"Why did you check (back) in with Whitbread Tech?"
Chas Thomsett – Programme Delivery Manager
I missed it. I missed that Whitbread way of thinking. In my time here, we’ve always been thinking ahead and you don’t see that at every business. We’re always asking ‘What’s next?’, going for more – if that’s career development or investment elsewhere. It leads to a place where you change and improve alongside the business.
Whitbread keep it interesting. How interesting? Well let me tell you, I started here as a Lifeguard!
Back then Whitbread owned David Lloyd Gyms and I worked at the Chigwell branch. I was Assistant Manager before an opportunity to come into the Support Centre and work on a project bringing Oracle into David Lloyd’s HR team.
The exposure to new skills, new departments and new ways of thinking really opened up a path for me in Tech. That secondment led to projects in payroll and other IT solutions, business analysis, business partnering, Tech Ops, infrastructure… wherever my interest went, the business backed me.
I’m so glad I took the chance to come back, and at such an exciting time. These days we’re going global – I was over in Poland this week with the Polish Fujitsu team and I meet fortnightly with my German counterpart, as the expansion in that country gathers pace.
Culturally it’s always been about people. I remember in 2008 – when the economy was suffering – Whitbread were great. As everyone around us was panicking, laying people off, they did the opposite. The mantra was ‘we’re going to invest instead because our rivals won’t and we’ll be stronger’ – and we did.
The programmes I’m working on, like Service Now and the Arura Programme, are about making life better for our teams and guests – so 40,000 of us at Whitbread plus millions of people, potentially. I get a sense of wellbeing knowing the work we do benefits so many. We’re reducing costs so the company can reinvest it elsewhere.
I’m enthused by growth here, second time around. We’re all invested in the success of Whitbread and it shows in the Tech team.