This month we caught up with Kerry Crompton-Harris, Director of People & Resourcing at Compass Group UK & Ireland. Kerry talks career shifts, versatility, and the importance of having an open mind!
Tell us about your first job in hospitality?
Unfortunately, I don’t originate from the hospitality sector as the majority of my career to date has been spent within Facilities Management; however, when I was 18, I did a small number of bar shifts at a local community centre. I was terrible; I couldn’t remember the orders, couldn’t work the till, certainly was not quick enough, and overall think I just got more in the way of my colleagues. But what I did learn was how difficult the job was, and I learnt that customer facing roles are probably the most difficult roles of any.
Has there been anyone who’s stood out as being a major influence on your career?
There has been many, but two people that have influenced my career the strongest; the first being someone I am now proud to consider as a life-long friend. I left school and college with mediocre qualifications, falling quickly into a frontline role with little future opportunities. Within a short period, I realised that was not what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know what I wanted, so I took to applying for a variety of roles. I remember having a telephone interview with my now friend Carolyn, I don’t know what she saw in me that day, but I stayed at that company for over 13 years and was lucky that they provided me with direction and opportunities; ultimately, I grew up in that family.
The second is a prior line manager, I felt I had my career planned out; however, she served me a curve ball and presented an opportunity that, originally, I was not up for and I couldn’t see the benefit; but I trusted her, and she saw something in me, therefore I jumped in with both feet and it was the best decision of my career to date. Sometimes, people see something in you that you don’t see yourself; and as a leader, I always aim to identify and support people in their career aspirations the same way that others have done for me.
What skills do you think you need to be successful in hospitality?
Versatility is key; the hospitality platform changes so quickly, and you just need to react, sometimes without the time to fully consider. Some people may perceive the hospitality sector not to be one of a sustainable career, but that could be no further from the truth; with the right attitude and courage, you can forge any career in the hospitality sector whilst putting a smile on other people’s faces.
What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed in people’s expectations of working within hospitality?
I think people within hospitality have historically been reserved in asking for what they want/expect, whether that be pay, benefits, flexibility, development or simply the repair of a piece of work equipment. In the last 12 months, that has started to change and people have come forward with wants and expectations on how the sector needs to step up.
Why should someone choose your business to work for?
At Compass Group, you can come and be your authentic self. We work hard and it’s a tough business, but one that can create endless opportunities whether you are just setting out on your career or looking for a change.
What advice would you offer to someone coming to interview for a job in your business?
Put yourself out there and be open minded, the perfect role might not be the first offered; but think ahead. You might see a career in X, but it may take you a winding road to reach your end goal, and your goal may change.
What are you most excited about for the year ahead?
Within my current role, I have a few big projects to land and embed which can deliver transformational change to our hiring managers and job seekers alike. However, across the sector we’ve had an interesting 12 months coming off the back of the lockdowns and so it will be nice to see some consistency to the hospitality sector.
What’s your worst vs best experience working in hospitality?
My worst experience has to be during the pandemic, seeing how the sector was obliterated and the many people whose livelihoods were removed. However, my best experience comes from that and seeing the determination of people to rebuild a sector they are proud to be a part off and to rebuild for a stronger, more successful future.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone working in hospitality who wants to be successful?
Never stop trying to better yourself, whatever that means to you. Success looks different between everyone; all paths are different. You can do this, be yourself!
Browse the wide range of opportunities available with Compass Group UK & Ireland here.