‘We overpromote managers', warns pub group HR executive

19 May 2023 by
‘We overpromote managers', warns pub group HR executive

Liz Flynn, people director at London pub group Cubitt House, has warned operators to avoid the temptation to "overpromote managers" to aid retention.

Speaking at the ‘Changing perceptions: behaviour, management and culture' panel at The Caterer's People Summit, Flynn asked the industry not to rush the promotion of individuals who demonstrate technical expertise.

She said: "One of the big things that I found working in HR is that we overpromote managers. If they are an amazing chef and highly skilled in the kitchen, that doesn't mean they can manage people. When the technical side is great, we tend to promote them, but we've got to equip them with the managerial skills first."

"Don't promote them until they are ready. With retention in mind, we immediately think progress, progress, progress, but if they are not ready, that can go quite wrong," she added.

It comes after Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, described vacancies as remaining "stubbornly high", with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reporting 132,000 unfilled roles across the sector between February and April this year, which has further strained employers' abilities to be flexible and open-minded about promotions.

Flynn acknowledged that it requires a careful "balance" and pointed out the need for more rigorous managerial training programmes that also provide guidance on overseeing the legal side of the business.

Her comments were followed by regional vice president operations UK and North America and general manager of Pan Pacific London Anne Golden's talk on implementing "servant leadership" across her hotel.

It is a form of management where "the person at the top supports the team and not the other way around", which has ensured "their wellbeing is front of mind", as well as helping the business to think proactively about "how we can create future leaders".

Candice Van Antwerp, conference attendee and head of people at Genuine Dining, added the foodservice company builds a pipe-line for progression based on "quarterly appraisals, which we call a ‘hang-out'".

"We develop our staff by asking them what's next. We just make [the appraisal] really casual and very relaxed and we ask them questions about what we can do for them, rather than what they are doing right or wrong," she said.

The Caterer's People Summit was held on 18 May in London's Moorgate and was attended by over 120 delegates from across the industry.

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