Blog Post

Head Of L&D Ashley Thorne Q&A

Head Of L&D Ashley Thorne Outlines Scotsman Group’s Plans To Support Staff During Re-Opening

It’s been a challenging year for hospitality, how have you been using the time to gear up for re-opening?

We have been able to take full advantage of this time to review everything we do within training and development at Scotsman Group. From inductions to leadership development, we’ve been able to refresh our ways of working and put everything in place not only for a successful re-launch; but more importantly for the future. And, of course we have had to look at how we utilise blended learning by using virtual and eLearning solutions. We have also worked hard across all functions to make sure development is accessible for everyone.

What are your main focusses from an L&D perspective in 2021?

We have two main priorities. Firstly, get the basics right. We need to make sure that our teams have all the skills needed to be effective. Great service and standards are going to make the difference as hospitality recovers and we need to nail that! We are making sure all of our teams are well trained and knowledgeable – and all set to serve.

Secondly, is focus on talent and careers. We have an amazing portfolio of hotels, bars, restaurants and cinemas where we can offer our talent the opportunity to have an incredible range of experiences to build their careers. We pride ourselves on our internal promotions where we have seen careers stem from hourly paid colleagues to GMs. Throughout lockdown and have seen numerous internal promotions that I am really proud of.

We have been working on Personal Development plans with a range of managers and chefs to take their careers forward and this will continue as we relaunch.

What do you think people are looking for from their careers, do you think Covid has changed that?

I think people are looking for security and opportunities to grow. Do I think Covid has changed this? No. I think security and opportunities were always important, however COVID has meant that this is now a discussion point that needs to be heard. People need to feel secure and see opportunities. It needs to be visible and transparent and to feel part of a company that cares about their careers.

What does Scotsman Group do that’s different?

We have an extensive development programme that can take our an hourly paid colleague to team leader/supervisor, up to first line manager, from Deputy stepping up to GM and even a route to area manager. We see the value in identifying talent, and developing our talent in order to ready them to successfully step up into the next level. Through our step up programmes, our talent can see a clear pathway to management. We also have some amazing experts in our organisation who mentor and support our talent. We also have stretching individual development plans for our existing leaders to ensure they are stretched in their role.

What do you think is the biggest opportunity for you in terms of talent (attraction and retention)

Grow your own. The biggest opportunity starts with our identifying existing talent, and recognising ambition within our new starts. I have had the opportunity to get much closer to our management teams through lockdown to better understand their needs and where they want their careers to go. (I must say, we have some shining stars in our business.) As we re-open, we will be identifying them and enrolling them on the right programme. The next opportunity is when we welcome new starts. We start having career discussions from day one. Very quickly we will identify potential in our new starts and map them into the programmes.

What tools do you make available to people in order to progress their career with Scotsman Group?

Robust PDPs for our talent, great training and development, coaching and mentors from within the business. We have great managers that will support individual progress, specialist training with suppliers. Secondments and projects to give exposure.

Who is a good example of this?

David Robertson, Camilla Chen, Jaimi Mullen have all recently been promoted from DGM to GM. Joshua Perrin and Mark Hardie have both been successful on our Serving up success kitchen development programme. We have had 34 successful candidates that completed HIT Scotland Scholarship