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

Mitchells & Butlers plc – Annual report – 25 September 2021

Industry: leisure

Directors’ report (extract)

Employment policies

The Group employed an average of 39,853 people in FY 2021 (FY 2020 44,466). 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 2021 by the Covid-19 pandemic are set out in the summary of Covid-19 responses in the Purpose in Action section of the Strategic Report and on page 63.

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 and Retail Management;
  • ‘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. The Board envisage that the employee voice role will become more active in the coming year as the business recovers from the impact of the pandemic and that the insight Dave Coplin is able to provide will be very helpful to the Board in understanding the views of employees.

Updates on employee matters are normally presented to the Remuneration Committee or Board at least twice a year and cover a wide range of issues. Over the course of FY 2021 these updates have focused on the ongoing response to the pandemic and, in particular, workforce planning, employee engagement and wellbeing and the reinvigoration of our apprenticeship strategy. The Remuneration Committee is also informed where significant changes are proposed to employment conditions and policies elsewhere in the Group, or if there are important employee related projects underway. More detail on how the Remuneration Committee takes into account wider workforce polices and the views of employees in relation to Executive pay can be found on page 86.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chief Executive, Phil Urban, has given fortnightly updates to the whole of the Group’s workforce on how the Group has been dealing with the challenges, and opportunities, arising from the effect of closures and reopenings of the Company’s trading sites and central offices. These updates were available to all employees, including those on furlough.

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 Mitchells & Butlers ‘People Promise’

Our clearly defined people promise enables us to differentiate our employment proposition, and the diagram below illustrates in more detail the elements of our people promise. Clearly, pay is a very important element but other factors also play an important part of the overall value proposition, which is known internally as our ‘People Promise’.

Our people value opportunities for progression, challenge within their role, fair rewards and a safe working environment. Our research has also shown that, in normal times, unlike some industries and employers, Mitchells & Butlers offers a number of important differentiators which our employees value:

  • Flexibility and convenience: Mitchells & Butlers has always promoted a flexible approach to working from the frontline through to our support centre. The Covid-19 pandemic has further demonstrated how flexibility and convenience are an ever more important factor for employees across all employee groups.
  • More job satisfaction: As part of our research we learnt that working for Mitchells & Butlers gave employees a strong sense of family and that employees put a high value on the day-to-day variety of work. This comes through very strongly in our survey results.
  • A great atmosphere: Undoubtedly working in hospitality, especially at the frontline, is hard work. However, we also know that it can be great fun. Our aim at Mitchells & Butlers is to make the working environment as fun and friendly as possible whilst ensuring that guests receive great service.

It is clear that as a result of Covid-19 many employees have begun to reassess what is important to them and their work. In addition, other industries have been able to demonstrate how they now can offer careers that provide some elements of our proposition in a way not seen before, for example through very flexible working arrangements. It will therefore be important to review and refresh our research so that our ‘People Promise’ evolves and remains relevant to current and prospective team members.

Corporate governance statement (extract)

Employee wellbeing arrangements and workplace implications:

The Company has an established wellbeing strategy that encompasses five pillars of wellbeing; social, environmental, physical, mental and financial. Within these pillars there are a range of resources and tools available for line managers and employees to access, including:

  • our employee assistance programme which is run by the Licensed Trade Charity. They operate a free, 24/7 confidential helpline and a website available to all employees.
  • an online wellbeing centre that provides access to workout videos, nutritional advice, financial wellbeing tools and mindfulness and meditation videos and articles.
  • financial wellbeing tools and support via Nudge.
  • mental health training available for all line managers to assist them insupporting their teams. In addition the business has trained a number of mental health first aiders.
  • wellbeing days, which are now intended to be held virtually and this will enable all employees to participate in the various activities and workshops.

During periods of lockdown the business operated with a skeleton team of support centre employees. During the reopening phase the Retail Support Centre and other offices gradually reopened in line with Government guidance and additional safety measures were put in place to provide employees with further reassurance. These included a pre-booking facility for office attendance, enhanced cleaning and regular lateral flow testing. Ahead of reopening in April employees were invited to participate in a survey in order to assess any concerns they may have had in relation to returning to work and this enabled reopening plans to developed.

Strategic Report (extract)

Value creation story (extract)