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Cateys 2016: Best Employer Award

Cateys 2016: Best Employer Award

Sponsored by Amadeus

Valor Hospitality Europe

It’s been quite a start for the business. In 2014, some 18 hotels were being prepared for sale. Seven were sold off and the 11 that remained formed what is now Valor Hospitality Europe.

With a central team that had been restructured to be 40% lighter and an estate that had been unloved and required investment, morale was low and technology systems were antiquated.

Step forward the new owners and leadership team with a new ethos that put people at the heart of the business. Led by managing director Brian McCarthy – who delivered a roadshow taking in every hotel – the aspirations of the business were explained to employees along with a clear message that Valor’s people would be empowered to run great hotels and exceed guests’ expectations.

Today, the portfolio has grown to 20 hotels, with a target to reach 50 across Europe within five years. The 2,000-strong workforce represent brands such as DoubleTree by Hilton, Crowne Plaza, Indigo and Best Western.

Through a concerted focus on people, values and culture, the organisation has proved that being a great employer – as evidenced by its high placing in the Best Places to Work in Hospitality 2016 awards, run in partnership with Purple Cubed – can equate to great performance. The business has moved from a score of 1/7 on the IHG winning matrix, to 7/7, and is now recognised as its best-performing franchise partner in Europe.

To get to this point, Valor has worked hard at its employer brand, culture and values, and the way in which it manages its talent. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn provide a forum to engage with future and current employees. All weekly updates feature content from its own talent, reflecting its contemporary brand.

The values embodied by the brand can be summed up by the company mantra: PRIDE (personable, reliable, inspirational, driven and enthusiastic). And this year the business launched Pride of Valor, allowing it to measure each area, recognising the best employees and supporting others through coaching and development. Valor’s engagement surveys have confirmed that 90% of employees know and live the business values.

So far, the results have been exceptional. The overall employee engagement score is up 11% in 2016, while retention levels stand at 72% and labour turnover has improved 6% year on year. Sales are up 10% too, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation is up 20%.

As McCarthy says: “Lots of companies measure engagement, but here at Valor Hospitality Europe we prioritise engagement as a precursor to sales. I know that if team engagement is strong and I can see it living and breathing in the business, it tells me our sales results in three months will be equally as strong.”

What the judges said

“An inspirational entry demonstrating a strong people culture, inspiring leadership and consistent business results driven through people engagement.”

Stephanie Hamilton

“There is a sound system behind the business, with a clear desire to have employees at the heart of the organisation and to be at the heart of its ambitious growth plans.”

Tim Jones

“Brian and Moira have done an incredible job of leading from the front.”

Jo Harley

The shortlist

  • Café in the Park, Rickmansworth
  • Firmdale Hotels
  • Valor Hospitality Europe

The judges

  • Julia Edmonds Managing director, Lexington Catering
  • Stephanie Hamilton, Managing director, ISS Food & Hospitality
  • Jo Harley, Managing director, Purple Cubed
  • Tim Jones, Chairman, CH&Co Group
  • Emily Perry, Managing director and founder, Humm Media
  • Eugenio Pirri, Vice-president, people and organisational development, Dorchester Collection
  • Mike Williams, People Director, Byron

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