastic, giving, hard-working and smart– apart from the eight hours when they are at work! People want to learn. They want to grow. Most of all they want to do a goodjob. They want to help their organisation/employer perform better. Training, learning, education, personal development, coaching are the oxygenof ideas. Managers can provide the light necessary for ideas to grow. My top tips for creating an enthusiasm for learning? – Give recognition to those who learn – Managers should lead by example but workplace peers are powerful rolemodels – Encourage diversity in learning. Creativity often comes from the mostunexpected sources – Managers should be valued by the value they add to their people. David Exeter A Die-Hard Learning Evangelist Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

…in brief

first_imgThis week’s news in briefTribunal taskforce Trade & Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt last week set up anemployment tribunal taskforce to advise on the reform of the system. Thetaskforce will examine the need for investment, improved communication and theuse of the Internet to improve efficiency. The taskforce will make recommendations to Hewitt and the Lord Chancellor. 11 hits tourism More than a million workers in the European hotel and tourism industry couldlose their jobs as a direct result of the 11 September attacks, claims theInternational Labour Organisation. It estimates that a 10 per cent reduction inglobal tourism would result in 8.8 million people losing their jobs worldwide.  www.ilo.orgCEOs’ hefty pay rises Chief executives received pay increases of more than 25 per cent over thepast year, according to Incomes Data Services. A CEO in the City now earns onaverage £960,000, compared to £570,000 for other directors. Research by IncomesData Services, which polled 2,000 directors, shows that FTSE 100 companiesincrease CEO pay by over 18 per cent. online recruiter StepStone, the Norway-based online recruitment agency, will cut more than525 jobs from its 876-strong workforce and has told its UK subsidiary that itwill no longer support it financially. “In the UK, the company will be putinto liquidation,” a spokesperson said. The company will focus on Belgium,Denmark and Germany – its three most successful markets. over violence The Work & Pensions Secretary has promised Benefit Agency staff azero-tolerance approach to violent behaviour in a bid to avert strike action.The PCS union is balloting over 60,000 members on strike action this week overthe removal of protective screens for staff. Currently 2,300 employees are onstrike. Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article …in briefOn 6 Nov 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Give the sector an incentive to change

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Give the sector an incentive to changeOn 4 Dec 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. UK manufacturing needs more than words of encouragement toup its productivity. It needs an action plan from employers and Government tohelp it embrace new ways of working Gordon Brown claims he wants to do more to recognise “the vitalcontribution of modern manufacturing to exports, innovation and our greatregions”. The results of a productivity survey by the Engineering Employers’Federation suggest there are plenty of issues the Chancellor can get his teethinto – highlighting a widening productivity gap between manufacturing in the UKand the US. The tough climate manufacturers have faced in recent years has put greateremphasis on the need to boost productivity and competitiveness. Both employersand the Government need to do more and learn from our American cousins. One possible solution, as demonstrated by US firms, is lean manufacturing.US-owned firms in the UK are having greater success with lean manufacturingthan UK-owned firms because they are using it more intensely. But a largeproportion of British firms have not ventured into lean manufacturing at all. The EEF is seeking to work in partnership with the DTI to tackle the lack ofawareness of the lean manufacturing model, and improve lean skills levelsacross the sector workforce. Economic research of the US experience in the 1990s provides convincingevidence that new work practices have also been a contributing factor toproductivity growth in manufacturing. According to the EEF survey, UK manufacturers are embracing new practices.Many are using output monitoring, individual performance appraisals, employeeinvolvement schemes, suggestion schemes and total quality processes. However,incentive or profit-based pay is not being used as widely as in US companies. In the UK, resistance to change is by far the biggest barrier to their takeup. This reflects the attitude of both managers and employees and shows aconcerted effort is needed to make companies more receptive to change. Attracting the right people is also a problem for the sector. UKmanufacturers try to get around the issue by focusing on offering good basicsalaries. However, these companies could learn from the example of US-ownedfirms in the UK which are benefiting from offering employees additionalbenefits, such as work-life balance, bonuses, training and personaldevelopment. But beyond this, the market is not delivering enough people with the rightskills. The Government must concentrate on addressing the shortfall in modernapprenticeships and re-develop the Individual Learning Accounts for training inthe workplace. More generally, under-investment in manufacturing has been damaging. Recentdata from National Statistics shows things are getting worse, withmanufacturing investment falling at the sharpest rate on record in the thirdquarter. Lack of orders, uncertainty over future demand and the exchange ratehave all undermined current and future profitability. If increased manufacturing productivity is a serious economic goal for theGovernment, it must try to break the long-term trend of under-investment in thesector and offer more incentives to help firms invest. This must include anR&D tax credit for larger firms in order to stimulate innovation. Boosting manufacturing productivity requires a partnership betweengovernment and employers. If Gordon Brown is serious about doing more formanufacturing in this country then it is time he matched sound words with firmactions. By Dougie Peedle, deputy chief economist of the Engineering Employers’Federation Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Staff bear the brunt of corporate cost cutting

first_imgStaff bear the brunt of corporate cost cuttingOn 11 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article The economic downturn has forced most companies to slash staffing costs byinitiating measures including pay cuts, recruitment freezes and redundancies,according to a new survey. Research from Mercer shows that employers are feeling the bite of theeconomic slowdown, with 50 per cent losing revenue and 42 per cent reportinglower profits. The survey of more than 1,000 firms found that cutting labour costs was themain way of dealing with these losses. All recruitment activity was stopped by42 per cent and 31 per cent have made redundancies. According to the survey, 30 per cent of companies reduced the annual salaryincrease, 21 per cent introduced a wage freeze, and 8 per cent even imposedwage reductions on staff. Safarina Kardany, a senior researcher at Mercer, said the findings showedevents in the US had led to major cost cutting at companies across the world:”We were surprised that many of the cost-containment measures around theglobe have been just as stringent as in the US. This illustrates thefar-reaching impact of the US slowdown on the world economy,” she said. Companies have responded to the downturn by implementing a range ofcost-cutting initiatives, with 71 per cent introducing some sort of reductionscheme. Just over half have undertaken organisational restructuring while a thirdscaled down by either closing, shrinking or divesting their under-performingbusinesses. However, marketing initiatives seemed to be less affected by the slowdown,with only 9 per cent delaying new product launches or new market entries.However, the downturn did affect decisions to introduce new distribution andpricing schemes in 23 per cent of responses. By Ross Wigham Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Economic slide likely if old hands ignored

first_imgEconomic slide likely if old hands ignoredOn 25 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Government minister Barbara Roche has warned employers that the economy willsuffer if employers don’t use the talents of older workers. Speaking at the conference, Roche, the minister responsible for tackling agediscrimination, told employers it is in their interests to employ older staff. She said: “Age discrimination does great damage to our economy.Overlooking people because age is short-sighted and throws away a vast pool oftalent.” Roche told delegates she is confident that attitudes are changing ahead ofthe anti-age discrimination legislation to be implemented in the UK in 2006. She said: “I believe the message is beginning to get through, employersare increasingly becoming aware of the benefits a diverse workforce brings. “We have much to lose if we fail to rid employment of agediscrimination.” Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Staff lack confidence in sharing business ideas with employers

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Staff lack confidence in sharing business ideas with employersOn 18 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today UK employers are missing out on new ideas from their staff because theydon’t feel comfortable or confident in sharing them with managers. A new poll timed to coincide with National Ideas Week, reveals that morethan a quarter of the workforce have ideas for their businesses that they havenot shared with their employers. The research, commissioned by 3M, finds that untapped employee ideas cover amultitude of subjects, ranging from ways to improve staff morale andproductivity to new product ideas. One in five respondents claim they don’t share ideas because they think theywon’t be listened to, while one in 10 said they are intimidated by managers. Jeff Skinner, training and development manager at 3M, said it was importantfor managers to genuinely listen to staff and take their ideas on board. “The simple message is that most employees don’t believe their ideasare valued. One of the main criticisms is that managers don’t really listen totheir staff,” he said. “Employers must do more to make staff feel valued, and that meansmanagers asking people’s opinions, rather than going through the motions.Giving basic leadership training can also help to harness staff ideas.” The figures demonstrate the value of employee suggestion schemes, with 84per cent of the 1,000 respondents claiming they would be more likely to staywith an employer that listened to ideas. More than half of the respondents claim schemes that encourage managers tolisten to their ideas are just as important as a good benefits package. Ray Meads, innovation specialist at 3M, said: “3M has always valuedcreativity and innovation in employees. From our experience of running formalideas schemes, staff are motivated by playing an additional valuable rolewithin the organisation.” By Ross Comments are closed. last_img read more

Hotbeds of militancy – what do you think?

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Last week’s rantings by the unions, Government and employer lobby overworker rights did nothing to help the drive towards partnership andconsultation.  But as our columnist StephenOverell suggests this week these public spats at TUC conference time havebecome a bit of an annual farce. Both sides seem to have conveniently forgotten their achievements so far –brought about by collaboration not conflict. The unions and employers supportedthe Government in tackling long-term difficult decisions such as theindependence of the Bank of England, cutting debt, tough fiscal rules and thenew deal to ensure the UK avoided recession and achieved economic growth. In return, they were promised low inflation and economic stability. Thatsubsequently led to increased investment in the public sector and theintroduction of wider social justice, including the minimum wage andfar-reaching human rights. Some 1.6 million jobs have been created in the pastsix years and UK employees are better protected than ever. The unions are demanding employment rights equivalent to those in Germany,ignoring that half of Europe is now in recession. Germany’s mire of employmentlaw is a key factor in its high unemployment. Employers will be relieved to know that the Government is continuing toresist these arguments so that a more flexible labour market can be maintainedhere. It’s not clear whether the mood of the ‘awkward squad’ union leaders is intune with members of the RMT, T&G and Amicus. HR working in these sectorsought to have its finger on the pulse of the mood. Certainly, the TUC’s generalsecretary Brendan Barber and his predecessor John Monks (now head of theEuropean TUC) do not appear to be men ready for widespread industrial unrest. And while awareness about worker rights is increasing, there is inevitably alot of ignorance about the new legislation on the shopfloor. Most workplaces donot feel like hotbeds of militancy at the moment. The Government must deliver on partnership with the unions and give them abigger role in policy-making. Big business has to invest, innovate and show agreater willingness to inform and consult workers on key decisions. And inreturn for these changes, the unions have to mature into constructive players,capable of listening and responding to their members and to the legitimateconcerns of employers. By Jane King, editor of Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Hotbeds of militancy – what do you think?On 16 Sep 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

UK is a nation of serial time-wasters

first_imgUK is a nation of serial time-wastersOn 2 Dec 2003 in Personnel Today The UK is becoming a nation of serial time-wasters, with workers happilysmoking, chatting and e-mailing their way through the working day. A third of all working days have been found to be completely unproductivebecause so much time is wasted by staff, according to a new survey. The survey by the Human Resources Group found staff waste time throughextended lunches, surfing the web, gossiping with colleagues, sick leave, andtime off to let the gasman in. The findings show that three 10-minute cigarette breaks a day alone add upto 16 lost working days a year. Meanwhile, web-enabled employees are using their skills to fritter away theworking day, with recruitment consultants among the worst offenders. A separate poll of 1,000 workers found more than 62 per cent admitted usingthe internet for personal reasons, with almost a third browsing for no specificreason. The problem has become so serious that it now accounts for almost 35per cent of lost productivity in the office. Top 10 online time-wastersHours wasted per weekAd agency designers                 5 hoursInsurance brokers                     4.5 hoursSolicitors                                  4hoursAccountants                             4 hoursIT consultants                           3.5 hoursBanking employees                   3.5 hoursRecruitment consultants             3 hoursSales executives                        3 hoursJournalists                                 2.5hoursAdministrators                         2 hoursSource: Cyber Protect cyberskiving survey Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more