EXCLUSIVE: What lockdown looks like for staff at Home Grown Hotels


Home Grown Hotels, parent company of The Pig Hotels, is striving to keep its staff motivated and engaged during this third lockdown with a series of initiatives while properties remain closed.

The group, which includes seven Pigs and Lime wood hotel in Hampshire, is focused on ensuring employees feel reassured during this time of uncertainty, with around 850 out of approximately 900 staff members currently on furlough.

A number of virtual events and initiatives have been devised each week, from wine tastings to cookalongs and fitness classes as the group utilises its expertise and on-site facilities to engage with staff while they are at home.

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Speaking to BH, Steve Rockey, people director at Home Grown Hotels, founded by Robin Hutson, says: “Each week we have released written updates and video content from Robin, which has been really good in helping to communicate to everyone what’s going on and reassure staff as much as we can. Within these bulletins we share updates on the businesses, reopening plans, rough time scales, government changes; transparency is really key.”

A week on furlough for an employee at The Pig or Lime wood could consist of:

A Monday 8am fitness session via the on-demand app from the Herb House at Lime wood, hosted by one of the personal trainers.

On Monday afternoons, the group hosts a every person ‘chat with…’ where staff are encouraged to speak to a member of the People team, should they be feeling anxious or unsure, or simply to ask any questions.

Rockey adds: “It’s about keeping the communication open – not only from the company to the employees, but to employee to employee.”

‘Wet Wednesdays’ see a sommelier from the group running a virtual wine tasting, that is open to all staff.

Chefs James Golding or Luke Holder host Cookalong Thursdays each week, which encourages employees to hone their chef skills with online tutorials from making pasta to how to properly sharpen a knife.

Another initiative is ‘Lockdown lowdown’ where each staff member – from apprentices to Robin himself – is given the opportunity to answer 20 questions about their own lockdown, to then share with the rest of the workforce.

Going on what worked well for the group during the previous two lockdowns, Home Grown Hotels has also opened up online management development training, to help build on people’s strengths and prepare them for the next stage of progression within the company.

The Pig has an incredibly successful track-record of promoting employees from within and developing its people through its internal apprenticeship and management programmes.

Earlier this month, BH reported that all members of the new leadership team for The Pig in the South Downs have been promoted from other positions within the Piggy portfolio, except incoming director Mairead Gleeson.

Tags : home grown hotelsLime Woodlockdownrobin hutsonstaffThe Pig
Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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