‘We will never make a profit unless we value teams’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Staffing tips: operators outline how they tackle retention (image: Getty/Anton Vierietin)
Staffing tips: operators outline how they tackle retention (image: Getty/Anton Vierietin)

Related tags Multi-site pub operators Bristol Training Pubco + head office

A number of operators revealed how they aim to boost staff retention within their businesses at The Morning Advertiser’s recent MA Leaders Club conference.

Delegates at the event, which took place this week (Wednesday 13 September) in Bristol, heard a variety of ways in which firms keep their team members.

Bear Inns director Edward Barlow outlined how much of an impact pay had on his employees.

He said: “[Wages] are probably 10% of the problem. If we put our pay up 33%, our attraction rates wouldn’t really increase. It’s more about the culture and environment.

“Why would we increase those wage rates if it is having very little impact [on retention]? 30% of what we make bottom line goes straight back to them team (in the form of the company’s Bear Bonus).

“Wages are so low down the pecking order, for me, it’s about leadership particularly as we have got a very young cohort throughout hospitality, these people need leadership.”

Meanwhile, Barons Pub Company director of legal compliance and operational development Tanya Wicks laid out how it was for her teams.

Valuing people

“We have a very fair pay structure that we are proud and transparent about. People stay because they are valued and proud of the company they work for. We do lots of work internally to show how they contribute to the business," she said.

“We had a very hard beginning of the year but we will come out of it, We have a responsibility for 500 people to earn an income, if we keep constantly inflating the wages, we won’t have a company for them to go to.

“Money isn’t a dirty subject at Barons. We actively engage and have those conversations. We will never make a profit unless we value the people who work for us.”

When it came to changes the operators had made within their operations, these varied across the board.

Wicks said: “[We have] moved to a four-day week, actively encouraging people where they can to do four out of seven [days].”

Moreover, managing director of Bristol-based firm The Assemblies Jeremy Kynaston also reduced the number of hours teams work.

Hugely attractive

He added: “We made two huge steps this year – for our salaried paid team, all contracts were 45-hour weeks and we have reduced this to 40-hour weeks.

“It costs of course but people having a 40-hour working week has given people their life back. We are also very keen to not have split shifts as much as possible.

“We will monitor the rotas so if someone is working the night, they aren’t able to do the next morning.

“It’s made us hugely attractive [as an employer]. The hours make more of a difference than the pay.”

However, Bear Inns’ Barlow highlighted the benefits of being a relatively small business meant everyone’s views were heard.

He said: “We haven’t got a big team, about 90 people, we take the philosophy to listen to everyone. We talk to people.

“Our managers are very hands on with their staff, [they] get to understand what they are about, what happens when they are not in work. It’s very much about listening and adapting accordingly.”

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