Acorn winner 2007: Michelle Waller

10 May 2007
Acorn winner 2007: Michelle Waller

Age: 27
Position: HR manager, Headland Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

Career to date

Waller started out at the Headland Hotel in 1998 as a part-time room attendant, taking a full-time role as ground-floor cleaner and room attendant the following year. When the executive housekeeper was taken ill shortly afterwards, Waller, still aged just 20, jumped into the breach and took on the housekeeping function for the 104 bedrooms, 40 self-catering lodges, function rooms and public areas as well as responsibility for 20 staff and housekeeping ordering. In 2004, seeking a new challenge, she was given her current role. She has responsibility for recruiting, training and development for 90-120 staff, depending on the season.

Why is she a winner?

Waller's drive, enthusiasm and highly professional nature have served her well in her nine years at the hotel and she now occupies a pivotal role in the hotel's operation.

As executive housekeeper she reorganised the department and was credited with playing a major role in the hotel being awarded AA four-star-status in 2003. Her focus on training helped to improve morale and motivation among staff, and she has built on this early success in her current role. She has introduced a clear career path for staff, providing development and training to help her team progress within the business and guiding the hotel further towards Investors in People accreditation.

Waller, who recently enrolled on a CIPD course to build on her existing NVQ qualifications, has also excelled in the area of recruitment and raising the hotel's profile as an employer in the local community. In addition to arranging for her staff to visit schools, she has also formalised the work experience programme, working towards gaining Platinum Provider Status from the local education authority.

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