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We are delighted to share that our People team won the Wellbeing Champion title at the 2022 Boutique Hotelier Awards, reflecting the hotel’s commitment towards better mental health in and outside of the workplace. Gemma Darnell, HR Administrator, said of the win:

Our people are the heartbeat of the hotel, so their wellbeing is fundamental to our business. With the constant challenges of work and everyday life, this award win is so important as it recognises our commitment to supporting our team. We are proud that so many of our colleagues have come together to champion our team wellbeing initiatives and are continually dedicated to make The Grove a positive and enjoyable place to work for everyone.

Gemma Darnell

It is no secret that the last few years have been some of the most challenging the hospitality industry has faced in our generation. The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns were naturally a difficult time for many, so Gemma, with the support of the rest of the team, decided to take action. 

Communication was, and still is, critical, so the team used Workplace – an interactive digital communication platform – to engage with each other. Chefs posted recipes, the gym team posted fitness routines and bartenders recommended a weekend cocktail and it is now an integral part of our internal communications. Our performance management platform, Talent Toolbox, was redesigned to assess how the team felt about returning to work after the pandemic, mapping out practical ways to move forward.

When the world reopened and we returned to work, Gemma was keen to learn more about supporting those struggling with their mental health, so she chose to enrol on the Mental Health First Aid Champion course, hosted by Ben Evans from Human First. Since then, Gemma, with the help of The Grove’s People team, set up a Wellbeing Committee, made up of team members who had also completed the mental health training course. They meet on a regular basis to discuss how to support the wider workforce, and to plan events and special treats for all employees. Past initiatives have included access to screenings at the Everyman Secret Garden cinema, ‘ice cream Fridays’, staff football tournaments, complimentary massages, yoga and meditation sessions and staff quiz nights.

Ice cream Friday F+B team
Ice cream Friday at The Grove

Melody Cox, Senior HR Advisor, came up with a way for employees to deal with grief and loss. She got in touch with MacMillan who provided grief cards. For team members affected by loss, our People team make sure to write them a message and provide them with resources, so they know who to reach out to without having to talk if they don’t want to. Gemma has also added posters to the back-of-house corridors with the contact information of all of the hotel’s Mental Health Champions.

At The Grove, we recruit for attitude and train for skills, and always recognise and reward hard work as well as offering great opportunities for progression. We know that doing well at work does wonders for our mental wellbeing, so accessible development courses are hugely important for the team. Not only do we offer supervisory and leadership development programmes by industry-renowned experts, we have now launched a wide range of courses for all levels, including Holding a Great Job Chat, Ultimate Service, Hiring for Success, Your Wellbeing, and many more. In addition, our performance coach holds 1-2-1 coaching sessions and is trained in counselling.

As well as learning and development benefits, employee benefits include a free hotel stay every year, including an induction stay in the first 3-6 months, discounts for stays and F&B, special rates for friends and Family, £1,500 referral bonus, staff accommodation in the local area, use of the spa and gym facilities, and a game on the championship golf course for free, with hugely discounted rates for groups. Parents also receive discounts at our on-site nursery, and employees receive a subsidised bus shuttle service to ensure they can easily get to work.

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