What makes JH a 'Best Place to Work'

Last Tuesday saw the unveiling of The Caterer's '30 Best Places to Work' in Hospitality at the HR Forum. JH has entered this survey for the past 4 years and has been featured in the top 30 for all of them. This year's 13th position was exciting and a culmination of the hard work and efforts of our HR team. We asked our HR and Finance Director, Sam Kennett, to tell us what makes JH this amazing place to work and what are her plans for this year. Here's what she had to say.


As a contract caterer committed to keeping our clients’ workforces happy, we feel it is important that our own staff feel cared for and valued. To understand more about our workforce and how we can improve our approach to employee engagement and recognition, each year we enter The Caterer’s 30 Best Places to work in Hospitality survey. We have made the top 30 each of the 4 years we have entered – which is a huge achievement for us. As an owner & Director at Just Hospitality this gives me an enormous sense of pride.

Last week, following a gripping countdown at The Caterer HR Forum, HR Manager Felicity Barnes and I were thrilled to see the Just Hospitality logo appear at Number 13 on the list – climbing 15 places verses last year.  It is amazing to see our small family run business up alongside some of the big players in the catering industry and testament to Felicity’s dedication to our own workplace happiness. 

Since the results last year, we have both strengthened existing initiatives and developed new ways to engage with our staff:


Happiness Week: This is our take on “Wellness Week” with a typical JH twist. It coincides with the International Day of Happiness and release of the World Happiness Report, but keeps the celebrations going all week. This year activities included a team gift exchange, a lucky dip, an interactive nutrition workshop at our production kitchen and a joke swap. Importantly, we also surveyed our staff to learn more about their level of happiness with life in general and what kinds of activities or training we can offer throughout the year to increase their happiness. The results reveal our staff wants more activities based on exercising, relating, and meaning - all proven drivers of happiness.  Monthly activities will continue throughout the year focusing on these areas.



Yammer was introduced this year as a way to help staff exchange ideas and connect. As a team we are spread across multiple sites, which can hinder collaboration. We want everyone in the company to have a voice and to help us develop and grow. So far we’ve found that Yammer is an effective tool for generating conversations that can have a positive effect on our work but that sit outside of daily work routines.

Birthday off and child’s first day at school off:  

No one wants to celebrate their birthday at work so we give every staff member their special day off. For the past few years we have also been giving parents the day off on their child’s first day of school. For working parents, we feel it is just so special to be able to take that day off without dipping into their holiday entitlement. 


‘A day in the life’

All JH employees have the opportunity to shadow a colleague in a different department within the company for one day. The goal is to help participants gain a better understanding of the business as a whole and to think about how they want to develop their career. This initiative has grown over the last year with greater uptake across all levels of the business. 

Employee assistance program

We work in partnership with Hospitality Action. Being able to offer our employees confidential and professional support on a wide range of issues is a huge comfort to our employees, their families, and us. 

These initiatives ensure people feel valued in the company and part of the JH family; validating our commitment to them as individuals, not just their wellbeing while at work.

A happy workforce is a productive one!

The feedback from the report this year has shown that most/all of the time:

·      96% of staff would recommend JH (+15% vs benchmark)

·      98% of staff say we treat it’s people well (+14% vs benchmark)

·      96% of staff say their proud to work here (+9% vs benchmark)

·      96% of staff say they are happy here (+11% vs benchmark)  

Seeing these statistics in the PurpleCubed report genuinely made me feel very emotional.  It is incredible to know that we’ve created a company that our staff feel so positively about.  

With regards to ‘What makes a great place to Work’? The top 6 characteristics as identified by our team were:

1.     Good environment to be in

2.     Being part of a team that respects each other

3.     Respect for work/life balance

4.     Company has similar values to me

5.     Great communication (two way)

6.     Paid on time

Again, it was great to see that we finished above the benchmark on ALL of these characteristics.  In particular, respect for work/life balance and a company that has similar values were much stronger than the benchmark (+15% & +12% respectively).  

So – what next?  This year we will be focusing on being an even better employer. Continuing to care, nurture, develop & look after our staff.  Next years’ aim… to be in the Top 6 and shortlisted for a Best Employer Catey :) 

Check out our Careers page if you wish to be a part of this fun team!

Marketing @ JH