Just the Job – Insight From High End Recruitment Firm Filling the World’s Top Hospitality Jobs
Tony Gregg, Chief Executive at Anthony Gregg Partnership
From household named restaurant chains to global hotel groups and travel operators, what inspired you to get into the hospitality business in the first place?
Food is one of my great passions in life and so the sector has always felt like a natural fit. Like many young people I worked in hospitality venues before becoming full-time employed and relished the fast-paced environment where teamwork and camaraderie was everything. I started my professional career in retail which as a consumer-facing industry enjoys many synergies with hospitality. No two days are the same and the sector attracts a diverse group of interesting people who share my work ethic and love of social interaction. I couldn’t imagine myself working anywhere else. What differentiates Anthony Gregg Partnership in the industry for high end recruitment in the hospitality sector?
Our USP is that we’re small enough to offer a bespoke service tailored to your specific business need but large enough to have access to an unrivalled network of high-calibre candidates across the hospitality sector. We have a deep understanding of the sector and work tirelessly with our clients to build an understanding of their vision for the future, their beliefs and values as well as the immediate needs they have for senior-level talent. We also offer an end-to-end service including executive and interim search, talent acquisition and organisational transformation as well as executive coaching through our sister company asg. One advantage we have of working across all the consumer sectors is we know industry leaders in each of them, including high-quality candidates in retail, travel or leisure who have transferable skills and can bring a fresh perspective to hospitality businesses.
What do you expect to see from hospitality leaders this year?
In a word: transformation. The sector has been one of the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic and some businesses sadly won’t survive. Those that do will need to tear up their old strategies and adapt their businesses to reflect the huge structural shifts that have taken place. One example is the rapid digitisation of the sector – a change that was already in process pre-pandemic but has been turbocharged over the past 12 months driven by lockdowns and the need to maintain social distance. Persuading people to leave secure jobs at this time will be challenging and therefore leaders will need to place extra emphasis on developing their own talent through training and coaching. Employee wellbeing will also be of utmost importance as people adapt to new ways of working. Front of house staff will need to feel safe and supported while for managers and executives the days of spending five days a week in a head office are firmly in the past. Leaders will also need to carry out an honest audit of their own leadership and that of their executive team? Are they the right person to take the business through this period of rapid change and disruption? Do they need to move people on and bring in fresh blood? If they are confident in their team then they need to invest in retention including executive coaching.
What will the impact of the vaccine look like for the hospitality industry?
The hope has to be that it allows for a measured reopening of venues from the spring and a summer season as good – if not better – than last year when the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme proved so successful in attracting customers back into pubs, restaurants and other venues. Businesses are hurting but the sector is hugely resilient and adaptable and will ultimately bounce back. Right now, there's a student thinking he or she wants to be a hospitality CEO one day. What piece of advice would you give him or her?
Hospitality is such a diverse sector so from the very start my advice would be to gain a wide range of experiences – both front and back of house and across a variety of businesses – so you gain an appreciation of how the sector works. Remember that CEOs tend to be great generalists rather than experts in a certain field. Be enthusiastic, flexible, hard-working and keen to learn not just about your own company but about rival sector leaders, their strategies and their leadership teams. As you develop your career keep focusing on your own development: go to conferences, network outside of your organisation, find a coach and mentor and get industry-recognised qualifications. Finally, don’t be afraid to add international experience to your CV. It will give you a fresh perspective and shows a willingness to push beyond your comfort zone.
What can we expect to see from Anthony Gregg Partnership this year? (any new ways of working, goals, achievements etc?)
We’re transforming along with the businesses we partner. We are already working more closely with clients than ever before; not just seeing them when they need to recruit but developing long-term strategic plans including succession planning. We are also continually developing our range of complementary services such as team assessment, onboarding and executive coaching. We see that part of the Anthony Gregg Partnership really expanding in the years ahead as talent acquisition and retention becomes an increasingly key driver of business performance.
Tony Gregg, Chief Executive at Anthony Gregg Partnership, executive search firm.