The challenges of finding the right people to fit your brand and remembering that you aren’t out there to employ everybody, are just two points to consider when recruiting says people director at Home Grown Hotels, Steve Rockey.
The hospitality group, which operates The Pig Hotels and Lime Wood and is headed up by Robin Hutson, works hard on its employment branding to attract the right types of staff who ‘get what we do’, according to Rockey who was speaking at a HR event at the tail end of last year.
“One of the key things with employment branding is to remember that you aren’t out there to find everybody,” he explained. “What you are there to do is to attract people who get what you’re trying to do and that’s the bit I think we can work on by being super targeted, about who works best for The Pig and who works best for Lime Wood.”
He explained that The Pigs are ‘beautiful but in the middle of nowhere’, and highlighted that getting staff to the business and making them stay is more difficult than most guests would think. He stressed the importance of having a local focus and getting into the community, into local schools and colleges and implementing placements all help to find out why somebody wants to get into hospitality and then more specifically why they want to come and work for the brand.
Rockey, who has been in the job with Home Grown Hotels for just over a year, said that both offerings at The Pigs and Lime Wood brands are finely tuned and their differences are something that should be highlighted when it comes to recruiting new members for the team.
He described: “If you’re at The Pig and you want a gin and tonic, you’re happy to go up to the bar, order your drink, the guy will talk to you about where it comes from, give you the story of the gin, and then he’ll say, I’ll bring it to you. You’ll walk away and think, yes that was a great experience.
“At Lime Wood if you haven’t gone to that person to ask if they’d like a gin and tonic, then it’s a disaster; they are never going to get up, and never will go to the bar to ask for one, so if that happens you’ve utterly failed.
“It’s having these two different approaches to achieving exactly the same thing and it’s important that that comes across from an employee brand perspective and the people who are in there, know where they are,” he adds.
The growth of The Pig brand hit the headlines earlier this year when a £30m expansion was announced, with the launch of three new hotels across the country. Rockey says that growth is a challenge in any business when it comes to employment and retaining that brand ethos will be a key focus going forward.
“It’s one of those classics, that when you walk in you know exactly where you are but when you’re trying to write that down and grab whatever it is, it’s actually quite difficult,” he commented.