Following on from the latest article on Hospitality Jobs UK (How far can you go in your Career in Hotels?) Talking to Julia Murrell Director of People and Development from Firmdale Hotels who operate some of London’s Best Hotels, it was incredibly insightful and inspiring and they work so hard to provide a great place to work. As I mentioned, the people support is something to be shouted about and a big reason to support the fact that Hotel Careers are worth pursuing.
The Q & A Turned into a really engaging conversation with thoughtful content but rather than writing war and peace here’s a summary:
Q- If you were to pinpoint just one big success story in Firmdale Hotels who would it involve and why?
A-To pick just one! (long pause). Joanne Thornton, our DGM at the Charlotte St Hotel started on our graduate program in 2009 becoming Front Office Manager, moving to Ops Manager and is now DGM. I would describe her as amazing and lives our values, passionate, supportive of people and Firmdale and is an absolute trooper.
Q-Where do you see the future of the UK Hospitality Market and Hotels.
A-In terms of people challenges the focus on attracting talent to the industry and all the elements of retaining the team I feel will continue to be key.
So About You Julia:
Q- Where did you start and what are the realistic career paths available for our workforce?
A- Personally I have a diverse background having worked with great businesses. I’ve been fortunate to learn from TGI Fridays, Malmaison and Hotel Du Vin, Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons and Firmdale Hotels. I graduated from Cardiff University and have been fortunate to have had a progressive career so far. I know personally that amazing career paths can be achieved with the right support. There are so many successful people and there is no better place to work than at Firmdale
Q- How do you feel the Hospitality Industry is perceived?
A-I have mixed feelings about this question. In my role I see a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of passion and on the other hand sometimes I see the other side where people still perceive the industry as poorly paid, inflexible and long hours. I know that’s not the case in reality and it certainly isn’t at Firmdale. The reality is that there has been a shift in working flexibility and providing great places to work within hospitality businesses
Q- In Summary Julia how do you see the HR Role in general terms?
A- HR is all about putting your feet in other peoples’ shoes Empathy regarding what people need is key and when you start at a new company you look, see and feel the company culture and go from there. You look at the employer brand perspective and adapt the people strategy based on this.
By taking a previous companies outlook and trying to replicate it is not the best way. Taking the things that have worked. Learning from the things that haven’t and adapting to your new environment is crucial.
In regards to getting the important things done it starts with an idea and I always ask myself the question before discussing with my Operations Director ‘if this was my money would I say yes?’. By the time I do this I have a plan which is related to a business goal so there is always a return on investment.
My advice would be to believe in what you do and have faith in what you do. Put people first, listen, get their feedback and ensure there is something for everyone
Ok- one more 😊
Q- Tell me about why Firmdale Hotels is a Great Place to Work?
A- We work hard for our people developing a culture of support and helping them with the things that are important to them.
The team are working on two big projects at the moment. The first is the launch of the Firmdale Academy and the second is working towards our wellbeing strategy development.
We ensure that people can do a great job and if they seek in a Career in Hotels, we’ll work with them to achieve this.
Thanks, you Julia and it’s been insightful and inspiring and for so many reasons you have demonstrated why Hotel Careers are the way forward.
In regards to your experience I’d love to chat in support of our Hospitality Industry showing that it is a great industry full of enjoyable opportunities as we work together to be subtle, inclusive and positive influencers.