The true sign of a strong, healthy business can’t be solely judged by the length of time its employees stay with it.
After all, are they staying for the right reasons?
Job security and the comfort of knowing you’re at a business that’s stable, always has long term ambitions and is growing has certainly been the case at Whitbread for more than 279 years.
But selecting the right talent in the first instance – and then doing everything required to ensure that they stick around? That creates a culture that doesn’t just keep people - it produces a team of talent with the ability to develop, subject matter experts and teams that are truly the envy of our rivals.
In almost a decade as Group Finance Director, I’ve been fortunate to see first-hand the development of many talented individuals who have gone to lead amazing teams within Whitbread, making a real impact at one of the UK’s most successful businesses and a long-time constituent of the FTSE100. In my time here the team has been able to double the size of the business and are in the process of building an international platform that hopefully will enable us to do this again. We are also proud of the number of talented finance individuals, right across an incredibly diverse set of other companies, who have learnt their skills with us.
That’s in no small part down to our collaborative culture and how broad the opportunities to do something different at Whitbread are. At our heart we have a compelling strategy rooted in financial planning that prioritises three key areas that remain highly relevant and are positioned well to grow market share – and that makes for exciting careers.
1 - GROW AND INNOVATE IN THE CORE UK MARKETS
We are the UK’s leading hotel and restaurant business with the biggest hotel chain in the country, which we wholly own and operate ourselves. We have the clear Number one brand in Premier Inn, a winning customer proposition with more than 800 hotels and plenty of further growth to go. We serve the nation and offer Commercial and Operational experience to our Finance teams who will be at the heart of the key decisions from building the right hotels and restaurants and developing the best food menus to supporting our 30,000 team members.
2 - FOCUS ON OUR STRENGTHS TO GROW IN GERMANY
In Germany our mission is clear - to replicate our historic Premier Inn UK success and we are well underway. We opened Premier Inn Frankfurt in 2017 and within 5 years we’ve grown to 72 hotels right across Germany and are aiming to ensure we get to the number one position in as short a time as possible.
3 - BUILD THE CAPABILITY TO SUPPORT LONG-TERM GROWTH
We’re not just a hospitality business – we’re a property business, and a large one too. We own most of our hotels with a property value of more than £4b, larger than most listed property companies. This sets us apart and offers the team the chance to work in property and location Finance.
We are also the leading digital hospitality business with all our customers booking through our digital platforms. This requires great digital, analytical, and commercial financial skills.
To deliver our business model successfully Finance has a huge impact both inside and outside of our own department. Broadening networks, gaining experience and influencing is becoming more important in today’s world and our collaborative approach promotes partnerships, challenge, and innovation. The right questions find the right answers to drive us forwards.
Throughout the last year Finance has been at the forefront of both business decisions and our reaction to measures put in place to support hospitality. From raising £1.6billion of cash through the £1 billion rights issue and one of the first Green sustainability bonds, we’ve had to work quickly to ensure we not only remain in the strongest position possible but put ourselves in a position to win. This will enable us to invest £350 million this year when our competition are struggling to survive.
We were particularly pleased that we have been able to reinforce our sustainability credentials through the £550 million Green bond in February this year. Whitbread is committed to being a force for good for all our stakeholders, including our people, customers, suppliers, in the communities in which we operate, and for the wider world around us.
With all the above, although the environment has been very tough, you can see our future’s bright. We are a market leader and our people, and our culture means we have readied ourselves to emerge from the pandemic in fight, not flight, mode.
Times are changing, but our ambition is bigger than ever.
If you give us your confidence, commitment, and real customer focus, we will always offer you a financial career less ordinary and all the training and development opportunities you will ever need.
Interested? See our live roles here