Five minutes with: Hazel O'Brien, Director of HR at The Belfry Hotel & Resort

Five minutes with: Hazel O'Brien, Director of HR at The Belfry Hotel & Resort

Hazel O’Brien, Director of Human Resources at The Belfry Hotel & Resort, reveals what sets The Belfry Hotel & Resort’s HR apart from competitors.

What sets HR apart at The Belfry?

The important role of our employees is not just being responsible for preserving and carrying on the legacy of this iconic and world-renowned venue, but also in delivering exceptional service and an amazing customer journey for all our guests.

For our team members to stand out from the crowd and deliver the best they can achieve in their roles it is vital that we engage and make The Belfry a great place to work. The HR department has a great visual presence in the resort and we open our door to all team members; engaging with all new starters, right from the beginning during recruitment and upon selection, so we can guide them through their career. Our team is constantly in touch with the HR department via special initiatives, regular staff appreciation days, our online benefits hubs, and a full suite of e-learning activities.

We place emphasis on lifelong careers and ensuring that our team members have fun at work and are engaged in their roles.

What are some of the unique HR challenges The Belfry faces?

Due to The Belfry not being serviced by any public transport links, our location at times is challenging to attract the right talent and to recruit for positons in a timely process.

The seasonality of our golf business is also challenging for our golf team and we must rely on seasonally contracted workers to deal with the increase in business during our spring and summer months.

The shortage of skilled hospitality professionals that wish to make a lifelong career in the industry, particularly those within the culinary and chefs sector, is a big nationwide issue across the hospitality industry. In time, with the new apprenticeship levy programme, hopefully a career in hospitality will become more attractive to new workers entering the workforce.

How does The Belfry ensure retention of staff?

We engage our team through many initiatives including NVQs, on the job training, supervisor and management training development, and we encourage lifelong learning for our team. We value the importance of listening and communicating with the team and host our monthly VIP Board meetings to listen to what the team want and action their feedback and ideas.

We learn from our challenges and constantly review and appraise through a 360-degree review system and bi-annual engagement survey. We share knowledge about the improvements within the business, the success of our business performance and guest feedback to ensure that praise and recognition is constantly on our agenda. Our ‘Belfry Hero’ programme is designed to ensure we highlight and reward the achievements of our team.

We grow our talent from within and offer promotional opportunities to progress and motivate the team and offer a great in house and external benefits package. The Belfry has undergone a period of rapid change and growth since 2014 and our team has been central to this achievement and we reward and recognise this at every opportunity.

Why is it important for The Belfry to offer good development opportunities for the team?

The talent and knowledge of our team is key to our success and retaining talent, with long- serving team members being central to this. For many of our team, it is not just a job but a career in hospitality and the legacy of The Belfry that makes our team very proud to be a part of the history.

By offering good development opportunities and a great place to work we have significantly decreased turnover which in turn improves the morale of our team with a highly engaged workforce.

The success of The Belfry is through our team and this is proven by the constant great feedback received from guests. Through this we know that we deliver a truly exceptional guest experience which has been pivotal in the company achieving significant growth and increased market share. We strive to keep our team engaged and it is what makes the business the success it is today.

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