Winners of this year’s Pub and Bar Award, Chestnut boast a collection of beautiful East Anglian pubs. Founded by Philip Turner, the 16-strong group are known for their focus on guest experience, delivered by their championed frontline workers.
People Director, Charley O’Toole, spoke about how the group have streamlined their people management across over 500 team members, from their 15 general managers to Ops managers and sous chefs, to get the best from them.
“I publish a rota, and everyone gets a notification on their phone. It was so quick and simple to do. In every hospitality business I’ve ever worked in, the team are always keen to receive their rotas as far in advance as possible. It helps people to plan their lives outside of work and they are always really appreciative.”
Chestnut have worked with workforce management provider S4labour for around 3 years. With such a complex and growing business, using paper and spreadsheets to manage their shift patterns and pay wasn’t a viable option, and the business also had a focus on streamlining communications and HR onboarding.
Charley commented: “I publish a rota, and everyone gets a notification on their phone. It was so quick and simple to do. In every hospitality business I’ve ever worked in, the team are always keen to receive their rotas as far in advance as possible. It helps people to plan their lives outside of work and they are always really appreciative.”
S4labour onboards new employees onto the system and the HR tools allows all important employee information and documentation to be completed accurately and efficiently.
By systemising deployment and rotas, labour demand and budgets are looked after and sales increase is driven by having the right people at work at the right time, without any of the stress or extra admin. “When you’re looking at your rota model and you’re able to see your flex, it helps you to determine if you have the right level of team required – it makes our lives really simple”, Charley commented.
Once the rotas are in, they can be viewed via the app. Holiday management is made easy with visibility of accruals, the ability to request time off and holiday pay automatically calculated in the rota.
Charley added: “anything that makes lives simpler for our teams is a big win for us.”
Cost versus benefit
Cost versus benefit is high on every operator’s agenda. When it comes to investing in S4labour, Charley said: “Cost of living has risen, the hangover of COVID, Brexit, you name it, everything is much more expensive, so you have to be really mindful about labour costing and I think S4labour is commercial in that respect.”
One thing really stands out for Chestnut, and that is the customer service they receive with S4labour.
In terms of first-line support and account management, Charley said “everyone is so incredibly approachable; nothing is beneath anyone. It makes us feel like it’s a partnership, rather than S4labour just being a product that is supplied to us.”