Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants
April is responsible for all aspects of the business including kitchen and 64 bed Premier Inn. She says:
“Through Whitbread intensive training and development programmes I have progressed through the ranks, completing training where needed and then gaining the opportunity to go on a shooting stars program which ultimately led to being promoted to a general manager position.
Developing my team on a daily basis is the key to driving my business forward. This might mean having one-to-ones every day or conducting self-audits with team members present so they gain an understanding from the guest perspective. Making sure my guests are looked after in the best possible way is paramount; I look at this in terms of “Our House is Their House”.
The first thing I do when I arrive at work each day is talk to my team (60 team members, including managers) to find out if they are OK, share what’s going to happen today, discuss any issues arising from the previous shift, and have a cup of tea.
I need to know what pushes their buttons, what they like to do on their time off and with who, their favourite food and drink, their birthdays, just like we do with our guests, what do they want from their job, this allows me to cater to their needs not only with job chats but also full reviews, we end up with a great working relationship that helps drive our business forward.
I believe we have an open and honest culture within Whitbread, they listen to ideas and take action accordingly, and they empower us to make tough decisions about our business and are supportive towards our development and our team’s development. I feel that the support and encouragement that I have had from my regional operations manager Gaynor Hennessy has been second to none, the belief that she has in me has made me strive harder to achieve the results.
My role allows me to lead my team not only to achieve our business goals but also developing their skills so they can progress to achieve their goals. Helping someone grow in to a job role and then gain promotion to the next level gives me a sense an achievement.
I feel that as Whitbread is constantly talked about in the papers and consistently reporting positive growth figures, especially in the recession, that the public recognise Whitbread as being one of the top employers to work for. I also feel this is widely accepted within the industry, as people are always aspiring to work for us too. It is in FTSE, and has a strong share price too, which is encouraging.