Head of People and Culture,
The Coffee House
Kimby Priestley is the Head of People and Culture at The Coffee House. For this HR professional, most mornings start bright and early, getting into the office for 7am. As the day progresses, Kimby could be seen joining a succession planning webinar, building on the coffee company’s next training module, or having a lunch stop at her local branch of The Coffee House, all before doing the afternoon school run. Below, Kimby gives us a look at a typical working day for her...
It’s an early start. I’m ready to creep out of the house leaving Dad to survive the school run with our two children. I get to the office for 7am to meet with the Managing Director/co-owner of the business. Monday mornings usually start with trying to put the world to rights, ironically over tea. Although I work for a leading coffee operator in the North of England, I actually don’t like coffee! We both like to start early as working in hospitality our stores are busy by 9am, which of course signals the start of any operational issues needing attention.
Our Development Director, and other co-owner, join us to focus on our business plan. Since I joined at the end of 2020, we’ve been building a growth plan for 2025, specifically looking at our org design to ensure we have the right structure, people and skills to support taking the business to the next level. We’re currently working towards the move to a centrally located, purpose-built facility incorporating HQ, the kitchen, bakery, roasting and warehouse and eventually a state-of-the-art training centre. We also have four new Coffee House stores opening across the region this year meaning around a 40% increase in employees. Although HR for the business is in its infancy, I really enjoy being an integral part of the decision making and the driving force behind our people agenda.
Time to catch up with my Talent Manager. Recruitment has been difficult in our industry but we’ve worked hard to build relationships with our local job centres and collaborated with companies such as Workzone. We made the decision to take store recruitment away from store managers as it was becoming a time-consuming part of the role and we wanted to increase efficiency and consistency of our onboarding processes. Along with our design team, our brand is strong and being recognised.
I really enjoy being an integral part of the decision making and the driving force behind our people agenda
Lunchtime is welcomed after an early start. I’ll often nip out to have a break from my desk and get some fresh air, or pop into my local Coffee House for lunch and work from there for the afternoon if I’m on school pick up. I can highly recommend the hot chocolate and our chips are quite famous locally too!
I’ll often nip out to have a break from my desk and get some fresh air, or pop into my local Coffee House for lunch and work from there for the afternoon if I’m on school pick up
This afternoon I join a webinar about succession planning. This is something I really want the business to focus on with new roles being identified and performance appraisals and continuous feedback rolled out. Being in a standalone role, I’ve worked hard at increasing my professional network for both support, ideas and to keep current. After working for a big corporate company for 12 years, I took for granted having specialist teams around me to share ideas and [being] able to utilise their knowledge. Being standalone can be lonely at times but there is so much support out there and I’ve found the HR community to be vast and very supportive.
I also take a call from our Head of Stores for a breakdown of potential Employee Relations issues. It's been really enjoyable going back to being a ‘one stop shop’ for HR rather than being specialised like in my previous role at a global corporation. It’s really allowed me to get to know every aspect of the business and play a part in its growth. We’ve also been upskilling our employees through The Coffee House Academy; store managers have recently taken part in bitesize training sessions to enhance their management skills and infuse true accountability for their stores.
I look at our project management system and continue building our next training module, Leadership Development, in readiness for our next store opening this summer. The store manager role is fast evolving. Not only do we need to continue to develop our current managers, but also ensure new employees receive a consistent and robust induction programme, and contribute to the success of their store.
I like to be my tomorrow’s best friend! So I do a quick check of my calendar for the rest of the week and update ClickUp with any immediate tasks for tomorrow.
Then, I’m off round the corner, on a dry day with two scooters in hand to pick the kids up and spend the next couple of hours being a taxi driver to their various activities. The flexibility the company gives me to be present in my children’s lives, be able to collect them from school and give them opportunities, means so much.
We finally get home, make dinner, check for homework and eventually snuggle up after a deep debate about which book we’re having for story time. The evening is then mine. After a quick tidy up and prep of bags for tomorrow, I often check in with Mum over in Wales, call a friend to arrange plans for the weekend or settle down and watch a boxset on Netflix, whilst doing a jigsaw; the new hobby since lockdown!
I like to be my tomorrow’s best friend!
End of the day