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Head of HR Operations

  • Location


  • Sector:

    Team Leader, Support Centre

  • Job ref:


  • Published:

    7 months ago

  • Expiry date:


  • Client:


We have an exciting opportunity for a Head of HR Operations to join Whitbread, supporting our Restaurant brands. You will be responsible for commercial partnering across our Restaurants and providing strategic support related to the business priorities, goals and wider business objectives. Reporting into the People Director, you will be expected to work alongside the senior leaders of the aligned BU’s to challenge and support the senior leadership teams. You will also have responsibility for success of the people strategy within Restaurants.

We are the UK's leading hospitality company, a FTSE 100 organisation with over 35,000 employees worldwide. Owning successful brands such as Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn, we have over 750 hotels and over 70,000 rooms across the UK, Germany and the Middle East. We are also proud to own over 420 restaurants across the UK including Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and our newer brands Bar + Block and Cookhouse & Pub.


What you will be doing:

  • Implements the people plan in Restaurants, developing more detailed local plans to support the overall Whitbread People Strategy and Plan where necessary without undermining the “One Team, One Plan” approach.
  • Owns the overall operational manpower plan and talent pipeline and will use robust talent and succession planning to source and retain the best talent for Restaurants. This will be done with by championing, leveraging and embedding our employee value proposition to ensure great experiences for our guests start with great experiences for our teams and with the mindset of “We Make It Together”, establishing the Whitbread Restaurants as “Employer of Choice' in the UK hospitality industry.
  • Participates as an integral member of the aligned groups leadership teams and is able to credibly provide insights to the business to help inform strategic decisions
  • Acts as a solutioning partner and architect with the business lead in all areas concerning the growth strategy of the business, undertaking strategic projects where necessary in addition to the general partnering support required 
  • Partners effectively with specialist groups (e.g. L&D, Reward) to develop, deliver and promote initiatives in line with the business needs and to deliver against the strategic people agenda
  • Proactively identifies key opportunities to further strengthen and build the talent pool within the BU’s and continuously identifies opportunities to flow key talent cross-functionally and across brands
  • Uses metrics and analytics regularly to help drive/steer management decisions, e.g. understanding the footprint of the function, understanding the talent alignment and resource allocation for the function, driving strategic workforce planning using predictive analytics and scenario modeling for the function
  • Manages the delivery and execution of core HR processes and policies per the business cycle as required, e.g. salary/compensation reviews, talent reviews etc
  • Drives all efforts around increasing employee listening and engagement within the function
  • Regularly attends external events to promote Whitbread HR and stays current on latest trends and external context (both commercial and HR specific) that would be prevalent to the Whitbread  People Strategy
  • Develops professional networks both internally and externally and develops own profile to help identify best practices for the function (both commercially and for HR)
  • Provides thought leadership and setting the strategic direction for the HR Business Partner  team
  • Manages a team of professionally qualified HR Business Partners and ER practitioners including Whitbread’s ER Advice Line
  • Manages and delivers via the Service delivery team the HR life cycle activities across the aligned BU’s
  • Budget holder, responsible for managing, setting and delivering against financial model


What we are looking for:

  • Extensive HR commercial partnering experience, preferably within a large, complex and multi-cultural environment
  • Director potential – this is a key succession role to HR Director level roles
  • Experience of best in class blue chip HR practice but also in depth understanding of the hospitality industry or similar people intensive industry
  • Preference to have worked and been successful in a highly driven results orientated organization, with a matrixed operating model
  • Previous successful experience of managing a team of geographically dispersed professional business partners
  • Business, HR, or relevant Master’s University degree
  • Commercial business experience and proven experience of managing a budget
  • Effective oral and written communication skills at various organization levels, specifically senior management
  • Ability to deal with ambiguous and fluid situations
  • Resilience, with the ability to thrive within a challenging and fast-paced business environment
  • Ability to be able to regularly travel across UK and spend regular time (1-2 days a week) in Dunstable