Productivity event – Case study – Matthew Thomson, Fifteen Cornwall

Productivity event – Case study – Matthew Thomson, Fifteen Cornwall


Good morning everybody, thank you very much for the invitation
I’m particular grateful to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation for it’s interest in this area
and also first time I have met you but Kate, thank you very much for your leadership in this sector. It’s massively important, there’s a factor about leadership that
is I mean we talked about better management there Ashwin but I think leadership
and belief are fundamental to better productivity that’s one of my little
themes so I mean Jamie Oliver’s 15 Cornwall is a social enterprise and I do
think that’s a factor as well. We’re sitting here Campbell bigged up Coin
Street on the way in and this is a social enterprise now I’m not gonna get fussy
about labels or structures but the ability of people within an enterprise
to believe in its purpose and its overarching purpose is guiding purpose
as being more than about money and more than about the business frankly is a
great motivator and I think it’s key to the productivity of the
people in the business so Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall set up in 2006 and
all our staff know that we’ve put 12 million pounds into local food artisan
producers in Cornwall in that time all our staff know that 14 million
pounds being put into the local wage economy there and 4 million pound profit
from all of that has gone into training and supporting the personal development
of the most disadvantaged people in Cornwall so there’s a real win-win and
we’re talking about social and environmental productivity as much as
we’re talking about financial productivity when we talk about it and I
think that’s triple bottom-line it has to be the 21st century approach if we’re
going to talk about keeping people clear. But I think the reason why
I’m sitting on this stage today is basically because I told Charlie
Mayfield a story once about, which is my equivalent of your chambermaid tale
which captured his imagination and has led me into various encounters and
things since and it’s very simple one you know I’ve got 16 years hospitality
background I’ve always tend to do it on the side of whatever else I thought I
was doing that was more important and I never put it on my CV particularly until
I got to the job I’ve got now. There’s something about undervaluing systemic
undervaluation of hospitality in our in our culture that ends up translating as
hostile environment or at the worst case or comes back to just not really caring
about customers and people’s experiences so the very first thing we do at Fifteen is
emphasise the importance of relationships emphasise the importance
of knowledge and creativity in roles. I think hospitality needs to reposition as
a creative industry as one of the leading ones we’re crafting experiences,
we’re crafting experiences for visitors from right around the world and so the
belief and trust in your colleagues and in collaboration is fundamental the
story I told Charlie was basically one about how in the breaks used by
sommeliers, the sommelier was training waitresses in just you know
saying ‘well you know what do you do there’s nothing so special that wine is
there’ and then and then gradually you watch the waitresses who’d paid most
attention and got more closely engaged with wine skills training started
selling funny enough better wine more of it to more people you saw it in the
guest feed backs the customers are having a better time we saw it in the
bottom line we were able to formalise the training scheme and reward
waitresses for the investment in training they were making and
gradually we created a progression pathway from the floor into
being a sommelier and indeed now our head sommelier is somebody who started
in that very program as a waitress and so you’re doing a simple bit of
training which leads to a boost to your bottom line a boost to your customer
experience and they return in profits which in our case goes back to the
community so with that simple formula looking at how you apply that in other
departments we’ve created something called hospitalityskills.net
it’s a little toolkit we work with the UK Commission on employment and skills
to create that and that hospitality skills.net formed the basis of a
network of progressive hospitality businesses in Cornwall, I say progressive
because we have focused on progression the thing about Cornwall which is quite a
small place is we tend to get quite jealous about talent and we don’t like
to see it progress it’s all very well for people to progress as long they
progress with us but you know where’s it go, but actually the whole premise of Fifteen
is to train people to move on. We need to recognise that we are
collaborating in Cornwall we’re competing with Yorkshire everybody you
know always and Cornwall has for ten years won the ever best and well
Yorkshire is the one that always comes second with the best destination. I
think if we get Cornish businesses to understand that our competitors
outside Cornwall and that we are collaborating to attract Britain’s best
talent to our best hospitality industry that’s progress.
thank you

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