The Group’s corporate social responsibility activities prioritise our people, responsible retailing and charity
We currently employ just over 3,000 people and are committed to creating an inclusive environment where all employees have the opportunity to develop their careers. Throughout the financial year 2021, we have continued to face our most difficult trading challenge to date with the majority of our teams furloughed and our operation paused for months on end. However, we have utilised this time to push forward on our hugely important people agendas such as Diversity and Inclusion (“D&I”) and our Wellbeing projects. Thus, helping to ensure that when our people returned to the business, we came back with engaged teams that were motivated to take on the seemingly never-ending challenges that the pandemic has thrown at our industry.
When welcoming the return of our teams. it was more important than ever before to re-induct and provide refresher training for all colleagues due to the fact that many of them had not been operational for over six months. Prior to reopening, we launched “the festival of training” utilising our online training platform to refresh our teams on COVID safe operational processes and also took the opportunity to provide Food Safety Level 3 for all of our Kitchen Management and General Management population to extend and deepen their knowledge in this fundamental area.
We knew the importance of ensuring our teams felt safe to return to an environment that was aligned to our Purpose, Vision & Values and on Friday 14 May 2021, the weekend prior to our full return to trade, we hosted our first ever, company-wide, virtual conference, live streaming our show to all bars and delivering some key motivational messages. The event included both live and pre-recorded interviews, an interactive, fun company quiz with prizes and the introduction of some pivotal, new partnerships to the wider business. One new collaboration with “So Let’s Talk”, a not-for-profit platform with a mission to “86 the silence”, has enabled the provision of education, events, training and activities on all aspects of mental, physical and financial health relevant to the hospitality industry.
We also launched our Inclusion Revolution which presented our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion and introduced our partnership with “Wiser”, a people agency committed to “changing the way we think about work”. This collaboration enabled a full diversity data capture of our people, tapping into some sensitive areas which were analysed globally to allow us to truly understand the diverse needs of our organisation. We also collated data from an Inclusion Survey, which captured more qualitative data and represented the way in which our colleagues feel about the culture of RBG. Alongside this rich insight, we worked with Wiser to analyse all cultural and structural pillars that make up our Inclusion Value Proposition (“IVP”) – our promise to our people regarding Inclusion. The IVP allows us to evaluate and articulate where we are on our Inclusion journey so that we can make informed decisions around D&I actions, commitment and strategy and so that we can truly bring to life our vision, “To be the place where everyone wants to be”.
Of our workforce, 46% is female and 54% is male, with increased female representation at Board level to 40% (from 20%) and within the Executive team to 50% (from 18% three years ago) and therefore we are leading by example at senior leadership level. However, there is still much work to be done within our sites and Area Management population. One of our eight geographical areas currently have a 50/50 male/female split at General Manager level, of those who identify themselves as male/female. This again shows progression in the right direction, but much improvement can be made across all forms of diversity and parity as we embark on our Inclusion Revolution, a journey that will continue to evolve.
Within hospitality the recruitment challenge has been one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome since our return to trade with both the pandemic and Brexit having a huge impact on our employee turnover and ability to attract candidates. We have increased our recruitment resource and forged forward with our people retention strategies to mitigate the risk, and this will remain a huge area of focus for the business in the coming months.
We aim to create defined career paths for every role so that we maintain a strong pipeline of managers to lead and grow the business. We have focused on a review of our bartender career path, which we launched during lockdown to keep our team motivated and engaged. We will be launching both the sales and kitchen career pathways by the end of 2021. Our detailed succession plan and talent management programmes have historically seen us fill over 80% of our management positions internally.
We have invested in the internal accreditation of the Mental Health First Aid course which will enable us to quickly roll out this vital training to all managers that feel comfortable around this crucial education and will commence training for our General Manager population, as well as further members of our support centre in the next calendar year.
We have a suite of reward and incentive schemes in place but, due to the suspension of trade, we deferred certain bonus payments and were forced to suspend all bonus schemes in FY20 and part of FY21, with employees supportive of the measures in the circumstances. However, following approval by the Remuneration Committee, 75% of the deferred bonus payment was made in July 2021. A full review of all bonus schemes was undertaken following our return to trade with some changes made including the alignment of our Kitchen and Assistant kitchen managers into the same operational team bonus, which has increased their earning potential and aligned their focus with the rest of the management teams. This was an important step given the ongoing kitchen recruitment challenge.
The Group’s performance as an employer is usually measured twice yearly through an independently administered “Quality of Life” survey sent to every employee. However, as we spent a large amount of time with the operation paused in FY21 in November 2020, we sent out a sentiment survey as a more relevant way of measuring our employee engagement at this time. In analysis 79% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed they had confidence in the Company’s leadership during the crisis. Similarly, 82% were happy with the level of communication and 72% felt that they have had access to the right level of support from the Company throughout the pandemic. In addition to these results our Inclusion Survey has helped to paint a very positive picture as we scored incredibly highly confirming our people know our purpose, vision and values and overall felt that RBG has an inclusive culture.
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. Test purchasing exercises are organised through Serve Legal to ensure that staff are exercising their judgement in the way that they are trained to do with regard to age verification.
The Group continuously aims to improve the quality of its food offering and provide customers with the required information about its products 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 highlighted on the printed menu. Full training is provided to bar teams to enable them to deal with customer queries and prevent cross-contamination. The Group sets out strict specifications for all products so that high standards of quality are met.
The Group continues to place greater emphasis on offering increased menu choices for vegetarians, vegans and those with food intolerances, given that this is important to an increasing proportion of our customer base.
As part of its social responsibility agenda, the Group has chosen a new corporate charity partner, announced in August 2021. Following an internal vote, over 75% of those that voted chose the Campaign Against Living Miserably (“CALM”). Following the challenging year where at times up to 98.5% of our workforce were on furlough, the Group has an increased focus on employee wellbeing and ensuring a safe and supporting environment for them to return to work. Our people told us that suicide support was an incredibly serious concern given the challenging year many had faced, and the Group is proud to support CALM in their journey. The Group will be donating 50p from every sharing platter sold, and additional fundraising activity will be planned.
Prior to this, the Group supported its previously nominated charity, Shelter. Over a three-year period the Group raised over £85,000 for Shelter through various employee activities including sponsored events and by the Group promoting the donation of 20 pence from every hot beverage sold.
The Group also has a programme designed to promote other charitable activity within its workforce. The scheme, called “You raise it, we match it”, rewards funds raised by staff for other charities and matches what they have raised.
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. All new sites and major refurbishment projects include fitting energy-efficient lighting and other control devices in order to minimise energy consumption. Smart meters have been fitted throughout our estate to allow the monitoring of hourly energy consumption on a daily basis in order to highlight unusual consumption spikes and to be able to benchmark individual site performance. The Group’s appointed energy consultant, Energise Limited, facilitates the production of a suite of reports enabling bars to identify energy wastage; these reports are monitored both locally and centrally. The reporting is very useful for evaluating the impact of new energy-saving initiatives, including investments in new technology and more efficient equipment.
Our SECR disclosure for the Group presents our carbon footprint across Scopes 1, 2 and 3, together with an appropriate intensity metric and our total energy use. The reporting of greenhouse gas emissions is for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021. All of the Group’s operations are based in the UK, and therefore all of the below figures purely relate to the UK.
Please see our Annual Report for full disclosure.
The Group has in place an anti-bribery and corruption policy that is communicated through all heads of department to their teams, and included in the colleague handbook. The policy requires transparency and the maintenance of an entertainment register that is regularly reviewed by the Board. Key suppliers have also been made aware of the policy.
The Group has in place a Modern-slavery policy that has been approved by the Board. Suppliers are required to acknowledge the Group’s policy and their obligation to adhere to it as part of any contractual arrangements.
The Group does not have a formal human rights policy, but it is committed to conducting business with integrity and fairness.