Speaking at last week's MA250 conference in London, Inventive's HR director Ian Cockill said the rise in engagement, measured by the Best Companies Index (BCI), in the past six years has been inversely proportional to the level of staff turnover.
For example, BCI was about 670 in 2006, rising to more than 740 in 2012. Over the same period staff turnover fell from about 145% to c.85%.
“There’s a payback,” Cockill added. “We reckon it costs about £1,000 to get one of our barstaff trained to the level we like them to be. So think of the saving, it is quite substantial.”
He also explained how the company reduced chef turnover from 180% in 2010 to 65% one year later, while also improving food margins from 40% to 60% and like-for-like food sales from -2% to +205%.
Cockill said that the company was “struggling” with food sales, which made up between 6% and 7% of revenue.
‘Good quality of life’ scores among the chefs were “really poor” — 50% against a company average in the mid-70s.
He said the company had begun to “really try to train and develop and engage our people”.
Cockill added venue managers often “didn’t know the food side of the business”.
Over a period of two years, 450 members of the management team spent a day on a training scheme to give them a “working knowledge” of the kitchen.
A ‘Kitchen Journey’ plan was developed to map a career path in food in the business.
As well as lower turnover, higher margins and improved like-for-likes, the changes were also followed by an increase in quality of life scores among the company’s chefs.
Cockill said: “I’m not saying all those statistics are down to engagement levels. However, I would stake my life that quite a lot of them are due to that.”