Kim, Housekeeping Manager, Premier Inn
Getting back into the working world after a while, or embarking on something new later in life can be daunting. Fear, self doubt and questioning whether it’s even possible is holding people back from starting a new chapter in their life. At Whitbread, we want to turn around the negatives and help you change your story – both the stories you tell yourself about lack of confidence, ability or employability, and your future ambitions too. You’re at the best place to #ChangeYourStory, with the UK’s leading hospitality business.
“I love cleaning! I just find a deep clean so therapeutic. Housekeeping is up there as the most complete job if you’re a ‘starter/finisher’ like me. You instantly see the impact you’re have on the operation when a room is turned around into the spotless product we deliver to our guests.
“I started here at Premier Inn 14 years ago, joining my sister, who was her too, as a Housekeeper. Before that I’d worked in catering at a hospital but it was part time and I needed full time work – I had a three year old son to support. He was at Nursery and I needed a job that could guarantee me more hours.
“What I found here was a business willing to back me. After two years I became Shift Leader, then two years after that Housekeeping Team Leader before Housekeeping Manager. All in all it took six years to reach this level, but it was done at my pace and I felt ready for every step I took on the ladder.
“It’s a big site to lead – there's 26 people in our team. I think if you treat your team good, they’re good to you. We have constant feedback – both ways, and we have fun at work. We have a birthday club where we all put a few quid in and make sure we celebrate every person’s special day in style. Team nights out are legendary here!
“We're a really diverse team at Albert Dock – we’re made up of people from the city as well as Thailand, Lithuania and Poland. We all bring different strengths and there’s working mums like me in the team.
“I had a big gap between my two children. My baby’s 8 months and my son’s almost 18. But I’ve never felt penalised for being a mum here. I’ve been supported through everything. Sports Days, Doctor’s appointments – even those dreaded calls from school saying they’re poorly and you need to come home asap! I’ve never been made to feel guilty.
“So I’d say, mother to mother, we really do have shifts that can suit your life. I have 9.30am til 2.30pm shifts that fit in around school, there’s flexibility to those too and there’s weekends. Personally when I came back from maternity leave I just fitted straight back in, which is down to the team and the culture here.
“People here are in it for the long term, so want to make a success of it. That’s why the Sharesave scheme - where you can save money over three years and then have the option to buy Whitbread shares at the originally discounted price set when you started saving – is so popular.
“I started that six years ago. Obviously it’s only ever a potential gain, given share price changes, but I think it’s a really good way to help you feel invested in the future of the company. Each year I add a bit more. I did £25 a month for 5 years for my son’s 18th. In my first year I made a profit, second year I saved and sold them together and got the money for a deposit on my first house!”