Pub Skills: How pubs can add to their bottom line with employee engagement

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Rules of engagement: happy staff equal happy customers
Rules of engagement: happy staff equal happy customers

Related tags Engagement

Employee engagement can help pubs be more profitable, according to industry insiders, as “happy staff equal happy customers”.

Senior managers from the pub sector discussed the importance of staff retention and development and its impact on business at the latest Pub Skills event hosted by The Morning Advertiser.

CPL Training Group commercial director Louise Sui said figures show that when staff at a particular site are engaged, the “profits are up”.

She explained: “It will be a mix of happy staff creating happy customers who are spending more, and it also means that staff churn is lower. So overall, staff engagement definitely equals better results.”

Sui said one way to engage employees was to ensure employers and managers take responsibility for recognising the contribution staff make to the business and celebrating in their success. She said another key way to engage pub staff was to raise awareness of opportunities for career development and promotion that are available in the business.

A good induction when new employees start is also important, as it acts as a platform to ensure everyone feels welcomed and valued, said Sui.

Focus on your people

New World Trading Company (NWTC) head of HR Natasha Waterfield said employee engagement is the “most important thing” for business.

“I think if you haven’t got engaged, motivated and happy staff - happiness being the key - then they won’t deliver the service that you want to deliver and they are not going to engage with the products you sell.

“Therefore, their experience is going to come across to the customer and they’re not going to come back. It’s really, really important that everybody in the industry focuses on their people.”

Waterfield said NWTC engages its staff through its Tribes initiative - an innovative employee scheme which sees staff across the UK split into six ‘tribes’ competing against each other. Staff access Tribe challenges, offers and communicate via the dedicated app developed by NWTC.

There are weekly prizes and competitions, and the Tribe that wins overall at the end of the year receives two extra days of paid holiday for each member.

Since introducing the app, the company has seen a pattern linking staff involvement with the Tribes initiative with lower staff turnover and higher employee engagement. Waterfield said that in some of the company’s sites, engagement has increased by as much as 14% with an 8% fall in staff turnover.

More profitable

Emma Mitchell, business development director for consultancy 10Eighty, agreed and said employee engagement was “essential”.

“If your employee’s experience is positive, then it will transfer onto your customers and make you more profitable,” she said.

“People don’t try their hardest in a company where they don’t feel valued and engaged – so it’s completely essentially.”

Liz Gaffer, director of marketing and charity services at the Licensed Trade Charity (LTC), added: “Employee engagement is really important to businesses and it makes a massive contribution to the bottom line.

“When you’ve got employee engagement you’re going to have less staff turnover, you’re going to have happier staff which will improve your customer service and, at the end of the day, deliver the proposition you’re trying to give your customers.”   

  • Look out for more Pub Skills events coming up soon

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