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Private Sector

Greens Pizza

#GreatAtGreens

Greens Pizza is a much loved brand with a loyal following, and it's been at the centre of the Belfast restaurant scene for over 20 years. The first Greens opened on the Lisburn Road in 1995 and the next at Ballyhackamore in the east of the city. Work is currently under way for the opening of the newest branch in another popular family area, the Ormeau Road.

The team currently consists of over 50 staff and the Ormeau Road opening will add a further 25 to 30. Typical of our small business clients, Greens has enough staff to need HR management, but not enough to employ an HR manager.

 The challenge of staffing in the hospitality sector

The nature of the hospitality business can cause challenges if staffing isn't managed well. There's a competitive employment market in the sector, which can lead to high staff turnover. Traditionally there's also a diverse range of employees, typically with a younger age profile, many on part-time hours.

Greens has a strong ethos of great food and great service and there's a recognition that to achieve the kind of consistency which has led to more than 20 successful years, managing staff effectively is key. This is particularly so as the company continues to grow and the type of support we give has developed over the years.

Getting the basics right

The first thing we did was to carry out an initial HR audit. That was to establish a baseline of where the company was in terms of basic compliance with company law, and best practice in the way it managed its staff. Based on this we put in a solid HR framework including the following:

  • Updated contracts of employment and bespoke company policies;
  • Clearly drawn distinctions between permanent staff and casual workers, with the relevant contracts of employment or casual workers agreements for each group; and
  • basic staff training on key working practices including induction and probation.

After putting these basics in place the company secured access to ongoing help and support with everyday staff management issues as and when they needed it, using our Teammate ® outsourced HR service. That gave management the reassurance that there was always someone on hand if an issue arose.

Strengthening management capabilities

As the company has grown, first opening a second branch and then extending its original Lisburn Road site, staff numbers have naturally grown and so has the importance of effective management.

In order to equip line managers with the capabilities and the confidence to deal with issues on the ground, before they escalate, we developed and delivered a programme of training. This covered a comprehensive range of staff management issues including managing disciplinary and grievance matters, managing under performance, recruitment and selection and dignity at work. Training was supported by individual coaching and mentoring to help transfer the skills that had been learned in training workshops into practical application back in the restaurants.

Underpinning this effectiveness of this training was a staff appraisal system which we rolled out. This gives managers a framework to effectively and consistently manage the required performance in each job role, regardless of location and regardless of which manager dealing with an issue.

A strong platform for continued growth

The line managers have been very successful in putting their training into practice and we can see this in a change in the type of calls which come in to our Teammate ® service. The day to day issues are handled by the managers themselves and they use the service for more complex queries, often simply for a second opinion or as a form of informal coaching, as their own skills and confidence develop.

The affect on the business has been to improve staff retention and staff engagement, which creates a firm platform for the company's continued growth.

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