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Leon Foster-Hill,
Head of HR Business Partners

 
 

Looking back at your time with the company, what are you most proud of?

Legacy is very important, and I am extremely proud of the changes I have been able to influence around performance management. We have ditched the annual appraisal which many viewed simply as a gateway to their bonus payment and have moved to a continual process of performance excellence. By having regular conversations about current priorities and concerns, in most cases we are able to stop a performance concern in its tracks. The meetings focus on both our values and behaviours, as well as the outputs being achieved, to ensure that there is equal weight given to each area of performance. Further, career discussions are also included in these meetings, and this is passed on to our Talent Development Review (TDR) meetings.

TDR meetings happen twice a year across the country and allow us to identify future talent and ensure that we are nurturing it for our future needs. They also signpost managers to the appropriate development programmes or assessments for the next role. Both of these two things have been introduced to the business by myself, and thanks to the buy-in of the teams across the company, it's delivering real benefits to the business. Our internal succession is vital as we continue to grow and we are exceptionally proud that the vast majority of our managers have grown with us to achieve their own goals.

 
 

What is the most exciting project that you’re working on over the next 12 months?

Cineworld is a great place to work, and we have invested heavily in our people over the last few years. What we have not concentrated on is sharing this with our potential employees. Building our Employee Value Proposition will support our work on employee engagement internally and also allow us to share what a great place to work Cineworld is with the public at large. This is a massive piece of work which I have been wanting to do for a couple of years now. I will be leading a piece of work from the ground up: How do we stand up for our employees? How do we sell it to them? And then how do we sell it externally? Once defined, we will need to completely update our online presence.

This does not only involve our own careers pages; it will also mean that we need to look at where we are advertising our vacancies and ensuring that our employer brand is seen across all social channels.

What do you hope to achieve at Cineworld in future?

People are what make us successful. The internal leadership pipeline is vital to allow us to continue to grow. Many of our most senior individuals have been in cinema throughout their career and have been supported every step of the way. However, too many people join us while they are at university, or as a fill in, and don’t see what a great career they can have with us. That is something that I really want to change: I want every single person who joins us to be aware of what they could achieve in our business and consider us for their long-term career. With employees spread across over 100 locations all around the UK and Ireland that is no easy task – but then if it was easy we would already have achieved it.

 
 

What would you say is your guiding philosophy to HR?

In my very earliest days in HR, a manager of mine told me that integrity was absolutely vital for you to be an effective HR practitioner and this is something I have never forgotten. HR is not the pink and fluffy role that operational colleagues will sometimes accuse us of; we are often the ones who need to make the difficult decisions and support managers to effectively manage intense situations. If I don’t have integrity then my personal effectiveness would be damaged and that would get in the way.

I always remember that the role I need to fulfil is advising managers to make the right decision, not the popular one, and then implement it in the most effective way possible. I never apologise for being in HR, we can make a huge impact if we are let in – I am in an organisation that allows this.

 
 

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