Tuesday 6 February 2024

Up the organisation

Following Tim Martin receiving a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours List, J. D. Wetherspoon have achieved recognition as one of Britain’s Top Employers.
To achieve Top Employer certification, participating organisations are assessed by the Top Employers Institute via an analysis of their people practices. The HR Best Practices survey covers six HR domains consisting of 20 topics across the business and employee lifecycle, including people strategy, work environment, talent acquisition, learning, wellbeing, and diversity & inclusion. The information is then validated and audited independently by the Top Employers Institute to ensure the integrity of the processes and data.

JDW people director Tom Ball said: We are extremely proud to be considered among the best employers in the United Kingdom, particularly as the recognition comes from an independent organisation, which researches numerous companies. The company employs more than 41,000 staff across its pubs in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, as well as at its head office. JDW is committed to offering employees the best opportunities to succeed and grow within the company, including studying for qualifications and apprenticeships. This is evident in the number of staff progressing to more senior positions at JDW.

Some people with an axe to grind like to characterise Wetherspoon’s as a bad employer, but it fact it is clear that they take their responsibilities very seriously. It’s also obvious that, with a few exceptions, their employees give the impression of being enthusiastic and committed to their work.

While many employees just view it as a short-term opportunity to earn money while studying, as the article says there is also the possibility of advancement up the hierarchy if that is something that interests you, something that is not available if working for an independent pub or bar. This is also true of McDonald’s, another company that is often looked down on. Hospitality must have one f the highest ratios of senior staff who started at the bottom of any major industry.


  1. Anecdotally, I’d observe Spoons tend to retain staff. The same faces appear month to month. A reasonable indication of a poor working environment is high staff turnover and spoons appear better than many.

    I’d credit spoons with hiring many into their 1st jobs, something that has a wider societal value in socialising the emerging generation into work. A benefit to the country of all those graduates with a first job and reference. As someone relatively senior in his profession and asked to interview recruits and sift CVs, a stint in spoons is no shame. The opposite, in fact, it shows you turn up on time prepared to learn and do a job and maybe even can handle a situation. A positive for juniors wanting to learn and far better, in my view, than unpaid internships at Daddys safe space firm or a year getting stoned in India at Daddys expense.

    Further, Spoons affords opportunity, in a world where opportunity appears increasingly inherited rather than available on merit as it was when I entered and left university, to kids whose parents are unable to buy them privilege. Opportunities for kids not going to university to climb a career path.

    My any metric, spoons appear a great organisation. Sometimes let down by its owner’s propensity for ill thought public pronouncements that give its critics ammunition. But overall run well with professional practices that provide a safe environment without the issues of sex-pesting and bullying that appear to have occurred at the like of BrewDog and small independent pubs run on the whim of owners that see power imbalances.

    Sneered at by those that tell us they don’t care about the price of beer or that we need to pay more for our beer whilst often running loss making vanity breweries/micropubs/online magazines supported clearly from the bank of Mum & Dad.

  2. I can't see I take much from such surveys but I do credit Tim Martin with good advice to staff at the start of lockdown, "that if staff were offered a job in a supermarket, he would understand if they wanted to take it." It was much criticised and ill-quoted at the time, but in hindsight it was very supportive.

    1. In one sense he said out loud what a lot of businesses were hanging fire on. That is if we shut down, we can't keep people on to do nothing with no money coming in. Mass layoffs were coming. Rishi hadn't announced furlough at that point. Supermarkets we're likely to be winners of a hospitality shutdown. "run off to tesco, kids".

      with hindsight that was always going to go down like a ton of bricks and all the CEOs that kept schtum and waited to see where the wind was blowing dodged the bullet.

      Surprised the board don't try and reign in Timbo's public face but I guess he's what they call a force of nature. As it turns out, not as malign as many a titan of industry. Not as awful as that brewdog chap, or many that build giant empires.

    2. I suspect once Timbo goes marketing men and accountants will come up with all kinds of bright ideas about how to run it better, and it will end up losing its USP and becoming less successful.

    3. "once Timbo goes"
      But he might outlive us all, just like Humphrey will.

    4. Excellent summary as always, Cookie.

      Tim may be a force of nature but it's only reinforced the public perception of him and Spoons as bigger operators than they actually are. Most folk couldn't name a single other pub company.

      Anecdotally Spoons seem busier than ever this year.

  3. "The information is then validated and audited independently by the Top Employers Institute" but is the Top Employers Institute funded, like Cask Marque, by those it certifies ?

    1. Yes. Businesses have to pay them to conduct the audit and issue the certificate. Ultimately they are funded by those businesses.

  4. All true, but the tables always need a decent wipe

  5. Timbo is our Donald Trump!

    1. Absolutely Andy!

      Tim just does what he believes in, which is run lots of pubs the way he 'knows' will make a few quid!

      What on earth is wrong with that!

      Beeboids, sundry, sandalled lefties and Guardianistas all sneer at him, and he just tells them to 'sod off', which is the right way to get citizens through his doors!

  6. Professor Pie-Tin7 February 2024 at 08:12

    Here on the charming little Thai island of KO Samet life meanders along at an agreeably predictable pace varying between slow and comatose.
    Hospitality runs in the Thai blood - they're extremely good at it.
    And the politeness and cheerful manner in which they interact with tourists is entirely unforced.
    It's also mercifully free of the sleazy sex tourism that other places around here are plagued by - which surprisingly may be due to the fact the island is run discreetly by three local Mafia families.
    Anyone transgressing is given three hours to leave the island.
    It seems to work as the place is extremely pleasant, safe and easy-going.
    Sadly the only sandfly in the Amber Solaire is the presence of a large number of Russian tourists.
    Almost all are massively obese and overwhelmingly rude to the lovely Thai people.
    One vast dirigible of lard on the sunbed next to us chain-smoked all day and flicked his butts onto the sand while the eight pint bottles of Singha he'd consumed were lined up like a terrace of condemned houses.
    He was barely 30 years of age and already his waist measurement far exceeded his IQ.
    The thoughts of him keeling over with a massive heart attack before he hits middle age brought us some cheer.
    As did the Thai beach umbrella boys' wicked impression of him doing precisely that after he'd left.
    Their laughter and good cheer is infectious.

  7. Wetherspoons were pioneers in bringing in a smoking ban prior to the national ban, it certainly didn't affect their profitability.

    1. Spoons jumped the gun on the smoking ban in a few of their outlets, only to suspend the programme when trade fell off a cliff.

    2. And jumped the gun with oversized lined glasses.

    3. Although in that case the legislation was never implemented.

  8. I strongly disagree with Tim's political views but cannot argue against his success in building and running his pub empire. He found a gap in the market and has exploited it very successfully.


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