The Group’s corporate social responsibility activity prioritises our people, responsible retailing and charity.
The Group’s performance as an employer is measured twice yearly through our internal “Quality of Life” survey. In the past year the results of these surveys have been linked with our customer feedback platform, in order to identify ways to not only improve employee engagement but to provide a direct link to how this can enhance the customer experience.
The Group employs around 2,743 people and, through its proven growth strategy, is committed to creating more careers for our teams. In order to support the retention of our teams, our development activity focuses on creating career paths from every department within the business. Our talent development activity ensures that we maintain a strong pipeline of managers to lead and grow the business. This is evidenced by a detailed succession plan and talent management programme, enabling us to fill circa 70 per cent of our management positions internally. Our training utilises a variety of development tools, maximising technology where appropriate. We combine our e-learning platform, ACE Online, and customer service training programme to provide training to all our employees from day one. These tools take people from learning about our purpose, vision and values at induction through to mastering a range of brand standards that ensure quality and speed of service are a focus for all team members.
For those wishing to progress, our career development path is clearly outlined in My Career Portfolio (“MCP”), taking ambitious team members from first-line supervisor roles to General Manager and Area Manager positions. Three times a year, we recruit new talent to our Academy programme, selected through an assessment centre selection process; we ensure that the top talent joins our next cohort of future managers and induct them at a two-day development centre, followed up by pairing them with a dedicated mentor and regular reviews with their General Manager. All management groups within the operations team have their own dedicated annual conference. The purpose of these conferences is to set the directive for the year to come, to create a strong network amongst peers and to ensure that the purpose, vision and values of the business are embedded into the actions taken on the back of the events.
Using a blend of in-house and third-party provision, the Group ran around 100 days of classroom-based management development training courses during FY17, providing access to full-day training courses to over 1,200 people. This was supplemented by e-learning programmes. The Company is committed to equal opportunities and the elimination of discrimination, harassment and victimisation of employees. Of our workforce, 42 per cent are female and 58 per cent are male.
In addition to competitive pay rates, it creates a suite of reward and incentive schemes, investing around 1 per cent of turnover annually. Further, all employees are able to join the Group’s stakeholder pension plan, as well as obtain tax-efficient childcare vouchers. All team members are entitled to a 50 per cent discount on food and drink purchased within our bars.
The Group supports practices which promote responsible drinking and has established its own “Responsible Alcohol Retailing Policy”, supported by staff training and monitoring. The Group’s pricing models are set so as to avoid deeply discounting products. Events are promoted responsibly and are accompanied by individual risk assessments. A number of bars enter local “Best Bar None” schemes (run by local authorities and the police to encourage good behaviour in town centres), promoting a safe and secure environment.
The Group continuously aims to improve the quality of its food offering and provide customers with the required information about its product range to allow them to make informed decisions about their food consumption. This includes providing allergen and calorie information for all dishes via our website. Products not containing gluten or meat are advertised on the printed menu. Full training is provided to bar teams to enable them to deal with customer queries and prevent crosscontamination. The Group sets out strict specifications for all products so that high standards of quality are met.
The Group has a programme designed to promote charitable activity within its workforce. The scheme, called “You raise it, we match it”, rewards funds raised by staff for various charities and matches what they have raised. During the reporting period, the Group matched £10,000 of fundraising.
The Group endeavours to conduct its business in a way that is sympathetic to the environment. Where possible, glassware and bottles are recycled as is cardboard packaging. In developing our sites, we are making increasing use of energy-efficient devices and our use of energy when operating our sites is monitored by smart meters and reviewed by management.
Indirect emissions have been calculated using the Carbon Reduction Commitment ("CRC") Energy Efficiency Scheme factor and cover the period 1 April to 31 March. These emissions totalled 14,225 tonnes of CO2 (2016: 14,015 tonnes).
Even though the Group does not have a formal human rights policy, it is committed to conducting business with integrity and fairness.