Imagine achieving 300% business growth and being told you are not good enough

It was one of the Prime Minister’s main ambitions for the UK to become a genuine meritocracy as this would naturally solve society’s injustices. Meritocracy, by its very nature, is a natural leveller and encourages talent to have aspiration and hope which in turn encourages entrepreneurship, business and the economy. The logic is all good. The main problem is that we are not moving in the right direction.

By Chris Sheppardson, Managing Director, EP

If anything it is becoming harder. The facts tells us that it was easier for a person born in humble beginnings in 1955 to rise to the top than it is today.

There is one female manager I can cite that has been told that she cannot progress to the next level until she gets a degree qualification; this despite tripling the level of business and an increase of 150% in profits for that hospitality service offer in two years – 300% growth and told she cannot aspire to higher?

Her response has been to take on debt to get that degree. You may disagree with me but this is fundamentally wrong as the company should be more supportive and play a more active role in her development. She has delivered beyond expectation and has asked to increase her debt.

Sadly this is not an isolated story. Of course the bad person in the story would appear to be the person that delivered the message but that was unfortunate – no, the issues lay with the rules that say that someone without a degree cannot compete on a level playing field. This thinking is wrong. Blame it on the process, the check list, the narrow minded thinking that creates the barrier. There are a number of major players that play important roles for their companies and for the industry who do not possess a degree.

It is not acceptable and we have work to do. So let’s start championing great people, regardless of their qualifications. Degrees have their importance but they are not the be all and end all and no guarantee of success. Would you really want to lose someone that grew your business by 300% because of a policy that was less than perfect?

“For Hospitality which has a long history of giving all talent opportunity, it can be a role model for others to follow.”

Most want to ensure that good talent is given the support to be able to aspire and be developed. Companies have reduced their L&D in relative terms by 50% over the last twenty years and the result is a growing gap between company leadership and the emerging generations. It is no coincidence that 63% of employees lack trust in company leadership. 91% of millennials do not expect to stay in their jobs for more than the next 3 years citing a lack of commitment from companies in their development. It is not a great picture but the good news is that the problem can be solved if talent is given greater hope and aspiration.

For Hospitality which has a long history of giving all talent opportunity, it can be a role model for others to follow. Think of the many great welcomes that you receive when you enter a building or a hotel. Think about the great skills that are often on display in kitchens all around the country. Often this is being provided with just great people that want to provide a top class craft or service. This alone creates an experience that does impact on daily life. These people deserve support back in return.