UK Directors’ report, employment of disabled persons and employee involvement, SI 2008/410 Sch 7

Mitchells & Butlers plc – Annual report – 26 September 2020

Industry: leisure

DIRECTORS’ REPORT (extract)

EMPLOYMENT POLICIES

The Group employed an average of 44,466 people in FY 2020 (FY 2019 45,560). Through its diversity policy, the Company seeks to ensure that every employee, without exception, is treated equally and fairly and that all employees are aware of their responsibilities.

Our policies and procedures fully support our disabled colleagues. We take active measures to do so via:

  • a robust reasonable adjustment policy;
  • disability-specific online resources (accessible via the Group’s online recruitment system); and
  • processes to ensure colleagues are fully supported.

The Group is responsive to the needs of its employees. As such, should any employee of the Group become disabled during their time with us, we will actively retrain that employee and make reasonable adjustments to their working environment where possible, in order to keep the employee with the Group. It is the policy of the Group that the recruitment, training, career development and promotion of disabled persons should, as far as possible, be identical to that of other employees.

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

Details of how the Company addressed employee engagement and wellbeing issues, along with workplace arrangements, arising from the disruption caused in FY 2020 by the Covid-19 pandemic are set out in the summary of Covid-19 responses on pages 59 to 61.

Mitchells & Butlers engages with its employees on a regular basis and in a number of ways to suit their different working patterns. This includes:

  • line manager briefings;
  • communications forums and roadshows held by functions or brands across the Company;
  • a dedicated intranet for the Retail Support Team;
  • ‘Mable’, the Mitchells & Butlers online learning platform;
  • email news alerts;
  • focus groups;
  • weekly bulletins – specifically targeted at retail house managers and mobile workers;
  • employee social media groups; and
  • a monthly magazine poster, Frontline News, for the retail estate.

Details of the financial and economic factors affecting the performance of the Company are shared with all employees at the appropriate time using the methods listed above. In line with the requirements of the 2018 Code, the Board agreed that Dave Coplin will act as a link to the Board for employees in order to strengthen the ‘employee voice’ at the Board. This involves attending employee forums, focus groups and Company awards and providing feedback on values and behaviours, employee development and upskilling and ensuring that feedback is listened to and acted upon where appropriate.

We provide opportunities for employees to give their feedback to the Company in a number of ways, from team or shift meetings in restaurants, bars and pubs and engagement surveys for all employees to the Mitchells & Butlers Business Forum. Business Forum representatives collect questions from employees across the Company and put them to members of the Executive Committee. The questions and answers are published in Frontline News and online.

The Company’s online learning platform, Mable, has become well embedded since its launch in 2017, with circa 23,000 logins per month and close to 900,000 course completions every year. Having also developed our own in-house digital design team, we are now able to create effective, engaging learner content very cost effectively. In parallel, this has proved extremely helpful during the Covid-19 lockdowns, with colleagues able to continue to grow their skills, and allowing us to roll out Covid-19 secure training very efficiently and effectively.

Mitchells & Butlers is keen to encourage greater employee involvement in the Group’s performance through share ownership. It operates two HMRC approved all-employee plans, which are the 2013 Sharesave Plan and the Share Incentive Plan (which includes Partnership shares). Further details on the plans are set out in the Report on Directors’ remuneration. These plans were temporarily suspended during FY 2020 due to over 99% of the Company’s workforce being furloughed during the launch window.

The Company also operates two other plans on a selective basis, which are the 2013 Performance Restricted Share Plan and the 2013 Short Term Deferred Incentive Plan.

During the year, the Company has remained within its headroom limits for the issue of new shares for share plans as set out in the rules of the above plans. The Company uses an employee benefit trust to acquire shares in the market when appropriate to satisfy share awards in order to manage headroom under the plan rules. A total of 750,000 shares in the Company were purchased by the employee benefit trust during FY 2020.

Pages 59-61 extract

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE STATEMENT (extract)

Employee wellbeing arrangements and workplace implications:

Following the instruction of the UK Government on 20 March 2020 that the Group’s premises should close with immediate effect, the trading sites were closed later that day and, after a few days of operating with a skeleton staff to ensure a clean close down and transition to remote working, the Company’s Retail Support Centre and other central support offices also closed down.

At that time, over 99% of employees had been put on furlough, with basic pay for all employees including the Board reduced to between 60% and 80% depending on seniority, with more senior staff and Board members taking larger reductions. Around 150 members of staff remained in role, including the Executive Committee, the Head of Safety, the treasury team, the payroll team, and those members of the property team dealing with essential estate maintenance and repair, together with security, a core financial management group and a core supplier relationship group to manage ongoing supply chain

arrangements and the IT support helpdesk. That continuing group all worked remotely, using technology and cyber security arrangements which were already available across the business. There were no meetings held in any of the Group’s offices until the Government issued its recommendation that businesses start to encourage staff to return to work. Any such meetings were (and continue to be) held only on an ‘as needed’ basis with appropriate social distancing and safety protocols.

In order to ensure that it was able to assess any concerns which the Company’s employees had in respect of either being on furlough and away from their day-to-day roles or working remotely from colleagues, the Company carried out a Wellbeing survey in June which had responses from over 16,500 colleagues. The principal outputs of that survey were used in developing the Company’s return to work plans and to enable any common concerns to be addressed.

STRATEGIC REPORT (extract)

VALUE CREATION STORY (extract)