PREM Group wins Champion Employee Engagement Strategy category at the Irish HR Champions Awards 2022

PREM Group wins Champion Employee Engagement Strategy category at the Irish HR Champions Awards 2022

PREM Group’s HR Team attended the Irish HR Champions Awards held at Smock Alley Theatre on Tuesday 15th March, hosted by Donna O’Connor of Blacksquare Events, with Kevin McGahern (comedian) acting as MC. Apart from being delighted to be attending their first ‘in person’ event for a number of years, the team were especially pleased to win the award for best Employee Engagement Strategy.

The Irish HR Champion Awards celebrate the hard work and dedication of HR teams – operating at the front line, delivering ambitious programmes, impacting business performance and transforming employee experience. The Awards recognise the success, innovation and business focus of HR delivering the best strategies across: Employee Engagement – Talent Acquisition – Corporate Social Responsibility – Employer Branding – Change Management – Wellness Strategy – Learning and Development – Diversity – Leadership. Shortlisted teams for the awards participate in an interview process where independent judges strive to find the best examples of HR success stories. The Awards night is an opportunity for the recipients to share their stories with their peers.

Accepting the award on behalf of the team, Louise Barry, (HR Manager for PREM Hospitality), explained the strategy for employee engagement at PREM during the last two years:

“We are delighted to accept this award on behalf of all the teams across all PREM Group businesses.

In March 2020, we went from business as normal to lockdowns literally overnight. We faced a period of greatly reduced business levels resulting in the full closure of some properties.

As the pandemic unfolded, our Group, along with hospitality companies everywhere were faced with one of the greatest challenges in terms of recruitment and retention. The stop/start nature of the re-opening and closing of hospitality over the two years of the pandemic has not helped the image of the industry when it comes to career choice.

Not long into the crisis, we decided that whatever happened we wanted to make sure that we did all we could to keep our team engaged and able to see a future with PREM Group and in hospitality. We also wanted to make sure that anyone who was considering a career in hospitality would look to us and see a company that is interested in developing our teams and providing career pathways for those who wish to progress.

Our strategy during the pandemic had a number of layers, with communication being key. Across the Group we were quick to fully utilise the online communication platforms available to us and found that many of our team members were open and willing to communicate online. This created an unprecedented opportunity to provide access to people initiatives on a much broader scale than before – whether this was participating in company communication calls, enjoying online social events or maximising on learning and development opportunities.

One major contributor to the success of our strategy was the partnership developed with Skillnet. As one would expect during a time when the business was struggling there simply were not the funds to support an enhanced learning programme – however, with the support of Skillnet we launched a Graduate Programme, a Mentoring Programme and a Skills Training Programme. Altogether this has yielded 5000 learning hours, with many more to come across the group as participants put their learning into action and support other colleagues to grow within the Group.

In addition to external programmes we used the time to help build and share skills in-house. We already worked with LIFT to develop our own personal leadership abilities and continued with this programme by moving it online and opening it to everyone within the Group. These sessions were beneficial in building our resilience and positivity at an essential time, while also helping team members to feel connected. We also set up ‘learning hubs’ where people from different departments from within the group provide a skills insight in their area of expertise. A newly created ‘buddy programme’ completed the suite of internal people initiatives launched within the last two years.

At a time when the hospitality industry faces unprecedented challenges created by lockdowns our HR team, along with our broader management team, managed to turn the quieter times into an opportunity for our teams to engage and grow’.

Speaking after the Awards, Sarah Marr, HR Manager for PREM Group said that ‘it is very encouraging that at a time of crisis the PREM Group team could pull together and improve employee engagement. While these have been exceptionally challenging times for team members across the group the feedback we have received in our annual survey conducted at the end of 2021 has indicated a significantly increased positive sentiment rating. We could not be prouder of the commitment our teams have shown in the last couple of years and we are so grateful to every person within the Group who became involved in our company engagement initiatives. We look forward to continuing and building on all these programmes into the future.’


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