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Stepping Up - It's Time To Earn Your Stripes

Posted on 23 April, 2020


By Jill Whittaker, Managing Director of HIT Training

There's a lot of talk about leadership at the moment. All I can say is, if you're the boss then now is the time for your big girl pants – it's time to step up. Disclaimer alert: I base my advice on my own experience, not on any specific management theory. My company is in the top 20 businesses to work for 2020 (Sunday Times Best Companies – we are top five for our staff saying they are never bored at work!), we’ve been going for 14 years, we support 5,000 businesses. Either I've been VERY lucky or I must have been doing something right. If this approach resonates with you then here are my golden rules (AKA Jill’s tool kit):

  • Know Your Numbers – be sure of your ground. Without this you have no starting point. Count the beans, the numbers aren’t just the accountant’s job, they’re yours too.
  • Be Honest – tell the truth. Don’t embellish, don’t try to make it sound better than it is. People need honesty in tough times, they can take it.
  • Trust – you hired great people, trust them to be great. Resist the urge to micro manage, particularly when you can't see what they are doing.
  • Do the right thing – always. Even if you have to interpret the rules to do it and doing the right thing means doing it in an unorthodox way. Most rules weren't meant for the sort of decision making you are having to make now.
  • Be “can do” – if you focus on what you can’t do you’re lost and shouldn’t be in this job.
  • Care – do I have to say this? Don’t pretend to care. Do stuff that shows you care. Make a call. Send a card. Tweet. Whatever it takes. If your staff are in training, find a way to keep them in training (they will thank you one day). If you have people who might be lonely or vulnerable, make an extra effort.
  • Do as you would be done by – misquoting the sermon on the mount, so this isn’t a new idea. If you treat people as you would like to be treated you'll sleep well at night.
  • Engage – today’s buzzword. Keep in touch, keep everyone up to date, keep everyone current. Try not to over-share though, you don't want to become white noise.
  • Practise Humility – keep it simple, and don’t pretend you have all the answers.

There you go. Those of you who know me understand that I don't always do everything by the book, but that I always try to do the decent thing. It's the least that people should expect of their gaffer.

Keep safe my friends. Let's fight to make sure we are still standing when all this is over.


McMullen’s chose HIT as its sole external provider for Apprenticeships and vocational qualifications in early 2015 and since then we have found them a pleasure to work with.  Their expertise in this sector is superior and they have proven to be a professional and supportive partner who have a passion for learning and development, which matches our own organisation.

Amanda Walden – Training & Recruitment Manager, McMullen's

Encouraging our staff to improve their skills set and supporting them through apprenticeships and training programmes underlines our commitment to help them further develop their own careers. Offering the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship also gives the Brend Group a point of difference which I’m convinced will help attract new members of staff in the future.

Andrew Mosedale - Group HR Manager, Brend Hotels

Our partnership with HIT has certainly made recruitment much easier in a very difficult labour market and gives us a point of difference in an increasingly competitive environment.  Kew Green has also benefited enormously from well trained, skilled and competent staff who contribute significantly to the ever improving and high levels of customer experience that our guests expect and deserve.

Andrew Tregenza - HR Business Partner, Kew Green Hotels

Apprenticeships allow us to give people a great opportunity to develop a career with us and learn a skill or trade that will accompany them throughout their career and life. We see progression to the Level 4 qualification as key to our strategy of providing development at all stages of an employee’s career with Harrison.

Alex Taylor - Training Manager, Harrison Catering Services

There is a shortage of skilled chefs within in our industry at present and any organisation that truly believes in the value of training and development of bright future stars will enable themselves to be in a strong position for the years ahead. Investing in smart training and development is at the heart of what we do within WSH, so it has been refreshing to work alongside HIT within our Baxterstorey Chef Academy. 

Rik Razza - Head of Chef Development, BaxterStorey


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