Spirit Pub Company

Hidden mission statement
http://www.spiritpubcompany.com/spirit/en/home

Officially a Very Good
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Officially a Very Good
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Officially an Outstanding
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Officially an Outstanding
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Officially a World Class
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Officially a World Class
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Officially a Good
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Officially a Good
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Officially a Global*
Good Company
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Officially a Good
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Globally*

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Best Company to work for in the UK
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AS YOU WOULD expect of a business that makes its money selling food and drink, staff at the pub and restaurant chain Spirit Pub Company enjoy themselves at work. When they were asked if their teams are fun to work with, the 15,900 employees gave an 81% positive score to this returnee to our big list after a three-year absence. Spirit, based in Burton-upon-Trent, has 1,229 managed (777) and leased (452) pubs across the country under brand names Chef & Brewer, John Barras and Wacky Warehouse, and even a fundraising team called Grin. Its job is to organise various social events such as the summer bash, but its existence is also integrally linked to a more serious business strategy called “making people smile”. The approach has improved communication between those who run the pubs and those who support them at head office. It has led to phone hotlines being introduced for the quicker resolution of technical, marketing and pricing queries or discrepancies. Team-building awaydays have included contests to judge the best gingerbread house, fancy dress, and various outdoor pursuits. The general manager of each pub organises team parties, and there are £250 Spirit vouchers for the staff of any establishment scoring a consecutive 100% from mystery shoppers. There is a strong sense of family (73%) and the leadership acknowledges that staff who enjoy their work equate to customer return visits and smiling investors. People feel they have the support of their manager (73%), that bosses share information and knowledge (75%) and care about them as individuals (75%). Chief executive Mike Tye wants his workers' views and introduced Mike's Round, where he meets employees at a pub to answer their questions, and listens to feedback, ideas and suggestions from frontline staff. Julia Dubois, general manager at The Tiger's Head, a Chef & Brewer pub in Chislehurst, Kent, has regular one-to-one “fireside chats” with her teams. She says people need to know their managers are there to support them. Staff can earn up to 36 days of paid annual leave and can work flexibly — more than a quarter have term-time-only contracts. Nearly a fifth of Spirit's payroll staff are under 21, so it's important that their bosses inspire them and that they see opportunities to progress. Learning and development director Mark Peters accepts the pub trade has suffered from high staff turnover, so Spirit does its bit to improve professionalism in the industry and create more obvious career paths. “We want people to enjoy working with us so they don't want to leave,” he says. “We have apprenticeship schemes and an accredited learning and development website called The Training Tree, where employees can see what's available for their role so they can progress.” He adds that succession planning is crucial and likes to identify future leaders. One potential high-flyer is 25-year-old Scott Bailey, a former Spirit deputy manager of the year and the acting general manager of the Essex Yeoman in Upminster. He joined the firm 2½ years ago and spent one year on Spirit's apprenticeship scheme. “I have always wanted to run my own pub but I needed to learn the trade,” says Bailey. “I am very ambitious but I need to prove myself first; one of my tasks is to improve food sales.” The company cares about the environment (69%), and its waste-management system, which tries to avoid landfill, scooped an “Oscar” at last year's Sustainability Leaders Awards. This has saved more than 6,000 tonnes of carbon — enough to power 355 homes in this country for a year. Head of supply chain and purchasing, Vance Fairman-Smith, said the business is committed to finding innovative ways to reduce costs and limit its impact on the local environment by preventing waste. Charitable activities are encouraged (70%), and in the past year more than £160,000 has been raised for good causes, including Great Ormond Street Hospital and Help for Heroes. Employees of the Flaming Grill brand marked Armed Forces Day in June with a free main meal for military people past and present. Last year the firm donated £21,500 to Prostate Cancer UK from corporate funds, while staff fundraising was matched for a hospital in Burton-upon-Trent and a children's charity. Work is an important part of many employees' lives (75%) and, like Bailey, the workforce feels they make a valuable contribution to Spirit's success (79%). It plainly helps that their health doesn't suffer because of their job (75%, a top-10 ranking), and a close eye is kept on the size of individual workloads to ensure no one feels overstretched. There's an assistance programme, “employee care”, which offers counselling and expert advice — by telephone or face-to-face — to those with financial or health worries. www.spiritpubcompany.com

Featured Workplace Factors

My Team

90% of staff agreed

My team is fun to work with

In July, Spirit Pub Company held a Summer Bash at their support centre organised by their fun and fundraising team, GRIN, giving employees the opportunity to socialise. They wanted to give a relaxed feel to the event so right from the start they themed it as though the invitation was coming from “Cosmic the Dog” rather than Spirit. The name Cosmic came from the entertainment which they had organised, a fun band called the Cosmic Sausages who went from table to table singing and interacting with our employees. The event, held in the atrium where the bar is located, was totally free to employees and included BBQ food, a full range of drinks and entertainment. Employees could finish work at 4pm to join in the fun. Their atrium was so full with employees that they needed to re-jig the chairs and tables to fit everyone in. Cosmic became famous and the excitement spread, employees were talking about it for weeks running up to and after the event. So much so that they are bringing Cosmic back later in the year for their Christmas bash! Their new approach of “making people smile” has helped to break down barriers between the support team and the operations team to work more effectively.

My Company

85% of staff agreed

I believe I can make a valuable contribution to the success of this organisation

Spirit Pub Company offers “employee care”, an employee assistance programme, provided by First Assist. It's a confidential service where employees have access to a website and a helpline providing advice and support on all aspects of their lives from financial concerns through to quitting smoking. The helpline is available 24 hours a day 365 days a year and is completely free of charge. There is also a telephone counselling service and face to face counselling service available. They also offer employees at the support centre a discounted gym membership at a local golf and country club in Burton where employees can receive a corporate rate peak membership of £49 per month with no joining fee, compared to their usual rate of £65.50 with a £199 joining fee. Memberships can be extended to golf at a special rate too.

My Manager

83% of staff agreed

I feel that my manager talks openly and honestly with me

Spirit Pub Company offers “employee care”, an employee assistance programme, provided by First Assist. It's a confidential service where employees have access to a website and a helpline providing advice and support on all aspects of their lives from financial concerns through to quitting smoking. The helpline is available 24 hours a day 365 days a year and is completely free of charge. There is also a telephone counselling service and face to face counselling service available. They also offer employees at the support centre a discounted gym membership at a local golf and country club in Burton where employees can receive a corporate rate peak membership of £49 per month with no joining fee, compared to their usual rate of £65.50 with a £199 joining fee. Memberships can be extended to golf at a special rate too.

Quick Facts

Organisation established in
Total number of employees
Number of UK locations
Employee average age
Male : Female employee ratio
Employees earning £35k+
Employee turnover (voluntary)

Benefits

Holidays

Companies offering a minimum of 26 days annual leave to all employees.

List Positions

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