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The Caterer

Matfen Hall

25 October 2005
Matfen Hall

Matfen Hall is a relatively new business which is extremely proud to have achieved the One North East Award for the "Business and Tourism Award 2005" and also the "Best Large Hotel Award 2005".

The project began with the opening of an eighteen hole golf course in 1995 and then the Leonard Cheshire foundation who had used the hall as a home for 32 severely disabled residents, vacated after 30 years. The building was left in a very run down state and there followed a massive programme of building works to bring it up to hotel standards. The hotel finally opened in 1999 with 31 bedrooms and employed 70 people, primarily from the local community.

Thanks to the hard work, dedication and commitment of the staff the hotel proved very successful and was named Small Hotel of The Year by the English Tourism Council in 2002.

This success enabled further expansion of the hotel's facilities. Firstly the Keepers Lodge, golf club house, was opened in 2003. Followed by the next phase which was completed in Spring 2004 and provided full spa and leisure facilities together with 53 bedrooms. This expansion is ongoing with another nine holes currently under construction for the golf course.

The owners, Sir Hugh and Lady Blackett are very much involved in the business. They are super people to work for, nothing is ever too much trouble and they have a genuine concern for all of the people that work for them.

Lynne Armstrong, our Human Resources Manager was employed in June 2004 to set up a dedicated HR Department and ensure that staff, at all levels, abide by employment legislation. We recognise that to balance work and personal life is, at times, extremely difficult and our HR Manager is always on hand to offer assistance, guidance and above all else to listen to employees.

The owners and management strive to ensure that the Investors in People standard is maintained and have, through staff training and development reduced staff turnover to 6% this year.

We fully understand that in order to grow our business we need to employ the right people who possess the right skills to carry out the required duties. Internal promotion and skills succession is an ongoing practice as is ongoing training and development. All vacancies are internally advertised to allow all staff the opportunity to further progress or indeed change career.

New employees undergo a comprehensive company induction, departmental induction and receive a job specification which clearly outlines their roles and responsibilities thus ensuring that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them. All employees receive an annual appraisal which is an ideal forum for both employee and manager to discuss current progress, new ideas and future opportunities. Individual objectives are agreed in line with the department aim and staff performance reviews throughout the year.

Our foreign staff benefit from English tuition which enables them to feel more comfortable in their new working environment and staff accommodation is offered to those who require housing.

We strive to make Matfen Hall a pleasant friendly environment in which to work. Our staff, although they work very hard, maintains an extremely professional approach to their duties. Although we admit that we "cannot please all the people all of the time" we understand that In order to retain employees we must ensure that staff are motivated and in order to achieve this they feel valued and are fairly treated, receive a fair salary, and that their achievements are acknowledged.

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