EP Perspective June 2017


The title talks about the whole Hospitality sector, including the fine hotels, delicious restaurants, leading foodservice companies and the wider community.

The magazine launched with a focus on independent hotels and has evolved to include thought leadership pieces on the whole sector. Articles focus on customer service, the guest experience, new innovation being adopted and much more. Their are many pacesetters in hospitality and EP is keen to showcase the real stories.

Perspective is published on a quarterly basis and is written for senior players in hospitality. It is available in both a printed and digital format.

Perspective puts a spotlight on some of the great things being achieved and the fascinating stories behind the businesses.


June 2017 • Issue 04

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We have been having lots of discussions on

leadership and talent development. It has been

eye opening.

There is less emerging talent knocking on the door

for leadership roles and many theories are suggested

for the reasons why. One of the main arguments is

thinking has become more narrow compared to how

it was before.

At the same time, the overall skill set of a middle

manager is less developed than their counterparts

20 years ago. There is a school of thought that they were at their most skilled in the 1990s and

it is no coincidence that those that developed in this era have been in key leadership roles for

longer than would normally have been the case.

Informal social communication is taking a central role in daily life – there may be more

communication going on, but far less focus on understanding major dynamics. This means

there is less knowledge of the consumer, of competition and of the market.

As has been well accounted, the average executive today responds to an average of 150

emails and is more stressed and mentally fatigued. There is a need to ensure periods of

reflection rather than responding to emails.

EP hosted a dinner with sports players named ‘Reinvention’ in April – especially former

rugby and football players – to help them find new direction and a renewed sense of purpose.

They are told at the age of 35 that their careers are over and do lose some parts of their

self-respect. This is a real lost talent base that needs support and could be of benefit to many

companies. It is the same in hospitality as there are many that have lost their way and need

change to grow.

It is not about reinventing the wheel; it is about investing more into human capital. We all

talk a lot about the importance of our people but there is more to be done.


Chris Sheppardson Sara Stewart Nick Sheppardson Lauran Bush Natalia Latorre Sarah Freeman

epmagazine.co.uk | 3


June 2017 • Issue 04 • epmagazine.co.uk


Sharing knowledge and connectivity






06 Innovating in people

Why are there not greater numbers of emerging leaders

knocking on the door to be leaders?

11 The straw that breaks the unwary back

It’s time to go back to basics, says IndiCater

12 To build a market leader

Adam Elliott, new CEO of The Concerto Group has a

strong vision for the future

19 How can we aspire to what can’t be seen?

What changes need to happen for women to progress?

36 Leadership: The next creative industry

Little is often said about what it takes to build a leader’s

creative mindset

38 Is 2017 the year the definition of

work changed?

A recent Deloitte survey found that a radical transition

is already underway

46 The four-day week debate

Does the sector need to adapt the traditional

working week?

48 Can future CSR policies attract the

next generation?

Shirley Duncalf at Bidfood explores how using CSR policies

can effectively reach the Millennial recruitment pool

50 Redundant innovation

How does a large player find innovation?


40 A challenger mentality in a

traditional space

etc. venues – typical event space business or

entrepreneurial disruptor?


16 Restaurateur first, hotelier second

Paul Milsom of Milsoms Hotels and Restaurants on the

influence of his family’s entrepreneurial spirit


08 Hotelier breaking through

Abigail Tan-Giroud is making sure St Giles Hotels Group

is considered a serious player

28 ‘Employees will be less committed to

organisations in the future’ – is this true?

Faisel Choudhry MVO has researched the impact of

leadership and the role of emotional intelligence on

organisation commitment


21 Innovating with careers.

Maximising the human asset

Great people are as important as ever – but finding talent

is arguably as hard as ever

25 Experience is needed now more than

ever before

The industry’s greatest leaders add value to emerging businesses.

33 One & All Foundation

Let talent grow and allow good people to achieve great work


15 Would you stay in an augmented reality?

Greater guest satisfaction or the demise of the traditional

hospitality experience?

26 The world of work is changing

Antony Woodcock of GIG explains how recruiting temporary

staff needs to change

34 A young leader’s journey to solve the

food waste challenge

EP speaks to Marguerite Velay of Winnow on the role

technology can play to reduce food waste

44 On the cusp of change

The biggest developments in technology are about to happen,

but is the industry ready?


4 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 5



One of the most common discussion pieces with board

directors is the questions – why are there not greater

numbers of emerging leaders knocking on the door to

be leaders?

There is a strong argument that we lost

a generation of leaders with the changes

that took place during the 2000s decade.

The developments in digital technology

changed work practices more than many

realised and there is no doubt that this

generation has not broken through as much

as with previous generations. However there

is some exceptional emerging talent and

so there is a need to consider how best to

nurture this talent through.

There is a lot of discussion about the

importance of innovation through digital

technology, products and services but

innovation with people is equally as

important. Good talent and people are

the core differential in Hospitality.

The overall comments we are receiving

from boards tell us that:

n Many middle level executives are narrower

in their thinking than in previous eras and

possess less real market knowledge.

n There appears to be less natural

accountability and even life skills amongst

many developing through.

However there is no doubting their thirst for

knowledge and intellect appears to be higher.

n There is a greater community/team focus

amongst those coming through.

n Middle managers network less and

do not really grasp how to build strong

business relationships.

As a result of this, EP has been piloting a

series of Think Tanks and also developing

initiatives to work alongside companies to

support the development of emerging talent.

The argument is that it is important to help

support talent:

n Think differently

n Problem solve and find solutions through

lateral thinking

n Learn to express their thoughts

n Develop their industry knowledge and

understanding of key trends and issues

n Develop social and networking skills

There are many talented individuals

within the hospitality sector and now they

must, as must companies, learn from what

has not worked as effectively in the past

decade. Transforming the process can now

support the development of people.


Objective – The Development of Talent:

There are many programmes that focus

on talent development. However the core

consistent areas that need support are:

n Development of Industry and business

knowledge and thinking

n Development of old fashioned social skills

and networking

n Problem solving

n Taking time to reflect and think differently

It is important to recognise that the work

day has changed and is far more demanding

in terms of responding to emails (average

150 per day) with little time for reflection

and thought development. Clarity of thought

is very important and difficult to achieve

with this work load and social skills have now

never been more important.








The hard truth is that demanding work

schedules have resulted in less market

knowledge and a decrease in networking and

social contacts. This was the basis of success for

the baby boomers and needs to sit at the core

of the skill set of any emerging leader. Building

strong relationships and knowledge of the

market are fundamental to long term success.

There’s a reason that co-working space

have risen in popularity. It gives people

access to different networks, to engage, learn

and be inspired by those around them. In

businesses where there are employees with

numerous backgrounds and skill sets, such

innovative knowledge co-working can be

achieved internally.

Case studies show that:

n Inclusive teams and work forces are more

productive and deliver consistent strong results

n People still buy people in business so the

need is to develop relationships

n Brands are less of importance than people

and the offer

n Clients are seeking greater understanding

and proactivity from operators

So the methodology that should be

proposed now is a return to tried and tested

models but with a framework that works

alongside teams.

Think Tanks:

EP has piloted a series of Think Tank events

which bring people together from across the

industry. The popular sessions are conducted

in a business, yet informal learning and

networking environment. They are led by

an experienced and proven industry leader

who shares their own insights. Often the

speakers have reinvented themselves and

their insightful knowledge is unique and

welcomed from the room. This learning

allows the group to discuss key issues and

topical points.

The group are invited to participate in

discussion, raise questions and both the

speaker and the group sharing their thoughts.

This allows participants the opportunity

to reflect, to challenge their thinking and

to be exposed to intelligence from across

the industry.

The monthly Think Tank events have

between 20 to 30 attendees and take place

either first thing in the morning or at the end

of the working day to enable people to attend

and fit into their working schedules.

Bespoke Internal Leadership

Innovation Think Tanks

EP is now planning to create specialised

bespoke Think Tank sessions for specific

teams. It is important to challenge not just

those that want to learn but also internal

groups. The idea is to challenge them to take

time to think beyond the day to day.

By creating a framework for a session each

month, a team can focus on the development

of lateral thinking, reflection, market

knowledge and problem solving.

Leadership Hub

EP is hosting six Leadership Innovation Hub

events per year. These are, in simple terms,

interactives lectures by Industry leaders.

They are aimed for emerging talent and

provide them the freedom to develop their

thinking, build their own networks, and in

turn add greater value in their business role.

This is less normal business coaching and

more focused on developing the core skills of:

n Relationship building

n Networking

n Industry knowledge

n Reflection

It may sound a contradiction but the key

in developing talent is to return to core social

skills of the past.

If you would like to find out more

about EP’s work please contact


020 7933 8771


6 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 7


The next generation

breaking through

Abigail Tan-Giroud is the Head of UK, Europe, and North America for the

St Giles Hotels Group. The young leader has enhanced the internal culture at their

London and New York properties and has set her sights on growing the brand

and making sure they are considered a serious player.

You would be forgiven for thinking Abigail has led an easy route

to the top. As the third generation of a famed Malaysian real estate

dynasty, some may think she came in at the top. This couldn’t be

further from the truth. Abigail had an interest from a very early age to

know as much as possible about the hospitality industry and worked

her way up from being a management trainee. Following University

Abigail followed in her family’s footsteps and began as an apprentice.

She experienced all aspects of a working hotel, and today Abigail is

representing a new generation of leaders breaking through.

Being immersed in the hotel world from an early age provided

Abigail with the understanding and deep knowledge of everything from

engineering to the guest experience. IGB Corporation is the parent

company of the hotel collection, a Malaysian business owned by the

Tan family. With interest in real estate, construction and hospitality, it

fuelled Abigail’s desire to understand all aspects of the business. Abigail

explains, “Seeing my father at work really shaped my attitudes and core

beliefs. My vision now is to build a brand to stand out in a busy market.”




There are ambitious plans in the pipeline but with more than 3,500

rooms in city centre locations across four continents, the platform for

growth is already there. “At St Giles London Hotel in London’s West

End we have been internally driven in recent times. In many ways we

are hippies, we all have a love for the industry and a love for each other,”

she laughs. “We have a flat hierarchy at the hotel and a new structure

which makes communication and reporting much easier. Our team are

given empowerment and authority so they can learn faster.”

Abigail is friendly and serious about the future of the group. She is

using her leadership style to encourage and support the team of 150

staff at the London property. By checking their egos at the door and

permitting them to make decisions, the move should support their

development. “Our focus is heavily in the UK and my goal is to have

20 hotels by 2020.” It’s a bold vision and Abigail knows that with the

strength of private funding and a portfolio of successful properties,

together they will support the ultimate objectives. “We must always

find the right property, at the right time and at the right price. Some

may say it’s an aggressive approach but we see it more as activity

pursuing.” She adds.

One could argue that the growth of the St Giles Hotels Group is

not well known. The first London hotel opened in 1996, in 2015 the

group opened two four star properties, The Wembley in Penang and

The Tank Stream in Sydney. Plans for the future include a recently

acquired Birmingham site, and another in Blackfriars in London.

St Giles made history recently by being the first U.K. hospitality

brand to secure approval for its bid to take over the management of

a property in Cuba. The deal, negotiated by Abigail, puts St Giles in

partnership with Cuba’s Gran Caribe to renovate and redevelop the

existing Hotel Deauville in Havana, which will become The Deauville

– A St Giles Signature hotel. “We’ve been quiet about ourselves, that is

true, and now we are working on strengthening our relationships with

our local communities and growing our portfolio.”

The young leader

“It is difficult to compare how my leadership approach differs from

previous generations. We simply grew up in different times but do

have the same goals. My management style is different and modelled >

8 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 9



in my own way. We are all always growing and learning and I ensure

I take into account other viewpoints and listen. Is this where the

difference lies? I want my whole team to know I have an open door

policy and we behave as a family with a fair but firm attitude.”

Abigail has been tipped by Forbes magazine as one of its Asian

Women to Watch and challenges in the past would have certainly

influenced her as a leader. “A few years ago, the London property had

a major flood where it basically rained in the lobby. A burst pipe on the

roof was the cause and not long before, a similar incident happened

at our New York hotel. I’m told its good luck!” Learning from these

experiences has given Abigail the advantage of being able to work

through situations with the team that require strong voices.

As the European hotel industry braces itself for the impact of

Brexit, Abigail is confident their new marketing approach will build

the brand publically, whatever happens. “Our service style defines St

Giles. We have three, four, and five star properties and we want our

guests to feel like they’re staying in a hotel with a higher star-value. We

want to make all our hotels feel like a four or five star but with a three

star price.” Linked to this approach has been the launch of the global

‘St Giles 360 Virtual Reality’ (VR) campaign. “This began last year to

showcase our centrality. We asked guests to capture their authentic

experiences when they stayed in London, New York, Kuala Lumpur,

Penang, Manila, and Sydney. We wanted to connect both hotel guests

and other travellers with enriching local experiences steps away from

St Giles’ global properties.”




It is an exciting campaign for millennial travellers and likely to

have taken quite a chunk of the $500,000 marketing budget. Abigail

is confident they are reaping the rewards, the campaign expanded

the brand’s reach to new audiences from a geographic, demographic

and psychographic perspective. “Would a hotelier from a previous

generation have attempted a similar project? I’m not sure but I do

know that for us it builds relationships and creates interaction.

We want to be innovative and listen to our guests. By getting them

to tell and show us what they discover in the cities, we provide a

listening device which we can also use to promote the collection of

hotels.” At the same time St Giles has teamed up with William Morris

and created unique branded sunglasses for guests to enjoy and also

shipped in branded VR experience holders for mobile phones – so

any guest can enjoy the content via the hotel’s app.

Abigail is immensely proud of their initiative ‘Hotels with Heart’

– a charity which was created to deepen the soul and meaning of

the hotels. “We want to make a positive impact for underprivileged

children because they are our future.” Abigail explains. “We are

helping provide stability and want to give back locally by teaching

them all about hospitality.” It’s a cause clearly close to Abigail’s heart

and the St Giles team is no stranger to trying to support each other.

With Tough Mudder runs open for all staff to attend and Abigail

planning to climb up the side of the London hotel for charity, the

group is always looking to give back to both the staff and community.

Abigail is a natural leader with ambitious aims and one can sense

that she has had to fight a few battles to reach her position. Her calm

approach does differ from those of a previous generation, but the

ultimate goal does not change. The St Giles Hotels Group are putting

their name into the conversations of successful hotel groups and with

potentially 20 hotels by 2020, they are a name many must keep a

close eye on.




For the last three years caterers and

restaurateurs have been enjoying a

remarkably benign period of food deflation.

Now, with Brexit on the horizon, new skills

are needed to deal with food inflation.

From 2008, when it spiked at some 13

per cent, food inflation has been tumbling

– to five per cent in 2012 to zero and

minus territory in 2014 and ever since. At

a time when costs in other areas – wages,

pensions, rent and rates, energy – have been

continuously on the rise, the cost of food has

been a stable component of the business mix.

No longer.

With Brexit has come a lower value pound.

Many of the foods and ingredients we use

everyday – many imported – are already

more expensive than they were before the

referendum. Indeed, one buying specialist,

Lynx Purchasing, claims that a basket of

goods routinely bought by caterers has risen

by nine per cent between March 2016 and

March this year.

This is a sign of the times. Food

manufacturers and suppliers are already

raising prices. Items like coffee, sugar, tea,

spices, much of our flour and meat, some of

our fruits and vegetables will cost more for as

long as the pound remains at its present level

simply because so many are imported. And

the value of the pound is unlikely to rise in

the near future.

So those caterers who have been blithely

maintaining menus without having to take

food price inflation into account, will have to

get out their calculators again – or better still,

Bob Cotton, Non-Executive Director of IndiCater

argues that it’s time to go back to basics.

utilise intelligent back office software that

automatically does the calculations for them.

Food inflation is on the rise and is forecast

to rise by five to ten per cent within the next

twelve months.

Catering is a notoriously low margin

business at the best of times. An increase

of this magnitude, alongside all the other

cost hikes that are piling up, could be the

straw that breaks many an unwary caterer’s




back. So wastage has to be cut, buying made

smarter (e-procurement software can

help), dishes must be changed or made less

expensively, prices increased more subtly,

savings must be made in other areas if the

business is to survive profitably.

What action can be taken now?

It’s back to basics. Food cost increases have

to be tackled immediately. With food prices

on the rise, caterers have to get back into

the practice of weekly – even daily – food

costing. The unit cost of all dishes must now

be available on a daily basis. A five per cent

increase in food cost for a restaurant using

£500 worth of food a day will result in an

annual cost increase of over £9000; with

£170 leeching out of the business every week,

immediate remedial action is needed. The

busier the business, the bigger the loss and

the more regular needs to be the control.

Fortunately, there are control systems

available that help maintain the allimportant

gross food percentage as well as

other key ratios – systems which save time

and money and provide the kind of accurate

information that efficient businesses require.

IndiCater’s StORM software module, for

example, controls, specifies and manages

all food and beverage costs – a tool that

can result in a dramatic improvement on

the bottom line. Making use of modern

technology to help control the business,

before the full impact of Brexit is felt, will

be the mark of the wise – and successful –

caterer of the future.

10 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 11





Adam Elliott was appointed as the new CEO of The Concerto Group in

March. EP met with Adam to understand why he took on the new role

and his vision for the future.

The appointment of Adam Elliott as the

new CEO of The Concerto Group did take

many by surprise as he had been successful

in leading The One Group and in December

had a heart operation. Why, it was asked,

would he want to start anew and take on a

new challenge that would lead to a period

of pressure and hard work instead of just

enjoying the success he has had in his career?

There are undoubtedly many that would

have opted for an

easier road but that is

not Adam; he is never

happier than when

taking on companies

that need revitalising

and building. In 2010,

Adam became the CEO

of The Lindley Group

just after the death

of its then CEO, Alex

McCrindle and rebuilt

the team and culture to

lead it to a successful

exit in 2013 with

Centerplate. It was a

journey that he enjoyed

and there are many similarities with the

task that lies with The Concerto Group.

The Concerto Group possesses genuine

potential to be a highly potent and vibrant

force in the market. It has an almost

unique service model and a strong platform

from which to build and develop. The

company possesses a turnover close to

£40m, four offices across the UK and a








number of offerings that really work well

in tandem – encompassing event

management, sales, production, venue

finding, large-scale party management,

venues and bespoke catering. The market is

seeking new innovative ideas and the Group

has the model that can deliver against this

demand. However, it is still a relatively low

profile entity and this will need to be one of

the first steps in the change process.

The basis of the

business was really

founded in 1999/2000

when three companies

– Ultimate Experience,

Business Pursuits and

Richard Groves – came

together to create

The Concerto Group.

Since that time they

have grown, adding in

a number of acquired

companies along the

way including Full

Circle, Mask and

JD Parties. The real

potential success of the

Group is that it does possess a strong model

that can offer a genuinely substantial service

to venues and a framework that can allow

each company to work very effectively in

support of another. As a model the potential

is very good. However the events market has

changed and is today highly competitive.

The market’s expectations of both event

management and commercial return has

grown and the challenge has changed for

the Group just as the market has changed.

As stated, the profile is still relatively

low. Those that know the company hold it

in high regard. However in this market, the

competition is fierce and one needs to ensure a

high profile and to be in the mind of the client.

At the same time though, the market is seeking

new ideas, innovation and greater variety so

this too opens doors to new opportunities. If

one steps back and looks at the events market

as a whole there are very few companies that

could really work with a venue or location and

build its offering on a number of levels, from

commerciality to bespoke catering through

to event and production management and

business development. Concerto has the

potential to go head-to-head with the majors

and offer the flexibility and personal nature of

an independent.








Hence the argument for Adam taking on

the position. Concerto has all the potential

to grow and build a business of real value to

clients and to the market. Building a business

with a good platform is always a challenge

that will attract good leaders. The events

market has changed and is far more multidimensional

and Concerto has the basis of an

offer to meet the new demand.

In fairness to the Concerto Board it was

a brave decision to appoint Adam. He had

a proven track record but he had just been

through a heart operation and they were

seeking not so much a CEO as someone

that could bring new vision and energy to

the business. When they met Adam, they

12 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 13



believed that it was right that he took over

the reins and this was an act of great faith in

both the business and the potential. After

17 years, the Group just needed fresh drive

and it can be the hardest of decisions for

boards to take.

Adam is still in his early days but already

can see a whole number of opportunities and

it is clear that he has learnt much along his

road with both Lindley/Centerplate as well as

with The One Group. As one talks to Adam, it

is clear that he doesn’t just see the opportunity

in Concerto’s traditional business base but

beyond – in hotel outsourcing, in rooftop bars

and in sports to name a few.

“The big difference today is that the

consumer is seeking experiences and

that normal expectation is no longer

competitive,” noted Adam. “One of the great

advantages that Concerto can offer with its

brands is the support expertise and structure

to really create a unique experience that

generates extra revenues.”

“There are a number of clear examples in

the market. Rooftop bars and experiences

are a premium and if one can find a great

location, it can generate a strong following/

fan group that in turn builds a good revenue

line. Hotels too are seeking greater support in

both how they interact

with the market in their

events and in their F&B

space. Running a hotel

is overseeing a range of

disciplines that are all

different. It is important

to have real expertise

in support so that they

can offer a quality

service and be competitive. In the field of

sports, customers today want to not just leave

as an event finishes but enjoy after sports

experiences – but they need to be special. In

the old days, the offer was built around the

event on the field of play. Today the offer is as

appealing as the event itself and needs to be a

genuine experience in its own right.

“It’s important we keep our business roots

and generate real growth in these sectors.

Alongside sport and hotels we are looking

at heritage, leisure and arenas. We want to

engage in all concepts and have an objective

of being 365 – all year round. Building a

real platform for growth in these areas is

an ultimate objective for the company now.

We’re driving new concepts and initiatives

within our core businesses, and invigorating

our brands so that we can be classed as the

preferred route for our clients in weddings

and corporate entertainment. There are

many opportunities and now we are truly

working towards an all year round model.”






Adam is almost an old school-style leader

– he enjoys nothing more than building

teams and cultures that want to go out and

develop the business. He loves being in

the business working with clients, making

a difference. He believes in these oldfashioned

qualities that many have realised

are so important in business – trust, loyalty,

honesty, integrity. He may be office based

at times as the role demands that of him but

his heart is always out in the business with

clients. It is that inner drive that makes him a

good bet on bringing success to the business.

He has a journey to travel with the Group

but what one can guarantee is that he will

be visible, accessible and building belief and

confidence in the team.

When Adam took over at Lindley, he

inherited a culture that evolved very closely

around Alex McCrindle who had been the

glue that kept the team together. Lindley was

a VC-backed business that wanted growth

and success and Adam had to pick up a team

who had lost its leader,

reinvent it, modernise

the business and find

the growth. It was not an

easy challenge but it was

achieved successfully.

With Concerto, the

platform and model is in

place. It is about taking the

business to a new level and

becoming the market leader that it really has the

potential to be. It is about fulfilling potential.

Many have said to Adam that he should

step back and take it easy but that is

misunderstanding the man – he needs to

lead, to have a team that he is interacting

with and enabling a business to develop and

grow. He is a competitor that will go the extra

mile to ensure success. He will only rest

when the company is progressing and only

then when it is making a real difference

to clients.



Greater guest satisfaction or the demise of the traditional hospitality experience?

Arguments for and against the new

technology are rippling through

the hospitality industry. Considered

the sister of virtual reality (VR),

augmented reality (AR) is now being

adopted by some large hotel chains

that support the innovative trend,

however others are concerned by the

privacy, safety and maturity of the


Augmented reality is defined as

‘a technology that superimposes

a computer-generated image on

a user’s view of the real world,

thus providing a composite view.’

Technologists argue AR could bring

about a revolution in many industries,

with the technology used to engage

customers, build loyalty, convert and

increase consideration. Scepticism is

warranted but in the 21st century, shifts that used to take years now

routinely happen in months – e-commerce, a Facebook presence,

mobile purchase apps are all good examples.

AR came to the fore for many when the Disney Movie Experience

allowed children to include themselves in scenes alongside Disney

stars. The most recent example of this is for the live-action adaptation

of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ with Microsoft and Disney offering fans the

experience of bringing the movie to life.

The hospitality world is following suit and Hilton Hotels have

begun by looking at the guest pre-experience. The luxury brand has

teamed up with Reel FX VR and GSD&M to provide a virtual reality

tropical experience of Barbados. The 360 tour is a good sign of the

potential for AR and VR and the hope for Hilton is that it converts

potential bookers into committing. VR allow guests to use the

technology to explore the property, view individual rooms, and search

for nearby attractions – all in an immersive and interactive manner.

The industry is highly competitive so many are looking to implement

AR technology to distinguish their businesses as top choices for guests.

This can apply for hotels, restaurants, foodservice and more. Visualising

somewhere provides the guest with confidence and may increase their

satisfaction by knowing exactly what their experience will include.





If AR can grow patronage and sales

through delighting guests, then more

may look to this innovation.

However, at the moment almost all

applications of AR technology require

current location information. Users

must provide this information and

some argue that providing a location on

a real-time basis is a privacy concern.

As with most technologies of this type,

there is also a concern of safety. As

simple as if someone is concentrating

on AR, they forget the real world

around them and could have an injury.

Hotels appear to be leading the way

in the industry despite these concerns.

For example the luxury property

The Mansion at Casa Madrona uses

an augmented, printed brochure to

effectively demonstrate and showcase

their amenities and accommodations to potential guests.

Smart hotel room technologies, such as that from Control4, allows

guests to control media walls, indoor temperatures, lighting, sound,

window coverings, the fireplace and more. In Heraklion, Crete, the

Olive Green Hotel embraces smart technology that goes beyond room

controls. QR-coded wallpapers featuring images of Cretan landscapes

offer guests additional information about their destination, with

distances to points of interest and other relevant details.

They are interesting moves and recently The Financial Express

has stated that AR and smart technologies are bringing us closer to

the ‘hotel of the future’. They argue that by 2060 hotels will embrace

“augmented reality, artificial intelligence, morphing beds, robotics,

touchscreen interface, hyper-connectivity and more.” The way guest’s

book a hotel and also how people select a restaurant may therefore be

dramatically different in the future.

Many technology experts ask how far the technology will be taken.

Trends do come and go but at this stage AR and also VR do provide a

different customer experience and this alone may see them adopted

by more organisations. The industry is still a step away from part

physical and part virtual hotels but AR will play a big role at some

stage – the question now is when.


14 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 15


Restaurateur first,

hotelier second

How has the approach adopted by Milsoms Hotels and

Restaurants been influenced by the family’s entrepreneurial spirit?

EP speaks to Paul Milsom, Managing Director.

Paul is a third generation

restaurateur and hotelier, having

taken over the reins from his

father Gerald Milsom. Running

a family business can bring more

pressure than other operations

but Paul is focused on getting

things right for each five year

plan. Gerald Milsom was a true

entrepreneur, always looking for the

next opportunity and Paul learnt

lots from this approach. The core

of Milsom Hotels & Restaurants

(MH&R) today is an independent

collection of hotels and restaurants which financially support each

other. This approach, with the 65 years of family experience behind it,

enables Paul to be ready for what the future may bring.

Gerald Milsom purchased Le Talbooth situated beside the river

Stour as a tea room in the 1950s which was the beginning of the

group. In the late 1960s he added to this with Maison Talbooth and

established it as a luxury hotel and ten years later The Pier at Harwich

primarily a seafood restaurant, was purchased. In 2001 Paul and wife

Geraldine opened Milsoms in Dedham, a place to eat, drink and stay.

The entrepreneurial essence of the Milsom family is highlighted

by the work Paul and his wife Geraldine complete together. Paul

argues that one of the major changes in the last 20 years has been the

increasing importance of design. Paul says, “I am fortunate to have

married an interior designer whose great ability includes knowing

what works and doesn’t work within our range.

We understand how something that looks great

on day one must be practical and continue to

look great beyond that. If you were to enter any

Milsom property you would instantly see and

feel a familiar house style. Each is different and

unique but with an intertwined thread from the

brand.” Design plays a strong role in the Milsom

collection and must be considered an important

distinction for any independent group.

Is there a secret behind the success of the

company? Paul explains “We are different

to others because we are restaurateurs first,

hoteliers second which means that we worry

about filling our restaurants and our rooms fill on the back of those,

as opposed to hotels who try to fill their rooms and then their

restaurants”, with 65 years of combined family experience, he has

the knowledge and knowhow to run a business the other way around

to others. Paul also believes location has never played a greater role.

“I have watched as independent restaurants have been squeezed out

by branded multiple sites but the choice for the customer on the high

street is now fantastic. It can be difficult to compete in metropolitan

areas and so it is sometimes easier to compete away from London.”

“This approach,

with the 65 years of

family experience

behind it, enables

our business to be

ready for what the

future may bring.”

The geographical positioning of the Milsom group must not be

overlooked. “You could draw a 30 to 40 mile radius around our

properties and main target market. We believe it is difficult not to

come across one of our restaurant offers if you live in that area. Once

you do touch upon one of the hotels, restaurants or venues, you may

hopefully explore another.”

The Milsom brand includes four hotels, five restaurants and

event spaces. Paul explains that having numerous business arms

allows each one to look after the other. “Some parts of the business

are fairly intensive over the summer months

where other locations are busy all year round.

For our restaurants, Le Talbooth in Dedham is

our fine dining offer, it’s where people ‘celebrate’

in its setting beside the River Stour and guests

may only visit a few times a year. Whereas

Milsoms has a more relaxed feel and is a busy

and bustling restaurant which provides a contrast

to Le Talbooth and together they support the

overall business.”

Further strength was added to this strategy

when in 2008 Paul embarked on a joint venture

with the local building company, Hills Building

Group and opened Milsoms Kesgrave Hall

hotel and restaurant, a Grade II listed Suffolk mansion which had

previously been operated as a school. In 2014 the former school

sports hall was developed into a dedicated events space for up to 300

people. “Each market we operate in has scope for opportunity and

challenges but having conference and party facilities alongside the

restaurants and hotels have certainly helped.”

Some hotels and restaurants have been quite open about their

concern for staff levels and what Brexit will mean this year. Paul

argues the challenges ahead may not impact on MH&R as much as


16 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 17





There are similarities between the hospitality and

legal industries, but what changes need to happen

for women to progress in both asks Hayley Cross,

Associate – Corporate/Commercial at Joelson.

it will for others, due to the properties locations. “Throughout the

50s and 60s we employed lots of people from Switzerland to the

extent that the staff uniform was actually the Swiss national dress,

When Britain joined the EU in the 70s we were unable to continue

with this because Switzerland was outside the EU, we then went

through a French and then Spanish period. Immigration isn’t, as far

as I’m concerned, a new thing in our industry which has always relied

on good people from other parts of the world, it’s what makes us so

vibrant. I have no doubt the Government will find a way through,

but Brexit is potentially damaging and my worry is that if it becomes

too difficult for Europeans to work in Britain then many hospitality

businesses will have to close because they will not get the staff. Paul

made the decision to remove staff accommodation in the last few

years and changed the recruitment strategy to target local talent.

“Our team works hard at bringing in locals and this is essential for the

summer months when we may have 400 employees in total due to the

outside catering part of the business. They are virtually all British and

many are students who work during their holidays.”

Does the next generation possess ‘true’ hoteliers?

“Those coming through have lots of admirable attributes but they

will face challenges. I don’t believe the work is any harder but this

really is a young person’s game. My father would say that ‘the average

age in our business remains the same, I just get older, this is now

happening to me!’. The vast majority of those aged 18 to 30 will not

be working in the industry in their 30s and 40s. However I do believe

everyone should work in hospitality at least once. The skills and

experience from working in front of house or in a restaurant will help

in any career.”

For the future Paul believes customer expectations will continue

to rise. “It is still the case of constantly reinventing. We are fortunate

because there are no outside investors telling us when we need to

open a new location but this also means we don’t always have the

funds needed to open somewhere new. We are more traditional and

therefore slower, but our roots are deeper.”

International Women’s Day was a couple

of months ago now, but I don’t think that

should preclude us from continuing to

speak about gender equality. Someone told

me this year that they thought that IWD was

“boring”, she compared it to Valentine’s Day

and said that she did not see a need for it. My

response – “Lucky you!” I whole-heartedly

disagreed with her and was disappointed

that she didn’t see the need for a day from

which we can leverage change and start new

discussions around the steps that still need to

be taken to force that change.

As a lawyer who works with many clients

within the hospitality

industry, I can clearly spot

the similarities between

the legal profession and

the hospitality sector – an

abundance of women

entering, with few reaching

the top. For many years there have been

more women than men graduating with law

degrees; more women being offered training

contracts; and, more women qualifying as

solicitors. This year, for the first time, we

are expecting there to be more women than

men registered as qualified solicitors. It will

be a small margin, but it signifies a further

shift in gender balance within law firms.

Unfortunately, it also highlights the gap we

have between female representation at entry

level and that at the top. For the hospitality

industry, you will know, this is not something

new. The hospitality industry has been

heavily dominated by women for many years

(currently around 60%) but it is finding it as

difficult as the legal profession to balance out

those top jobs, with less than 10% of board

positions taken up by women.

There is now evidence that shows that

companies with a fair representation of

women on their boards benefit greatly from

such diversity. There have been some highprofile

female appointments in the hospitality

industry over the past few years, which is

a positive step; but with recent news that

the level of female appointments to boards

(across all sectors) has slowed down to a rate

below that which we saw between 2012 and




2014, companies need to continue to make

changes to maintain women at a senior level.

The moral arguments for such changes are

self-explanatory; it is obviously just and fair

that women have the same rights as men in the

workplace, but possibly of more significance,

is the strong commercial case for promoting

women to the top. Law firms and hospitality

businesses alike spend a lot of money and

resources training women, and will continue

to do so as more women join the ranks.

At some point between entry and board/

partnership level these women disappear and

with them goes all of their training, skills and

experience. The barriers are often too high and

difficult to manoeuvre and women take their

skills and experience and go elsewhere leaving

a gap in the offering to clients and customers

and a lack of senior female representation for

junior members of staff. For the hospitality

industry, changes within business generally

have a knock-on effect on the industry’s

offering – now, not only do women often make

the decisions around leisure-time activities

with their families but, the same women are

now also running their own businesses, dining

out with business contacts and travelling

for business. So, as the customer base

continues to change, management needs to

be prepared to respond

to their requirements and

a business with a diverse

management is going

to be far better placed

to respond.

There are still many

barriers to women reaching the top of

the hospitality industry, as with the legal

profession, including role stereotypes and

cultural expectations (the most obvious for

both sectors being the expectation of working

long and unsociable hours) which often

breed direct and indirect discrimination.

The journey to the top is made tougher still

when there is a lack of female representation

making it difficult for junior employees to

aspire to be what “they can see”. I, personally,

do not agree with quotas but I do believe that

to choose from the biggest and best pool of

talent we need to take away as many of the

barriers for as many people as possible.

18 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 19




Great people are as important as ever – but finding talent is arguably

as hard as ever. Many today require a new sense of purpose and

they need to be brought into a community. Reinvention can be for

everybody but what support is there for people who lose their way?

Innovation Hub


Amadeus and EP are proud to announce a new Innovation

Hub which is designed to recognise exceptional innovation

in hospitality.

The Hub is a platform for entrepreneurs and SMEs with exciting

companies and concepts they are keen to bring into the highly

competitive hospitality sector.

The Hub is designed to identify the best products, concepts

and solutions in the sector and all types of companies can apply.

This is the chance to present to Amadeus, a leading foodservice

company. They place innovation on the highest priority as they

believe it’s what keeps the industry moving forward.

Finalists will have the chance to present their proposal or

company to Amadeus with the potential to work with the

organisation and receive mentoring and an opportunity to

knowledge share with our senior operators. This a unique

opportunity and the experience gained will be of huge benefit.

Entries have until 30th September 2017 to apply for the award.

Those entering must summit:

l Description of their company – 500 words max

l Their business plan

l How they deliver their concept or product – 500 words max

l Reasons why they would work well in Amadeus –

1000 words max

l What makes them unique – 500 words max

An independent panel will select the shortlist who will then

be invited to ‘pitch’ their concept or company to a select

group of judges. Pitches will take place in late October with

the results announced in early November. This is an incredible

opportunity to put a new concept or company in front of an

experience innovative leading company. It is a great way to

connect with Amadeus and share ideas and challenges within

the hospitality industry.

It is said that we are living through a

second industrial (digital) revolution which

is changing work patterns and productivity

just as much the original one.

Finding talent is arguably as hard as

ever and may get harder yet. Therefore it is

important that we make the most of existing

talent and help people that sometimes lose

their way or becomes stale. Reinvention or

simply adjusting and changing can renew a

person’s sense of purpose.

It is argued that everybody will change as

they travel along the career road. Careers

today are journeys and there needs to be

a focus on the development of the mind,

thought processes and creativity. Too many

boards are arguing that their people are too

narrow in the focus and not helping create

change agendas. Is it fair to suggest that it is

not people but business processes that are the

barrier? There needs to be greater innovation

in terms of freeing up talent and supporting

skills to change and adjust to conditions.


In April EP brought together many senior

players from across the Hospitality and

Sporting worlds to discuss Reinvention.

During dinner at The May Fair in London,

the core argument of people innovation was

explored – the need to redevelop skills and

maximise talent. It is now important that

organisations plan and make the most of

human assets that lie within their business.

Often the talent is there but needs support.

Is it time businesses innovate their people

so they can change, reinvent themselves and

add greater value?

From the evening the hard truth became

clear – we all need to change as we travel

along the career road. Careers today are

journeys and there needs to be a focus on the

development of the mind, thought processes

and creativity. In an age where digitization

is becoming increasingly controlling and

important to the daily work life, the most

important area of innovation lies with people.

There are barriers to new leadership

and new solutions. Hospitality especially

possesses great people and now is the time to

invest in their innovation and also reinvention. >



epmagazine.co.uk | 21


Reinvention at London’s May Fair Hotel

Speakers on the night included Simon Halliday, a former England

Rugby player (double Grand Slam winner in 1991 and 1992) but also

a Director within Lehman Brothers at the time of the crash, who has

reinvented himself and his career in a completely new direction.

All American Swimmer turned CNN reporter turned leadership

coach Lynn Blades shared her passionate story and brought real

truth into the conversation. Lynn is the Co-Founder of The F.E.A.S.T.

Project – dedicated to the mission of finding excellence around a

shared table.

Brian Deane provided an insight into what it is really like for

footballers. The English football coach and former player whose most

recent position was as the manager of the Norwegian side Sarpsborg

08, was inspiring for many.

Former GB swimmer turned entrepreneur, Angela Wilson, is now

CEO of Angela’s Swim School. She shared her story of missing out on

an Olympic dream and how she used it to pursue her company goals.

Angela now has 18 franchises which teach over 3000 children a week

and her story touched many.

Matt Church played cricket for Worcestershire and Gloucestershire

and has reinvented himself by becoming a Strength and Conditioning

Coach as a second career and owns Locker 27 – a specialist gym. Matt

shared his views on the cricketing world and what needs to be done to

ensure more are supported.

All shared stories and examples of reinvention and were passionate

about the need to help others reinvent themselves. The evening

included Champagne supplied by Gordon Dadds and wines from The

Sporting Wine Club. >

22 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 23





The NED Panel are proven experts who can support growing business


EP launched The NED Panel this year to support those struggling with

the pace of change and the upcoming challenges. This group of experts

have worked through periods of turbulence and their perspective and

knowledge can only be of value, which younger businesses can use for

their learning. There is a whole bank of knowledge and experience that can

be called upon.






Now it is time a structure is put in place

which can help former sporting players and

also those who need to reinvent themselves

in any industry. Help that has not always


Many industries, including hospitality, are

beginning to measure food waste, the cost of

recruitment, the cost of losing a good person.

However, the amount gained by redeveloping

existing talent is never measured. Now

is the time to do so and the irony is that

often it is not the complex skills that need

redevelopment but the simple social skills:

n Social competence

n How to build strong professional

relationships of value

n The art of conversation and how to

communicate effectively

n How to network and open doors

n How to present oneself

n How to make others feel reassured

and good

n How to think laterally and creatively

n How to be proactive and add value

n How to be problem solvers

It is all these traditional skills that can

make a difference in a career and a life but

not enough time is spent on these skills or

invested in them.

People may talk Hospitality but they need

to breathe it too. Innovation is important but

nothing is more important that freeing up

talent so that it can express itself well and be

effective. There are barriers to new leadership

and new solutions. The sector possesses great

people and now is the time to invest in their

innovation and their reinvention.

EP has pulled together an experienced

team of professionals that can work with

those that need to change and find new

direction. The talent exists for the Industry

to thrive and prosper; there is just a greater

need to focus on the development of skills

sets and broaden thinking.

Many of the NED Panel are from the Baby Boomer generation who led

lives based on actions. They went through a series of crisis including

the three day week in the 1970s, the oil crisis, four recessions, Black

Wednesday, the first Iraq war, the financial crash of 2008 and much more.

The NED Panel is a group of some of Industry’s greatest leaders from over

the past thirty years and who can add real value to emerging businesses

that would like a proven industry player that they can call upon and work

with their boards. Nothing is more important in making decisions than

experience and understanding of market dynamics beyond the workings

of the business.

It is important to call upon proven experience to help guide and support

board decisions in this period of change. Knowledge is an invaluable

commodity for every company.

For more information please contact Ben.Butler@epmagazine.co.uk

24 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 25




Antony Woodcock, Co-founder and Chief Executive

of GIG explains how recruiting temporary staff needs

to change to solve a millennial problem.

The hospitality industry has always

seemed to be at the back of the pack with

regards to innovation and technology.

Like the last guy to be picked at gym class,

it’s desperate to be recognised but never had

enough to offer.

The unique nature of its operational

intricacies, increasing costs and the lack of

a personal service have all played their part

in the industry’s initial reluctance to change

model and adopt. But with new trends and

technology hitting the marketplace at break

neck speed, the industry is being forced

into action. For the first time it seems the

hospitality industry has finally been ‘hitting

the weights’.

The root cause of this change? The

consumer. Third parties have had to step in

to revamp the somewhat dated practices of

the industry, to make independent owner/

operators wake up to the importance of a

digital presence. The likes of Trip Advisor,

Bookings.com and more recently Airbnb, all

disrupted the market and forced the tourism

sector to sit up and pay attention. Deliveroo

has had the same effect on the takeaway food

industry. But how did these industries fail to

spot a threat like this for so long? And what

cost did they face in doing nothing?

When you look at Deliveroo – and also

Uber, for that matter – it’s clear that many

of today’s disruptors achieved their success

by simply understanding and responding to

shifts in consumer behaviour. People wanted

a straightforward mobile experience, at a

competitive rate.

Uber started out as a platform that

enabled users to make extra cash out of an

underutilised asset and became the largest




taxi company on the planet. It was originally

meant for people who had a car but soon

people started buying or leasing a car just so

they could get involved.

The working world is rapidly changing.

A recent McKinsey Global Institute report

showed that between 20 and 30 per cent of

people in the US and Europe are working

independently in the ‘gig economy.’ And this

number of people choosing to live and work

more flexibly is only going to increase. As

a result, one such area undergoing its own

renovation is the temporary staffing agency.

Business in hospitality have long since

adopted the model of recruiting temporary

staff to manage seasonal demand. However

they have been held at ransom by growing

costs with an extreme lack of transparency.

The alternative approach of doing it yourself

however doesn’t leave much to be desired

either – dealing with part time or fixed

term contracts, having to add and remove

staff to the payroll, sort out payslips, deal

with tax, NI, holiday pay and complete a

right to work check to name but a few of the

tasks involved.

Now, for the first time, mobile technology

is helping to create a truly on-demand

service whilst providing greater transparency

around costs and potential staff. Not only

does this technology help to streamline a

very manual industry it also makes it more

accessible again to both business owners and

work seekers.

My brother and I run a sushi store called

Maki. We noticed that most of our employees

were millennials who wanted to work flexibly

to fit earning extra cash around either

their studies or busy social lives. Our trade

increased dramatically over the summer,

which meant having to hire extra staff on

inflexible part-time contracts. Therefore

we created GIG to automate that part of the

process and make it easier for employers like

Maki. On the worker side a lot of our staff

had other more important priorities (studies,

passions etc) and getting people to stick to

their rota’d shifts was always a nightmare so

why force them...let them choose.

GIG is the brainchild of three lifelong

hospitality professionals. We wanted to

create an efficient, cost effective shift based

marketplace. To create a platform that would

work in favour of both the work seeker and

work provider, by focusing on flexibility and

immediacy. The technology we have used has

enabled us to remove unnecessary middle-man

process and connect the business and worker

directly, empowering businesses and workers

to make their own decisions about who to

hire and where, when and who to work for.

Smart companies are those that recognise

that disruption is inevitable and adopt it as

an active business strategy. It’s now time

for industry leaders to recognise that the

modern workforce is looking for flexibility

over and above long-term stability. The

working population is the technology

population, and the opportunity that mobile

technology now offers enables businesses to

rethink their entire staffing strategy.

Don’t leave it too late and pay the price at

a later date. By getting involved now, you can

shape how businesses like GIG will operate.

Innovation, and eventually disruption,

is something that companies either take

control of, or risk facing the consequence

down the line.

26 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 27


‘Employees will be less

committed to organisations

in the future’ – is this true?

Faisel Choudhry MVO, is a rare man and potential future leader

to observe. He is still relatively young with a long road still ahead of

him, but this is a man who believes in learning and being open minded

to change. He has an impressive platform to build his career further

from, having already worked within organisations such as The Bank of

England and The Royal Household. He was appointed as a Member

of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) in the 2015 Birthday Honours

Research from the 2020 Agenda indicates this

may happen, so do businesses need to re-assess

their approach to managing people and teams?

list, and has played active roles within both the Territorial Army (T.A.)

and within the Muslim community.

Faisel’s MBA Dissertation is entitled “Understanding the impact

of leadership and the role of emotional intelligence on organisational

commitment”. The objective was to understand the link between

leadership, emotional intelligence and the role these factors play in an

employee’s commitment to an organisation.

In Hospitality emotional intelligence is an important skill and

yet is not often written about in comparison to other key leadership

attributes such as vision, strategy and commercial acumen. It is for

this reason and the questions that the study poses, that has real value.

Faisel’s dissertation struck a chord as it does focus on a subject area

that EP has been writing much about in recent times – the importance

of Human Capital within a business and whether enough is really

done to develop this asset to maximise its potential. Faisel opens his

work with the comment:

“Increasingly organisations are competing in a global economy,

where competitive advantage through factors such as technology,

patent and product is temporary due to the increased pace of change

and competitiveness. Therefore, organisations need to look inwards,

to determine how they can make better use of the human capital

within their organisations, as increasingly more are reliant upon this

as means of competitive advantage than ever before”

It is the right starting point as there are no few research projects

stating that the percentage of people working on a freelance basis

within the next five years will stand at anything between 40–50%.

One has to wonder how organisations can expect to remain

competitive when it will become harder and harder to communicate,

engage with teams and bring them together to work with increased

commitment to the benefit of the organisation – and this has to be

the heart of the strategy. Regardless of Brexit, Britain needs to be

competitive on the world stage and this can only happen with great

teams working as one on behalf of their business. Surely a freelance

culture threatens to undermine this competitiveness?

One of the most common questions across boards throughout the

country is why are there not more young leaders breaking through and

replacing the baby boom generation?

EP has been debating this point in recent issues and there is a belief

that almost a generation has been lost through the 2000s with the

advances in digitalisation and with increased profitable businesses

until the crash of 2009. We arguably lost almost ten years of leaders

through reductions in training budgets and increases in processes,

technology and the management of risk. The result was that the

Faisel’s dissertation struck a chord

as it does focus on a subject area

that EP has been writing much about

in recent times – the importance

of Human Capital within a business

and whether enough is really done

to develop this asset to maximise

its potential. >


28 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 29


estimated skill set and knowledge of middle management fell by an

estimated 30%. New leaders were simply not being prepared. On top

of that, process and risk management have almost hindered teams

learning and accountability.

Now is the time to re-assess how great teams can be developed and

new leaders nurtured. Britain’s businesses need to be competitive

and this requires a greater and more thoughtful strategic approach

towards the human asset.

And hence the importance of Faisel’s work as it touches on this

subject and is being written by one of the modern emerging leaders.

As part of the research, Faisel interviewed participants from

board level down to senior management level with an almost equal

breakdown in gender (male and female).

So what were the key findings from the study for consideration?

Some of the findings were as one would expect:

n The results demonstrated a direct link between a line manager’s

leadership and positive outcomes such as increased commitment

through positive communication and the opposite being true with a

negative approach.

n Empowerment behaviour had a direct link with increased commitment.

n Training/supportive behaviour linked to positive increase in

commitment/job performance and satisfaction.

n A clarity of vision/direction was shown to have positive effects.

n A direct link between the line manager’s Emotional Intelligence

abilities and increased employee commitment – most especially

expressed via “empathy”.

However, these were supported by a number of thought provoking

and very relevant points for the modern era:

Competitive advantage in today’s world can be gained through

committed employees increasing organisational performance.

Therefore, there is a real need for companies to work harder with

their human capital and through key leadership behaviours and

training seek to improve overall performance.

This is an interesting observation as one can make the argument

this was the bedrock principles of success from the 1980s when

training and the development of the human asset was seen to sit at

the core of business. The Forte Empire is a great example of such a

philosophy. This arguably became lost in the 2000s when Britain

was in a period of a sustained boom, and maybe some of the core

principles that lay in the foundations of business were forgotten and

are only now getting renewed.

The leaders of the 1970s and 80s lived through some dark

days from the three day week to the oil crisis to three recessions.

These were some of the hardest times in post war Britain and

this generation of leader lay their belief in training and the

importance of teams. It is no coincidence that there is a new rising

belief in how the companies can support human capital. However,

the difference is that there is greater awareness of the need for

flexibility and understanding of individuals that play key roles

within organisations. Arguably this is a more complex period of

time with employees of many different cultures and religions,

and therefore there needs to be greater education and emotional

intelligence displayed.

In his work, Faisel notes how leadership theory has evolved and

developed considerably over time. It is true, it has from the days when

the qualities of the leader were analysed to how leaders responded

in differing situations to research on behaviours and functionality,

through to the modern theory of the transactional/transformational

approach to leadership and its further evolution into gender, culture,

integrative and emerging forms. Faisel rightly argues that the

evolution is driven by the macro-environmental factors that leaders

operate within. It all just serves to emphasise the importance that

the HR function can play in the modern business. There has never

been a more important time to develop greater approaches to the

development of talent and teams.

Communication skills are critical to increased commitment.

The communication style should be:

n Authentic

n Clear

n There needs to be a conscious acknowledgement that remote

working should not lead to a decrease in face to face opportunities

n It is simply not enough for an organisation to produce a vision

statement. It must be an active part of an employee’s day-to-day

interaction with and for the organisation.

n Through empowerment, it is important that managers encourage

employees to take risks and not to create a blame culture.

n Training/supportive behaviours are critical to commitment.

Organisations need to have formal structured yet flexible training


n Treating employees as individuals.

n Organisations need to understand that whilst Emotional

Intelligence (EI) can be taught, it is not an easy process. There is a

need for self-awareness within management.

Faisel writes: “As all individuals are unique, so too are their needs.

Leaders must adapt their style and behaviours accordingly and

those leaders with EI will be best placed to do this through greater

levels of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and

social skill to develop and inspire their employee’s commitment,

thus leading to increased productivity and in the end, to personal and

organisational success.”

One of the aspects that make Faisel’s work stand out is that at its

heart it lies with the pursuit of knowledge. He writes:

“You should be more knowledgeable today than you were yesterday,

and more knowledgeable tomorrow than you are today, since if you do

not make some improvements on a daily basis, in effect you are going

backwards; the world would have changed and improved and you

would not have progressed accordingly”

One of the other great debates that has been going on is the challenge

in managing Millennials in comparison to the skills and behaviours

possessed by the Baby Boom generation. Arguably the Baby Boom

generation was driven more by an action culture that reflected the

ethos of the 1980s being about personal responsibility and personal

accountability. It was about creating actions to power growth in wealth

and the economy. It was Thatcher’s ethos. It wasn’t all good; it wasn’t

all bad but for a period of time it was very effective. This generation has

led the industry for close to twenty years very successfully. Their legacy

is safe and secure as having been at the heart of a golden era.

The problem is, this is a different era with a different ethos. The

emerging generations do look at life in a very different way – one

where knowledge and community sit at the heart. Faisel is an example

of this new breed. Faisel is certainly not afraid of actions having

worked hard to build his career, complete his MBA whilst working

and playing a role in mentoring other young leaders. He is as action

focused as anyone. The difference is that his outlook is different and at

the heart lies a desire to learn and improve.

The Millennials have taken some intense criticism in recent

times – some of it is fair, they do often lack the life skills that the

Baby Boomers naturally possessed but is this their fault or have they

been more protected in their developmental years? However, this is

also one of the first generations to emerge from University with debt

and they view life with, not concern or stress, but a greater belief in

knowledge, globalisation, community and social agenda. There is a

belief in the good from capitalism being combined with the good from

social agendas to create new solutions.

The whole concept really started growing again in the mid to late

1990s and great examples include:

n The Eden project

n John Lewis Partnership

n The Big Issue

n Co-op

n Cafedirect >

30 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 31



becoming lost because they lack some of the essential skills needed

for professional growth. Those who possess strong networking skills

are in many ways more successful at reinventing themselves – an

experience which can make a real difference in a career and in a life.

Often not enough time is spent or invested in the core skills required.

For the industry to thrive and prosper there is a greater need to focus

on the development of skill sets and broadening thinking.

The underlying point is that this has been a growing development

since the advent of Tony Blair and a more social conscience from

the mid-90s and the emerging talent are only a product of this age.

The real need is for business to understand the emerging generations

and to develop new flexible approaches to maximise the exceptional

potential that sits within.

As Faisel would remark – this is a time when Knowledge can

be king.


We can do more to support good talent grow.

Profile of Faisel Choudhry

A survey conducted for the Social Enterprise Unit in 2004 found

that there were 15,000 social enterprises in the UK. This was 1.2% of

all enterprises in the UK. They employed 450,000 people, of whom

two-thirds are full-time, plus a further 300,000 volunteers. Their

combined annual turnover is £18 billion and the median turnover

is £285,000, of this, 84% is from trading. In 2006, the government

revised this estimate upwards to 55,000, based on a survey of a sample

of business owners with employees, which found that 5% of them

define themselves as social enterprises. The most up to date estimates

suggest that there are approximately 78,000 social enterprises in the

UK, contributing £24 billion to the UK economy.

Using the EU definition of social economy, the annual contribution

of social enterprises to the UK economy is four times larger at £98

billion because it includes the contribution of all co-operatives,

mutuals and associations that produce goods or services to improve

human well-being.

The rise of the social enterprise is just one example that shows the

changing nature of business between generations. Emerging leaders

such as Faisel have recognised the changes and appreciate that they

need to be made. Today, perhaps more so than ever before, people are

Faisel undertook his first role working at the Houses of

Parliament for a Shadow Cabinet Minister aged 14, this first

foray into the working world of Central Government sparked his

interest and passion for Public Service.

At age 15 he began his first paid employment working for a

small computer company in the West End (Tottenham Court

Road) beginning in the Sales team, whilst undertaking his GCSE’s

and progressing to General Manager at 18 during his A-Levels.

After graduating Faisel’s formal career began at The Royal

Household in 2002 as a Technical Specialist, and progressed

through several roles into management positions within

Technology during his 12.5 years at the organisation.

In 2012 Faisel undertook a part time Executive MBA at

Henley Business School to further his understanding of strategic

business thinking and to build upon his leadership skillset, whilst

continuing full time employment. He also became a Chartered

Manager of the Chartered Management Institute and was the

second youngest member, who was both a Chartered Manager

and Fellow of the Institute.

In 2015 Faisel began employment at the Bank of England

within the Technology Directorate, managing a team of approx.

60 staff leading on the customer service aspect of IT, and

contributing to the Bank’s mission to promote the good of the

people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary and

financial stability. Faisel is currently undertaking a secondment to

the HR Directorate to broaden his organisational HR knowledge.

Faisel also gives annual talks on leadership and personal

development to a select number of aspiring young Muslim

leaders at Oxford University, as part of the Oxford Centre for

Islamic Studies. As an alumnus of the Young Muslim Leadership

Programme, Faisel has spoken since 2010 at the programme

setup in cooperation with The Prince’s Charities.

The One & All Foundation was founded

to support all talent, regardless of origin,

background, gender, sexual orientation,

or age. Talent is talent. We want great talent

to be nurtured and encouraged and the

traditional barriers to be stripped away.

The One & All Foundation has been

developed to ensure that every individual can

fulfil their potential in an open, diverse and

dynamic hospitality industry. We believe

in inclusivity.

It’s a fact: Times are changing. Society is

changing. The workforce has already changed.

It has been proven that those organisations

that are the most inclusive produce greater

results. This is not just about great people but

great business, great service, and great teams.

One & All is charged with empowering

individuals to change and grow; to maximise

their potential. We will achieve this through

mentors and coaching; through bespoke

programmes centred on individuals.

We will celebrate case studies of those

that have broken through barriers and glass

ceilings. These case studies and people

stories can be the inspiration for others and

create the strength for change.

Our goal is simple –

To let talent grow and allow good people to

achieve great work through their everyday

choices and behaviour.

Hospitality is an international industry

that excites almost everyone in one form or

another. This can only happen through our

people. We need great people. It is time to

end once and for all the discussions about

a lack of good people, lack of leaders, a

lack of skills. Instead, we need to focus on

developing talent of all types.

Please come and work with us to achieve

our goal – One Industry, All People.

What can you do to support another to

achieve success?

Contact details: To find out more about

the One and All Foundation please

contact Ben.Butler@epmagazine.co.uk


32 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 33





EP speaks to Marguerite Velay, Winnow’s Client Success

Manager about her experience within the hospitality world and

the role of technology to reduce food waste in the sector.

Winnow is on a mission to help the hospitality industry cut down

on food waste by making the kitchen ‘smarter.’ They connect

commercial kitchens to the cloud allowing them to record and analyse

exactly what is put in the bin. A team of dedicated and passionate

professionals are behind this, but what are the main benefits

and challenges of using technology to drive behaviour changes in

the kitchen?

With an in-depth knowledge of customers and extensive domain

expertise, Marguerite Velay, has changed people’s mentality on food

waste. Consequently, she has helped restaurants, hotels and caterers

become more efficient and profitable. During a training session in a

kitchen site located in London, she shared some of her insights.

Where did your hospitality career begin?

It all started when I became a waitress at Hotel Amour, a trendy

restaurant located in the heart of Paris, a favourite spot of many

celebrities. I had finished school and I wanted to gain experience and

savings to spend during

a trip to Australia and

North America. I ended

up gaining a lot more

than money and during

my time. I learned about

the importance of guidance and communication in a busy workspace.

I enjoyed working close to customers, and I was amazed at how

everyone knows each other on the Parisian restaurant scene. I realised

that hospitality is tight knit community all over the world.

How did you find yourself doing what you do now?

I went to Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, the most renowned hospitality

school in Switzerland. During my four years I became the President of

the university’s Student Social Responsibility Committee. I focused

mainly in waste management, and we worked very hard to make sure

an efficient waste sorting system was put in place across the campus.

We also planned events to raise awareness on food consumption and

“Chefs can’t put a value against

the food wasted daily.”

soft mobility among students. Following graduation, I moved to India;

I had fallen in love with the country and found the best way to know it

would be to live like a local.

In Mumbai, I managed a French cafe for over a year, where I was

in charge of leading a team of 35 people. One of my great challenges

was to make sure we were producing European food using only local

ingredients. I then acquired additional operational experience as a

Banqueting Manager at the Grand Hotel Kempinski in Geneva.

After these diverse experiences I wanted to find a job that would

involve waste management and hospitality. I found this perfect match

when joining Winnow!

How does Winnow’s technology impact the hospitality

industry and waste reduction efforts?

Winnow’s technology has disrupted the market in three ways.

First, it has helped the hospitality sector take notice of the big issue

of food waste. Second, it has helped change behaviour in the kitchen.

Often, Winnow is the

first piece of technology

to be introduced and it

is interesting to see the

kitchen staff embedding

it into their daily

routine. Finally, Winnow’s detailed report is the first tool capable of

giving chefs the information to make them drive change and reduce

food waste.

What’s the biggest challenge?

I believe that the biggest challenge is always convincing the team

that technology will help their operations, allowing them to

optimise the time spent in their kitchen. We frequently notice that

overproduction is one of the main reasons for food waste in the

hospitality sector. Once the issue is identified, the kitchen team save

time by reducing the amount of food prepared and preventing it from

ending up in the bin.

How do you achieve the collective

buy-in of the kitchen team to use

Winnow’s technology?

We ask the kitchen staff if they have any data

about their food waste. Typically, Chefs can’t

put a value against the food wasted daily.

After we show them how much food is wasted

and the impact that it has on the business,

their behaviour changes. In addition, we

identify leaders in the kitchen, select them as

Champions and teach them how to keep the

rest of the team engaged and motivated.

What feedback do you receive from clients?

It is always very interesting when I hear

that after receiving our reports, a team

has found out that two thirds of the waste

happens before the food reaches the

customers’ plates. Often, they believe that

the majority of the waste comes from their

customers leaving food on their plates. Our

reports typically reveal that pre-consumer

waste is much higher.

Which project has made the most

difference to date?

I can identify two different projects. One

was a very small kitchen where the entire

team did not believe that food was being

wasted. They didn’t believe it was possible

to reduce waste, due to the challenges of

working in such a small environment.

The team ended up reducing 25% of its

food waste.

The second project took place in a very

large kitchen where the staff were wasting a

great amount of food due to poor operational

control and limited staff engagement.

It is very difficult to manage a large kitchen,

but the head chef eventually came on board

and cut food waste by more than 50%.

As the result, this client had a very good

return on investment.

What’s your advice for hotels looking

to reduce food waste?

What gets measured, gets managed. It is

important to know the volume of the waste,

and calculate its value. Also, to reduce food

waste on the long term, it is essential to

understand what is the reason for it.

34 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 35


When was the last time you saw yourself

as creative? As a child when you built a

cubby house or created something fun out

of raw materials? Or when you did an A

Level in Art as part of your broad-spectrum

education before tapering off into a ‘sensible’

career option at university? Make no

mistake, hospitality is full of creatives; a

tag often given to chefs and other artistes

in the spotlight of the food and beverage

world. Particularly in the UK, the cultural

focus on the arts as an industry, as inspiring

and fabulous as it is, often results in the

conclusion that these are the creative icons of



So much is focused on the importance of creativity

when leading change. Little is often said about what it

really takes to build this aspect of a leader’s mindset.

Heather Gibson, Managing Director at Pendulum

Partnership explains how in three steps.

the universe and the rest of us are just getting

on with the logical, pragmatic and realistic.

Unfortunately, this perception is a serious

impediment to meeting the challenge of

disruption head on and needs to change,

urgently and forever.

First things first: we are all creative. Oh

yes, we are. The key point is that we have not

developed the ability to align our creative

attributes with our work lives. The reason?

It’s all to do with the progressive loss of

individuality that is drummed into us as we

evolve our careers. Oh yes, it is. If you have

that nagging feeling you have kept quiet

too long, just gone with the flow or simply

raced along on the promotional journey to

something bigger, better and fast, I think

you might be wondering what happened to

the real you right about now in this sea of

ambiguity and disruption. For now is the

time to dispense with these etiquettes and

accept the point that there is no boundary

with work and life; these two facets are

intrinsically linked and we have been

dumbing down our real selves to ‘get ahead’

to varying degrees for a long time.

Take health and fitness as a wonderful

contrast to the world of work. No boundaries


here for those prone to the pursuit of

excellence including the ability to develop

terrific resilience and focus. That blood

pumping, adrenalin inducing challenge

is a gateway to seeing yourself in all your

potential glory and requires problem-solving,

incremental progression and ambitious goals

to be successful. Apply this to work and you

have essentially cracked the code. In this

space, there are no limits: you push yourself

forward no matter what, and this is exactly

what it takes to bring creativity to leading

change. So, it’s time to stop kidding ourselves

about the work, life, balance, different facefor-work

mantra that you’ve been believing

and practising, to some extent, your whole

working life.

The essence of values based change is

that the problem is, you don’t know what

the problem is. This doesn’t mean change

is unattainable, it means that the outcomes

you get are never necessarily the ones you

intended and that the variables coming your

way are unknown. It is a calling card for

leadership that is completely emotionally

engaged and passionate, curious as to

the inevitable curve

balls and constantly

problem solving to

make choices in any

range of circumstance.

Your mindset needs to

be focused, but aligned

with your individual

interpretation of the why of change. A bit

of your soul needs to become part of the

journey and this lightbulb going on will push

you to build the energy, pace and adaptability

needed to drive towards the future state.

To develop creativity a leader needs to work

way through a degree of unlearning and build a

new mindset aligned to a wholly new paradigm:

1Accept, understand and be cognisant of

the amazing, beautiful human you are.

We need these unique qualities to be worn

openly and honestly every single day you

front up to lead in the world of change.

It’s the differences in our stories and the

qualities we have as a result of our journey

that brings creativity into a new leadership

paradigm. It’s not about perfection; it’s about

the ways in which you have twisted and

turned throughout life that provides your

anchor of authenticity, and really does give

you the tools needed to lead successfully.

Intuition, compassion, humanity and a voice.

Just stop and think about what this means to

you for a minute (or two).

You are in a constant state of

transformation. Think back to how you

have changed your life since the onset of

the global financial crisis and the events

that have taken place; I bet you feel busier,

more challenged and more frenetic. But

with the hindsight of the past decade or so,

also a little more fulfilled, more realistic,

even a bit more driven with purpose. This

forced transformation has made us wiser

and allowed us to be reminded of the

positive and negative elements of life. The

positives will undoubtedly be the result of

human connections, both personally and

professionally. Learning from each other

and building a platform of trust to move

ahead to strive towards being a sustainable

organisation, regardless of disruption.




2Stop apologising. Grasp the lessons and

tell your story in your passionate voice.

To effectively lead change, you need

complete mental clarity. This starts

with aligning your personal story of

transformation to interpret the why

of change and to be empowered to

communicate intelligently and often. Never

forget that people buy people and often just

want to know what you think: you don’t have

to have all the answers. You also don’t need

to apologise; in fact, the real requirement

is just “let ‘em have it”. Spare yourself the

academics of story-telling: just say it because

there is no excuse for ignorance anymore.

Creativity begins by unlocking

psychological barriers so that there is

no preconceived filter with what you are

thinking and what you know needs to be said.

Emotionally intelligent communication

is important, but the real need is to do

what’s right. Manifest transparency: your

voice is what is needed to lead change and

authenticity is critical.

3Plan for the crisis scenario as the norm,

game changers and all. Don’t deny

the possibilities and break down mental

barriers to get stuff done regardless. You

will make progress.

Practice the breakdown of scenarios as a

daily habit. Go there. See the crisis scenario

and play it out in your mind. How will you

deal with it? This is where collaboration

and connections come to the forefront. An

ongoing discussion and debate of change is

vital; even without knowing all the variables,

a constant dialogue will help to flag potential

disruptors from a number of perspectives.

You can’t do it alone and reframing your

perspective is a necessary habit to form a

creative mindset.

Creativity starts and ends with mindset and

the ability to break down barriers and get stuff

done. By envisioning

the why of change and

taking ownership for

communicating the

story, you are building

clarity and helping to

define a problem in

a way that it can be

managed. Leading change is like breaking

down a wall with the tiniest ice pick you

have ever seen. Keep chipping away and

eventually you will get the break through, but

this will come because you have not stopped

communicating and interpreting what is

happening around you, day in, day out.

A leader’s mind needs to be malleable

to the nuances and abject disruptors of

change to grasp the links between external

variables and organisational strategy, to

reframe and reinterpret the next move.

This is why leadership is the next creative

industry. An organisation’s ability to change

is the ultimate business opportunity and

competitive advantage; the journey never

ends and creativity is essential to build a

sustainable future.

36 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 37




With job reinvention through technology

and automation increasing, human

aspects are becoming more important

than ever. Deloitte surveyed more than

10,000 HR executives from 140 countries in

their report, ‘Global Human Capital Trends’.

The findings showed that the workplace shift

is having big consequences across the talent

management spectrum, from learning and

management to executive recruiting.

It is somewhat

unsurprising that talent

is in the middle of the

current changes taking

place in organisations.

HR and business leaders

are trying to stay ahead

and according to the

survey – 90 per cent

of them say building

the ‘organisation of

the future’ is their top

priority. To get there,

the workplace has to

evolve – from focusing on

networks of teams and

recruiting to developing

the right people.

Every business in some shape or form has

experienced a radical work transformation

– whether digitally with social media,

demographically or in other ways. In the report,

Deloitte issues a call-to-action for companies

to completely reconsider their organisational

structure, talent and HR strategies to keep

up with the disruption taking place.

A large workforce survey was recently conducted by Deloitte

to discover what is happening in the world of work. The findings were

startling and showed that talent acquisition is becoming one of the

biggest concerns facing companies. EP explores why Deloitte believe

a radical transition is already underway.










Keeping pace

Technology is advancing at unprecedented

rates and these innovations are completely

transforming the way people live, work and

communicate. Organisations must now shift

their mind-set and behaviours to ensure they

can lead, organise, motivate, manage and

engage the 21st century workforce.

New organisational models highlight the

need for a networked world of work, but the

report states HR leaders

are struggling to keep

up, with only 35 per

cent of them rating their

capabilities as ‘good’ or

‘excellent’. Technology,

artificial intelligence,

and robotics are all

transforming business

models and work, to

remain competitive,

organisations must keep up.

Has the search for

talent really improved?

As the workforce

evolves, organisations

are focusing on networks of teams, and

recruiting and developing the right people

is more consequential than ever. Deloitte

survey respondents point to talent

acquisition as one of the biggest issues

organisations face, with 81 per cent of

companies citing it as ‘very important’ or

‘important’. Technology is used by leaders

to bring talent into a company but there is a

lack of differentiated employee experiences

once they are acquired. Linked to this is a

desire for a more personalised approach and

a rising weariness of job boards and the more

transactional approach that recruitment has

become. It is one of the fascinating lessons of

the present era – companies are experiencing

a new digital age which increases the speed

of communication and makes the world

transparent but there is still a desire for

good old fashioned personal representation

and advice.

It is all natural. If one is seeking to appoint

a senior executive, one wants confidentiality,

discretion and some real thought in

the process. However the last decade

has changed the traditional search and

recruitment consultancy to becoming more

transactional and less personal.

The pendulum is now swinging back and

for good reason. However it is swinging back

with a difference. One of the most common

discussion pieces over the last decade is why

hasn’t more talent broken through and taken

leadership roles. The natural place to look

at is the talent itself but that is there and

some exceptional talent seeking to break

through. So the barrier is not the talent

but how business has changed. The digital

age has made companies focus on greater

process, and compliance coupled with the

management of risk. Companies have never

been better technically managed. However

talent is struggling to break through.

Shifting priorities

The desires of job candidates are also

changing with culture and flexibility topping

the list of preferences. Organisations need

talented employees to drive strategy and

achieve goals, but finding, recruiting and

retaining people is becoming more difficult.

According to the report, taking an

integrated approach to building the

employee experience, with a large part

centred on ‘careers and learning,’ rose to

second place on HRs’ and business leaders

priority lists, with 83 per cent of those

surveyed ranking it as ‘important’ or ‘very

important’. Now a higher premium must be

placed on immersive learning experiences

to develop leaders who can thrive in

today’s digital world and appeal to a diverse

workforce needs.

The importance of leadership as a driver

of the employee experience remains strong

according to the survey. The percentage of

companies with experiential programs for

leaders rose nearly 20 percentage points

from 47 per cent in 2015 to 64 per cent in

2016. However there is still a crucial need for

stronger and different types of leaders.

As organisations become more digital,

leaders should consider disruptive


technologies for every aspect of their human

capital needs. Deloitte found that 56 per

cent of companies are redesigning their HR

programs to leverage digital and mobile tools.

Reinventing jobs

The trends in the Deloitte report show

signs of reinvention on all fronts, including

jobs themselves. They found 41 per cent

of respondents reported having fully

implemented or having made significant

progress in adopting cognitive and AI

technologies within their workforce.

However only 17 per cent of global

executives reported they are ready to manage

a workforce with people, robots and AI

working side by wide – the lowest readiness

level for a trend in the five years of the survey.

It is important to note that empathy,

communication and problem solving are

still seen as essential aspects of work. These

human aspects are becoming more important

than ever before. The insights and capabilities

of employees are now also needed with only

eight per cent reporting they have usable

data. With a lack of knowledge of talent,

organisations may lack the understanding

that can drive performance.

So has the definition of work changed?

Fundamentally it hasn’t but it is constantly

evolving and organisations need to be

aware and ready to adapt to the changing

conditions. The Deloitte surveyed raised

many values points and argued that

organisations face a radically shifting content

for the workforce, the workplace, and the

world of work. Businesses must focus on

getting better at organising, managing,

developing and aligning their people at work.

The report should be taken as a call to

action for HR and business leaders as a

number of converging issues are driving the

need to ‘rewrite the rules’. Technology is

advancing, individuals are relatively quick

to react to innovation but organisations are

at a slower pace. There are gaps and now

organisations must adapt to technology,

help their people adapt to new models of

work and careers, and help the company as a

whole adapt and encourage positive change

in all aspects.

38 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 39


A challenger mentality

in a traditional space

etc. venues – typical event space business or entrepreneurial disruptor?





communication.” Alastair says in one of the colourful open spaces

at County Hall. “We believe we operate in a position between

the established hotel and serviced office groups competing for

the meetings market. Increasingly we have been targeting larger

conferences and events and believe this space can add significantly

to our presence in the events market.”

Starting life as the answer to a frustrating lack of quality training

spaces, etc. venues was the answer for those who craved more

than a boring room with a flip board and marker pens. The business

has grown from its first venue, Avonmouth House in South London, to

comprise a collection of venues. Today, training and conference needs

are continuously changing – both for the event planner and event

attendee. With an apparent abundant supply of venue space, what

must a modern company do to ensure their secure business?

etc. venues would argue that it has a challenger brand mentality,

an unusual approach for a leadership team from mostly corporate

backgrounds. ‘Disruptors’ change how a business in a market thinks,

behaves and goes about its day-to-day activities. etc. venues is moving

its strategy by recognising that a different generation of delegates

has very different needs to their parents, who typically went off to the

countryside for their training courses. So by amending its approach,

has etc. venues become an entrepreneurial player? Can a core team

from a corporate background become destructive and creative in a

changing arena?

Alastair Stewart’s manner is relaxed but confident in etc. venues

latest venue, County Hall, the famous imposing building on the south

bank of the River Thames. Surrounded by a large expanse of restored

original parquet floor, he speaks with the assurance of a man in charge

of a company that has quadrupled in size since he arrived in 2006.

Backed by private equity, Alastair has overseen the growth of the

business into a leading conference brand. It has been a special journey

and the core team has unusually been together for 10 years now.

Finance Director Paul Keen arrived shortly after 2006 –Buy in Buy

out – to join Margaretha Welsford, Director of Sales, who was already

with etc, Iain Dix, Director of Property & Projects, Dominic James,

Director of County Hall and Guy Booth, Director of Operations –

all following Alastair from Initial Style Conferences to etc.venues.

It is this team that’s playing the disruptor game and this year they

are, according to Alastair, stepping up to the next level with their

latest openings.

What have been the challenges for a team that have been together

for this long? “Paul Keen came from outside the venue industry and

that has been the key to challenging some of the norms that can block

innovation and new ideas. We have a very healthy level of debate and

challenge between us, but when the brainstorming period ends and

we make a decision, everyone unites behind a common goal.”

“The business has always kept to the mandate of being a

B2B specialist who brings people together around a mission of

Steady growth

The journey since 2006 has seen sales increase from £9m to £43m in

2016, – hosting some 15,000 events and 660,000 delegates. “We have

been successful but there have of course been challenges along the

way.” Alastair admits. “When the financial crisis hit the training world,

many companies had to change their strategies. Despite the cutbacks,

we found a silver lining in some companies stopping away days

with overnight stays in the country and switching to the city centre.

Our offer became more appealing because with no relevant status,

a company could use our services and not be seen in the same way as

the equivalent in a five star hotel.”

County Hall venue is memorable, which must be one of the

essential requirements that event planners seek. It provides a talking

point with views over the river Thames and towards the Houses of

Parliament. The building includes the London Sea Life Aquarium,

London Dungeon, a Marriott Hotel and several restaurants.

The fourth floor, where etc.venues is based, has unusually been

unoccupied since the 1980s. “The landlord has been waiting for the >

40 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 41


Specialised Accountants

& Business Advisors to

the Hotel Industry

From detailed reporting to a fully

outsourced finance function, Ecovis

harnesses expert industry knowledge,

experience and leading technology to

deliver information and advice you can act


right company to come along and add to his vision of making the

building come alive. Our objective of making this a top London space

matched this ambition.” Alastair explains. Their plan is to establish

the new site as a key competitor in the Westminster market and follow

this by positioning themselves as a brand that can provide prestigious

events at any time or day. It is clear where Alastair wants to drive

the company.

During this time of change the core philosophy of customised

event solutions has never wavered. Alastair and the team want to

transform their spaces

for what clients actually

want and County Hall

supports this approach.

“The millennial

generation no longer

wants to journey out to

the country and spend a few days away from home, especially if

there’s poor public transport and limited Wi-Fi. There has been

a structural shift where attendees want a quicker experience. At

the same time the event planners role is changing. Fundamentally

it is the same job but they are under increasing pressure to find

something different and our role is to go beyond their expectations.

With social media before, during and after events, the feedback

is instantaneous.”




It has also been important for etc.venues to try and match the

delegate expectation of an experience. “They don’t want to sit

and listen to a speaker all day. We must help an event come to life.

Whether that’s networking on arrival, live twitter feeds or throwable

microphone pods. The ratio of conference space to breakout space

has changed. County Hall’s 20 rooms can match this desire and with

smaller spaces it can feel more personal.”

Expansion is set to continue and their first venue in Manchester

opens soon. However Alastair in a bold move is increasingly looking

further afield. “London

is world leading in this

market but we keep

a close eye on what is

taking place in New

York and Paris. I believe

that younger millennial

delegates are seeking different spaces for their training, meetings and

events. These new trends bring further opportunity for collaboration.”

Alastair’s 20 year corporate background now blends with his last 10

years as an entrepreneurial disruptor. He and his team are carving a

niche in the market where they are a contradiction to what is expected

of an established player. They are simply business people who seek

to utilise the best of both corporate and entrepreneurial skillsets to

delivers some of the sector’s best growth and performance.

Outsourcing the finance function was a completely new concept for the business,

Ecovis bought a new dynamic to the team which strengthened internal controls. I was

particularlly impressed with the effort made by the team in engaging with the business

in various locations, rather than working remotely. Ecovis showed commitment at all

levels and their support went beyond the accounting and finance.

Head of Finance, International Hotel Group

Robert McCann

Hospitality Partner

0207 495 2244



42 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 43




The biggest developments in technology are about

to happen, but is the industry ready?

The potential impact of technology is the cause for debate in

many communities. Today there is little doubt that technology

has an influence on most aspects of the sector as new forms of tech

continue to grow and adapt at speed. However adopting the right type

at the right time is where the difficulties lie. There is a vast range of

products and services available which vary from conceptual stage to

the very real. They are also diverse – from food to sleep to shelter to

work to entertainment to health to transportation. What should the

hospitality industry monitor?

Invisible technology

The integration of “invisible” technologies that guests can’t directly

see but still interact with is driving some developments which create

compelling new product experiences. Voice control is a core part

of this, as is AI with its deep learning that allows for a combination

of sensors and connectivity. A hotel room that can remember what

a guest likes and how it looks might no longer seem an idea for the

future, but possibly in the next couple of years.


It may seem obvious, but having the correct key hardware

components behind the scenes allows for the latest forms of tech

products to work in the sector. The experience with a product

ultimately determines its success, but the hardware plays the critical

role. Without the right mechanisms, new types of tech products

simply won’t operate correctly. In an age where travellers and

guests are connected with multiple devices, they require Wi-Fi that

won’t slow them down. Smartwatches, tablets and phones all require

the reliability of good Wi-Fi and if working correctly make the guest

more comfortable. Free Wi-Fi is now an essential need for groups

booking meeting space but the infrastructure for putting it in all

spaces can be very expensive. However the return on investment

for a business can be worth the investment. A stress free experience

enables the relationship between an organisation and customer

to grow, so having the right hardware to provide the service is an

essential need.

Reusing old tech

Many people talk of experiences, style and trends going full circle and

this may be happening now with technology. The technology industry

is adopting retro trends which we have witnessed with the rise of

vinyl in the music industry. Older TVs and PCS are now being reused

as are other no-longer-used technology’s such as overhead projectors

which are being revisited and renewed. They create conversation

pieces and can form a community who are keen to ‘save’ these

compelling older products.

3D Printers

3D printing has made strides in other industries such as construction

and the fashion sector, with some designers exploring how clothes

can be printed. Whilst experimental, they are testing the limits of

3D-printing technology and now Filaflex, a Spanish-made filament

that’s more pliable than its hard plastic competitors, is being used

for clothes. The bendable textile opens up a world of possibility.

Projecting these experiments further, the hotel room of the future

may include a 3D printer so guests can print out clothes, forgotten

items or simply enjoy the novelty.

Media walls

Whilst not a new form of technology, walls of frameless screens

that appear to be one large screen are being adopted by some

organisations in hospitality. The ability to play separate videos or

combined to display one video or logo are appealing for event bookers,

especially those who interact with social media and want to display

live Twitter feeds.

Digital tailoring

Made-to-measure tailoring is being developed with augmented

reality technology. Clothes are designed in real time and viewed on a

mobile device with the garment shown on a 3D avatar representing a

customer. Clients can choose the fabric and create a whole outfit in an

interactive setting. This opens up many opportunities for hotel guests

who may have clothes designed within their room or at the extreme

have a new wardrobe sent directly to their hotel, safe in the knowledge

that it fits perfectly and is exactly what they want.


With AI and chatbots taking over from the automated customer

service calling systems, the level of understanding will create a more

effective experience. Smart devices can learn a person’s patterns


and preferences, so it should make better and more accurate

suggestions and recommendations. Linked to automation is drone

delivery which is undergoing wide-scale testing, especially by firms

such as Amazon. The scope of possibilities for drones may change

many F&B operation models.

Pervasive computers

Computing, through PCs, smartphones, wearables and cards will

become more pervasive according to some technology experts. It

has been argued by Intel that by 2020 the world will have 50 billion

connected devices and 200 billion connected sensors. This will create

massive amounts of data and the industry must be ready.

Smart bandages

The medical technology market is forecast to exceed $500 billion in

sales by 2021. Therefore it is no surprise that Swansea University’s

Institute of Life Science are focusing on health technology.

Researchers are now developing ‘smart bandages’ which can

detect how a wound is healing and communicate with doctors. The

5G-powered dressing also monitors what treatment is needed and

tracks the wearer’s activity levels. The project is part of a $1.6 billion

deal which aims to turn Swansea into a 5G test hub. The cellular

network boasts higher speed and capacity and is expected for largescale

deployment in 2019.

Future leaders

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is now ranked as one of the

world’s most effective business leaders. This year Fortune, the

multinational business magazine, announced their findings of their

annual list of World’s Great Leaders. Together with a panel of experts

they found that the visionary and risk-taking Elon is among the

greatest leaders. The billionaire entrepreneur employs 35,000 people

and with Tesla he aims to achieve a carbon-emissions-free world. For

SpaceX, the aerospace start-up, this was founded to lower the cost of

space transportation and ultimately enable the colonisation of Mars.

The rate of digital advancement with automation, big data, emerging

technologies and cyber security will also pose a significant challenge

for future leaders. It will be interesting to observe if many of the

leaders of tomorrow come from the technology world or if Elon is a

rare civic-minded voice.

It is important to monitor developments as they become more

recognised and the true capabilities are explored. However, as ever

in hospitality, the human aspect must never be overlooked. Personal

communication has grown stronger with the rise of certain types of

technology and many will make sure automation never gets to the

point where it runs their lives. What’s clearer today is that future

leaders must be able to use technological change to their advantage, to

lead effectivity and look how to maximise the business and create vale

in an inter-connected society.

44 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 45




The world of work is shifting and contract, temporary, freelance and

casual models are growing. With human capital at a premium, do

full-time employers need to focus on encouraging retention or adapt

the traditional working week?

Recently the Grove of Narberth hotel has

introduced a four-day working week for its

kitchen staff to improve the workforce’s

employment conditions. It is a curious

change to the traditional model and one

which has opened up the debate of what’s fair

for people and business.

The Pembrokeshire-based country

house has reduced the hours of its kitchen

team to achieve a better work life balance

and improve staff retention. At the time

the owner argued staff have had a raw deal

working long shifts, so the reduction of

hours would create a happy and energised

workforce. It is a bold change and the

five-star rated hotel

is certainly one

of the first to take

this approach

in Wales.

The move does also

raise further questions – why is it for

kitchen staff only and is this only possible

due to a perhaps quieter location? Whilst

some may be sceptical of the move, the

argument should be made that talent is

a true differentiator within the sector

and therefore working fewer hours may

encourage more to enter the industry and

work for a business.

Acquiring the right people will always be

a main aim in the industry. However with

the world of work constantly changing,

many believe that the nurturing of talent

must include an emphasis on investment in

training and unlocking potential which for

numerous reasons has been constrained.

The changes in work include the growth

of zero hour contacts. The number of people

employed on “zero-hours contacts” in their

main job, during October to December 2016

was 905,000, representing 2.8 per cent of

all people in employment (according to the

Labour Force Survey in the UK). While

they remain a relatively small phenomenon,

they have been growing more prevalent.

Some experts thought the contracts were a

fleeting post-recession move that would fade

as employers became less nervous about

hiring permanent employees. However they

seem to have become embedded in some

parts of the hospitality sector even though



unemployment is at an 11-year low. The

concern is that employers have the ability

to hire people in a way that can undermine

the bargaining power of other workers, thus

dampening pressure for improved pay and

conditions. Would changes, such as the fourday

week, bring down the number of people

reliant on zero hours?

Another change in the world of work is the

growth of freelance workers. In the UK, ‘The

Association of Independent Professionals

and the Self Employed’ explored the UK

Freelance Workforce in 2015. Their findings

showed there were 1.91 million freelancers

in the UK with a further 255,000 working

freelance in second jobs. Between 2008

and 2015 the number of freelancers in the

UK increased by 36 per cent. The largest

proportion of freelancer workers are 40–49

years of age (25%) but growth has also been

seen in both those aged 16–29 and those 60+.

The speculative estimate of the economic

contribution freelance workers make to the

UK Economy is approximately £109bn a

year. It also provides an estimate £30 billion

a year in ‘added value’ to UK GDP.

The growth of freelance workers is often

argued as positive for both the employer and

the employee. There is increasing demand

from businesses wanting to keep costs down

and hire in skills as and when they need

them. On the other side

there is a growing number

of individuals wanting to

work flexibly. Professional

services firm PwC estimate

from their research that

half of HR professionals expect at least one

in five of the workforce to be made up of

contractors or temporary workers by 2020.

The obvious disadvantage of being a

freelancer is the lack of job security and

having to provide one’s own services from

marketing to accounting and pensions.

Whilst some workers cannot find full-time

roles to suit their skills, the hospitality

industry and the appeal of a four-day work

week may attract more.

The four-day working week is not a new

move in the industry. In 2015 chef Sat

Bains argued he was willing to change to

ensure staff retention. For his Nottingham

restaurant with rooms he believed he would


lose more than £100,000 by changing

working practices for staff. This was just

one of the radical changes that many believe

are necessarily to address the chef shortage

problem across the country. However, not

many businesses seem to have changed

or if they have, it’s been kept quiet. Other

businesses have looked at offering profitsharing

schemes and cutting certain services

to improve staff hours.

At the extreme, some have argued that

a reduced work week would redefine the

relationship between work and life. The

‘radical’ new policy has also been adopted by

some British political parties, who argue a

future of innovative and creative disruption

requires a model of this type.








The four day week will undoubtedly

appeal to some individuals. For businesses

the concern is that unorthodox shift

structures impact on productivity. Early

adopters may provide clues to its success,

but until the financials are investigated,

the argument will labour in the undecided

field. As more people push into working

50, 60, 70 hours a week, business may

notice their output performances dropping

and people suffering. The natural move

for an individual is to then look to these

models and the appeal may grow. Hospitality

is all about people but pushing them

beyond the time they should work may

lead to consequences that damage the


46 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 47






Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

policies aren’t a new concept and most

businesses have implemented steps to

reduce their environmental impact. Whilst

many are talking about their CSR strategies

and ways to engage with the 88% of

consumers who are more likely to buy from a

company which has CSR activities, the same

principals need to be applied to internal

policies and recruitment plans – particularly

when it comes to

attracting Millennials.

According to

The Guardian, the

Millennial generation

is the largest to date,

presenting a significant

consumer market

and workforce – it’s

predicted that by 2025

75% of the global workforce will be made up

by Millennials. When it comes to attracting

this generation, recruitment, culture and

internal procedures should be approached

in a completely different manner to appeal

to these potential employees who are the

most sustainably conscious generation.

Most Millennials take the responsibility

to help solve today’s sustainable and social

issues and they expect businesses to do the

same. In fact, 88% of Millennials prefer a

company that emphasises corporate social

responsibility and 86% would consider

Shirley Duncalf, Head of Sustainability at Bidfood

explores how using CSR polices can effectivity reach the

Millennial recruitment pool.

leaving an employer if the CSR policy no

longer met their expectations (Lumesse,

Corporate Social Responsibility and

Attracting Millennials, 2016).

Clearly, it is crucial that the industry

adapts its strategies to ensure it attracts a

portion of this burgeoning pool of talent.

It’s also important for businesses to have a

strategy behind their CSR policies and some

clarity on what area to focus on and why.





This means understanding what you want

from your CSR strategy, and how this links

to engaging your team. Is it focusing on areas

that make more business sense (e.g. saving

resources), linking to the wider industry in

addressing key sustainability issues, or is it

important culturally to motivate and engage

team members, particularly those who are

more responsibility minded like Millennials?

So, as a hospitality employer, how do

you ensure your sustainability strategy

stands out to this generation and meets your

business’ goals?

Start from the inside

Businesses are always looking to better

their internal green policies, whether that’s

implementing waste management strategies,

investing in eco appliances or working with

suppliers to reduce emissions. However,

when it comes to Millennials they’re looking

for something more, from businesses who are

prepared to do things a bit differently.

To really engage your teams and

particularly Millennials,

it pays to know what

motivates them. Is it

causes that are close

to home, or are they

concerned about some

of the wider global

challenges facing us?

We recently polled

over 3,000 Millennials

on which of the United Nations key

sustainability goals are important to them.

The results showed the top five topics they

associated with sustainability were:

1. Ensuring healthy living and promoting


2. Ensuring sustainable water and sanitation

3. Ending hunger, achieving nutrition and

sustainable agriculture

4. Access to affordable, reliable clean energy

5. Ending poverty

A recent study by the ‘Society for Human

Resource Management’ also found that

94% of Millennials are interested in

using their skills to benefit a cause, and 57%

wish for more company-wide service days.

A way to harness this is through fundraising

initiatives. According to a Deloitte study,

63% of Millennials donate to charity, and

likewise want their employer to have a sense

of purpose beyond profit. Hosting regular

prize draws, where employees can opt in and

take part, is a way to encourage donations

and reward employees at the same time.


Strategic partnerships can also work really

well. Supporting a charity, body or local

group which aligns to the values within your

sustainability strategy means employees

are united in supporting a common goal.

With partnerships, all employees can get

involved in different ways and this approach

particularly appeals to Millennials who

place high importance on being able to make

progress in meaningful work.

Ways to do this, for example, is through

donating any unusable products that would

ordinarily be wasted to local projects.

Broken bags of sugar could be given to local

beekeepers and help to feed honey bees, as a

substitute to nectar. Equally, any short-life

products could be donated to food banks, or

old office furniture can be passed onto local

voluntary groups.

“Going one step further, study tours can

also work really well. We’ve worked with

One Water – a life changing ethical bottled

water brand – for many years, helping to

raise awareness of the global water crisis.

A team of us visited Malawi to see first-hand

the effects that access to fresh water can have

on communities. Study tours with a charity

partner can offer a genuinely enriching

experience for employees and harness

the passion that so many of the Millennial

generation have for ‘giving back’.

Employee benefits

A companies’ mission, vision, and culture

has a significant impact on the quality of the

candidates it attracts, especially Millennials.

Offering employee benefits which align

directly back to sustainability can go a

long way in helping a company to stand

out from the crowd to potential

employees. The ‘Association for

Talent Development’ in 2016

said 87% of Millennials view a

successful business as going

beyond financial metrics to focus

on issues such as environmental

and social impact. For example, instead

of being able to purchase extra annual

leave days, employees could opt for

extra ‘charity days’, which could be used to

volunteer for a cause they are passionate

about – perhaps working with the homeless,

a soup kitchen, visiting schools and generally

supporting improvement measures in

these organisations.

In a world where the emphasis on

sustainability is continually increasing, a

company’s green credentials are now highly

regarded by many alongside the services

or products it provides. CSR policies are

a major contributing factor to a business’

reputation and it’s this reputation which

will lead to an increase in job applications,

particularly from Millennials. As Millennials

are the future of business, the time to start

adapting policies to fit with their outlooks

and ways of working is now, in order to

futureproof your company.”

48 | Perspective | June 2017 epmagazine.co.uk | 49



“Innovation brings new business challenges around scale,

security and the management of it all has no endpoint”

“Catching that wave of innovation has had a profound effect

on the business which is now more profitable.”


Most forward thinking companies argue

they have access to the latest innovation.

After long internal processes a business may

embrace a ‘new’ concept or product and

then look to communicate this adoption to

their target market. It is this ability to weave

innovation into a business that some struggle

with. The acquisition of the latest ideas can

also be difficult, but businesses are often less

forthcoming in admitting this.

EP prides itself on its Entrepreneurs Club

and bringing innovation into companies

across the hospitality industry. However as

more organisations look to add value and

differentiate themselves, does the word

50 | Perspective | June 2017

They are extremes but natural responses to the question on whether

innovation should be adopted by an organisation. Not all forms of

innovation will be right for a company, but it is important to discover and

explore partnerships with ventures that may fulfil some requirements or

solve a certain problem. How does a large player find innovation?

‘innovation’ grow in importance but lose its

actual reasoning and use?

Innovation can be used to transform

current ways of working and can be applied

to all layers of a business. In a recent report

by Deloitte, which surveyed 10,000 HR

executives, the findings showed that talent

management (from learning and management

to executive recruiting) is shifting. The

result of the workplace change is the growing

importance of human capital – possibly the

last area of innovation?

Therefore technology isn’t the only form of

innovation. There are numerous examples of

non-tech innovations which can add value.


Some forms of innovation are seeing shifts

in business models with a shared economy or

peer-to-peer economy growing. It can range

from simple changes to complete overhauls.

The overuse of the term, innovation, may also

lead to confusion and diminished importance.

Today, new ideas must be designed to

combat issues and also create solutions to

problems that may be faced in the future. This

need to evolve is highlighted by the examples

of Blockbusters and Woolworths, who in some

ways, failed to adapt to a changing market.

Innovation can simply mean thinking

differently in the way an organisation approaches

problems. Some companies argued that customerled

innovation is the most important route.

But is the secret to innovate slightly ahead of

customers? Operating at a speed as trends are

recognised and therefore innovating at the

same speed as customers are exposed to them.

It can be hard to truly innovate. Inventing

the future is never easy. The future also often

comes from unexpected sources. Innovation

may come from within a business or some need

support which can come from communities –

such as EP’s entrepreneurial work.

The essential part is that support comes

from innovation leaders. Great innovators in

history have often been leaders – those who

trust instincts and hold self-belief in their

authority. Is there a lack of these leaders

today? As many look to innovate within a

company, others are looking to reinvent a new

generation of innovative leaders.

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6 June 2017 – The Grand Connaught Rooms, London

A 360-degree perspective is pivotal to the advancement of

BRINGING business, to better TOGETHER economic performance, LEADERS and to improve OF the THE

HOSPITALITY quality of life of our customers AND and TOURISM the community INDUSTRY

at large.

On 6 June 2017, The Summit will expose the intersection between

6 June 2017 – The Grand Connaught Rooms, London

business, government and society, and will address some of the

A hard 360-degree truths and perspective immediate is opportunities pivotal to the available. advancement In particular, of

business, the necessity to better of radically economic upgrading performance, the perception and to improve of our industry the

quality as a career of life of of choice our customers and prioritising and the our community business needs at large. in the

political decision making process around the Brexit negotiations







2017, The







at least




next two years.


business, government and society, and will address some of the

hard truths and immediate opportunities available. In particular,

the REGISTER necessity of radically NOW upgrading the perception of our industry

as a career of choice and prioritising our business needs in the

political summit.org.uk

decision making #BHAsummit process around the @BHAsummit

Brexit negotiations

that will dominate the debate for at least the next two years.







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