This week Tony Molloy, HR controller of Stanley Leisure betting division,
and Lynne Bulmer, group personnel manager at Racecourse Holdings Trust, compare
notes on their careers
1 What are your main responsibilities?
TM I am responsible for the complete HR, including policies and
procedures, administration, employee relations and training and management
development in the betting division of Stanley Leisure.
LB I have a very generalist personnel responsibility for 13
racecourses around England. The amount of involvement I have at each racecourse
varies on everyday issues such as recruitment, training and welfare, but I am
usually very involved when there are disciplinary or employment law
2 What’s the pay like?
TM While the theorists will tell you ‘it is not a motivator’, more
would be nice! But I don’t complain.
LB It is OK. But I have job satisfaction, which is far more
3 How flexible are the hours?
TM As flexible as I need them to be. I have prescribed hours, but our
business operates over seven days, 9am until 10pm, with evening racing in the
LB Not very flexible at all. Working in the leisure industry means
staff often have to work unsocial hours, evenings and weekends. I suppose I do
a 50-hour week if I am in my own office.
4 What do you like most about the job?
TM I love the job in most areas. I like to talk about the business
outside as friends are fascinated by the betting industry and think I can give
them the occasional good tip, even though I can’t.
LB The variety is the best thing of all. All the racecourses have
other events going on outside of racing so there is masses of variety in
5 What are the challenges?
TM The same for most businesses this year – recruitment and
retention. It is very difficult to compete in the high street for good quality
staff. We have established a partnership with an agency provider, which is
proving to be beneficial in some difficult areas of the UK.
LB The personnel department is relatively new to a large part of the company
and the main challenge has been to convince the rest of the organisation that
we can make a real contribution. But I think most of the racecourses now
appreciate our support.
6 What is your biggest headache?
TM It has to be the lack of an HR/payroll management system. I can’t
get data easily, which makes decision-making much slower than I would like it
to be. But we are about to establish a working party to look at system options
so hopefully this won’t be the case for too long.
LB Keeping up-to-date with the ever-changing legislation can be
difficult. Our terms and conditions statements are starting to read like War
and Peace because we have to fit so many clauses into them. Personally, I think
it’s all gone too far with some of the tribunal rulings.
7 What size is your team?
TM My team of nine includes a management development manager who has four
regional trainers, an administration manager who has two administrators and a
gap year student from Leeds University.
LB There are three of us, which can sometimes be quite a challenge
given the distance our employees are spread around the country. We are based at
Epsom but we have employees in Aintree, Cheltenham, Haydock Park, Huntingdon,
Wincanton, Kempton and Sandown Park.
8 Who do you report to?
TM The managing director of the betting division, John Whittaker,
whose understanding of the business and political agendas is extraordinary.
LB The managing director Richard Johnston.
9 What qualifications do you have?
TM General management with the Chartered Institute of Industrial
Management, a Diploma in Management Studies and a Diploma in Safety Manage-ment
with the British Safety Council.
LB I am a member of the CIPD, which I achieved in my late forties as
a bit of a late developer. Apart from that only O Levels.
10 What are your career aspirations?
TM I don’t think I’m overly ambitious, I’m generally happy doing what
I’m doing at the time. My ambition is centred on doing the best I can for my
team and company.
LB I really am sufficiently challenged in my current role. As long as
I remain interested in what I do, I’m happy to keep doing it.
11 What training and development opportunities are there?
TM The training and development opportunities are excellent. This
business has grown managers from within and there is a strong training team in
place, which operates at shop level to develop managers through the assistant
and trainee management programmes.
LB Virtually any that you want to take. As long as it adds value to
the individual and the business, people are free to choose.
12 What is your holiday entitlement?
TM 25 days.
LB 22 days rising to 26, same as the rest of the employees.
13 What’s your work environment like?
TM Excellent. Stanley Leisure, Liverpool, occupies an office suite
which looks over the entrance to the Mersey Tunnel, the Liverpool Town Hall,
Lime Street Station, Museum and the Walker Art Gallery, which is exhibiting
Paul McCartney’s paintings just now.
LB Being based at a racecourse means it is very picturesque. Rather
than staring at roofs, I now get to stretch my legs in acres and acres of
14 What other benefits do you get?
TM Bonus, health care and company car (but I have opted for the cash
LB A cash alternative for a company car, so I have that, private
medical care and pension – and tickets for horseracing of course! We are a
trust so have no shareholders.
15 What’s the best part?
TM I’m at the centre of the decision-making process. I can contribute
to moving the business forward, while helping managers and employees fulfil
their potential. There’s a whole mix of things involved, from actioning
redundancies to design, through to recruitment and development.
LB The best thing for me is the feeling that we can make a difference
to the way the people are managed, and therefore make a contribution to the
business itself. Getting feedback from managers and staff when they appreciate
our support is a nice extra.
16 How does your firm treat work-life balance?
TM Work-life balance is of major concern to us. We are open for
business when most people are off work (evenings, weekends, bank holidays and
so on). We have been described as a ‘community bookmaker’ and our staff love
the shop atmosphere – we get great commitment from them.
LB Not terribly well at the moment. Historically people have worked in
the horseracing industry because they love racing, but because the business has
had to become more competitive, we have diversified and people now work in
non-racing roles such as the conference and exhibition side. Long hours is an
area we need to monitor carefully as people won’t stay if they think they are
being taken advantage of.
17 What’s your dream job?
TM My dream job will change as my influences change. In business, given
another opportunity I think my dream job would be as a barrister. I think it’s
a power thing!
LB I don’t know really. I get job satisfaction most of the time so
I’m very happy with the one I’ve got!
HR controller, Stanley Leisure
Job at a glance
Size of team 9
Qualifications CIIM qualified, diploma in management studies
Leave 25 days
Best part Being at the centre of the decision-making process
2002 HR controller, Stanley Leisure, Betting division
1992 HR manager, Supply Chain, United Biscuits
1989 Employee relations manager, BRS
1983 Regional personnel manager, Littlewoods Mail Order
Group personnel manager, Racecourse Holdings Trust, owned by the Jockey Club
Job at a glance
Size of team 3
Qualifications MCIPD, O Levels
Leave 30 days
Best part Making a difference to the way people are managed
1997 Group personnel manager, Earls Court Olympia
1988 personnel manager, European Air Catering Services
1972 Bringing up a family