Whitbread gets HR on board to drive agenda

Whitbread has appointed its group HR director to the board in a bid to drive
its people agenda and push Whitbread into the FTSE 50 by 2010.

Whitbread Group brands include David Lloyd health clubs, Marriott hotels and
Costa Coffee, and the company employs 65,000 people across the UK.

In an exclusive interview with Personnel Today, group HR director Angie
Risley said she was delighted the function was being recognised as central to
business success.

"I now have the opportunity to influence the place where the top
decisions are taken," she said. "The people agenda now has to be
connected to the business."

Risley said that good leadership at Whitbread was HR’s primary concern. The
company has created a faculty of coaches and mentors to ensure the 85 people in
the group’s top management roles are well prepared.

The organisation has also produced a ‘development library’ on its intranet
site so that leaders can access documents and advice on various leadership

Whitbread recently installed a new system from Oracle to provide HR with
information on its people in the areas of payroll, finance, supply chain and

By this October, the new system will allow line managers to process their
own payroll through self-service, with HR providing a support service.

"The system means HR is now a strategic business partner with the line
managers," said Risley.

HR’s other key role in Whitbread is to ensure the company is ‘a
distinctively good place to work’. It will work towards making every brand in
the group a recognised top UK employer.

Risley said that Whitbread had to make sure it continued to offer value to
its people through flexible working practices and a well-trained workforce.

By Michael Millar

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