Being a good employer is a 'difficult balancing act'

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Difficult dynamics: keeping balance is crucial to being a good pub employer according to Barons Pub Company managing director Clive Price (Credit: Getty/sturti)
Difficult dynamics: keeping balance is crucial to being a good pub employer according to Barons Pub Company managing director Clive Price (Credit: Getty/sturti)

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Keeping balance amid “off the scale” challenges is “crucial” to being a good pub employer, according to Barons Pub Company managing director Clive Price.

Price explained minimum wage increases, business rates, VAT and rising costs, had added “difficult dynamics” to being a good pub employer and “pressure” to working environments.

However, the managing director continued it was “crucial” for businesses to remain flexible, keep offering progression and create a “fun” environment for staff.

Price said: “It is a difficult balancing act, anyone that employs people will understand that's a difficult path to tread.

“I'm always mindful that as a hospitality business, we put on a show every day, and we genuinely want everyone that comes to work to enjoy being part of that, and that’s crucial to the business as well.

“If you've got a set of staff that are tired, unhappy, unhealthy, and feeling downtrodden, then we're not going to create a nice environment for our customers or staff.

Platform for success 

“Everyone turning up interested, motivated, well rested, not overworked or overburdened, which can happen easily in hospitality, that's our responsibility to keep in balance.”

While achieving balance would look different for every business, Price added some things were ubiquitous.

He said: “Employees want fairness, opportunity and progression in the workplace, especially in hospitality, where we employ a lot of young people for whom it might be their first job, so we're always very conscious of that.

“Our job as an employer is to look after people, set a good culture, set an environment where people have respect for each other, then everyone can achieve their best every day.

“It’s doing more than expecting people to turn up to work every day and hope they do a good job; it is putting in structure right from selecting and recruiting but then doing our bit of the bargain to induct and train people well to give them a good platform for success.”

Synergy “all the way through” businesses and putting words into actions were also notable values to “stand in good stead”, according to Price.

In addition, the managing director felt this was one reason why Barons was crowned Best Pub Operations Team and Best Pub Employer (up to 500 employees) at the 2023 Publican Awards.

Good stead 

He continued: “You can have policies and procedures and values and you can have business objectives, but they're just words on a page, they don't actually mean anything, at Barons were good at living and breathing what we say.

“Too often it can be that you have a good idea, you start something you don't see it through, then a few months later, it's drifted off and not happened.”

Tackling some of these challenges, Price added Barons, which operates 10 sites across Surrey and Berkshire, was looking to continue offering “great training and progression” alongside more “corporate social responsibility”, for example litter picking within the community or volunteering.

He added: “They're really nice, feel-good things that help with team bonding while also giving something back to the community.

“We've got lots of people at five years plus service and it's lovely to be able to keep developing them and giving them opportunity to keep growing professionally.

“That stands us in good stead [for the future], we’ve got good people with good continuity of service, if they can be improving their skills and knowledge, it's very good for the business.”


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