Purple Breakfast Club – Summary of Outcomes

On 3rd October, at an exclusive event for the C-Suite, business owners and investors within the hospitality space, an exclusive audience of 30 of hospitality’s ‘great and good’ gathered to debate:




Richard Branson’s been saying it for years, Luke Johnson wrote about it in The Times. So why isn’t every board putting people at the top of the agenda?



TIM KIDD, MD, Kantar Worldpanel, Europe and US – placed 5th in The Glassdoor Top 50 most people-centric CEOs (ahead of Mark Zuckerberg, Rob Papps, Tim Cook)

KIERAN LAWTON, Investment Director at Palatine Private Equity – looking to support strong management teams in growing businesses. Non-Executive Director at Gusto Restaurants, The Alchemist Bar and Restaurant and ZyroFisher Limited

BRIAN MCCARTHY, MD, Valor Hospitality – Valor manages a portfolio of UK hotels branded under all the main brands – Hilton, Marriott and IHG. In four years engagement has moved from 74% to 89%. Wrapping this level of improvement in outstanding commercial processes has led to great value growth for the owners

JANE SUNLEY, business author, thought leader and Founder of Purple Cubed

Chaired by: DAVID WOODS-HALE, Head of Communications, Association of MBAs, former Journalist and Editor of HR Magazine and other people related titles



  • Tim Kidd: “It’s vital to keep investing in people during a downturn to avoid creating a downward spiral”
  • Brian McCarthy: “Good private equity companies value people”
  • Jane Sunley: “In the same way you’d refer to a monthly P + L, the board needs simple metrics to track the status quo of ‘the people stuff’. HR can be transactional (policies, processes, in the office) or transformational (business-savvy, strategic, in the business)”
  • Kieran Lawton: “Give people reasons to join and fewer reasons to leave, [in the businesses I invest in] we aren’t worried about attracting quality people because we have a great proposition”
  • Brian McCarthy: “Everyone in the business has a responsibility for culture”
  • Tim Kidd: “The behaviour you walk past is the behaviour you expect – call people out when it’s not right”
  • Kieran Lawton: “People need to understand the journey the business is going on and feel part of it”
  • Jane Sunley: “Today’s employee wants to learn, progress and be able to make a contribution in a company with a clear and engaging purpose”
  • Brian McCarthy: “We obsess over employee engagement; if engagement goes down so does commercial success – 30% of our GMs are internally promoted and therefore understand our culture”
  • Tim Kidd: “For HR to be strategic it’s important they are in the business, not separate, siloed or outsourced.”
  • Jane Sunley: “Great people stuff can only be delivered if whoever holds the power is completely bought into the idea of profit through people – it has to come from the very top. Then leaders at all levels must be accountable for creating a great place to work”



  • People truly are at the core of everything business does and the importance of getting companies to figure out how to unleash the power of an engaged workforce is massive
  • Competitive advantage comes through great culture
  • Great people make or break the brand
  • Annual reports don’t need to show people metrics, though this may become more important in future and some are doing it already
  • Heads of People have to be highly commercial and strategic rather than ‘fluffy’
  • The war for talent rages on (and on…) though if you get the people stuff right, good people will always be available to you
  • The role of technology in supporting that agenda, when harnessed appropriately, can be incredibly enabling (see handout)
  • The panel agreed that the best and most successful companies do place a high emphasis on people and debate this at board level. Those who don’t are missing out.


FOR CONTEXT: For context, Purple Cubed is a boutique people consultancy offering expertise and tools for organisations that aspire to improve business results and growth through harnessing the power of their people. Our approach is contemporary, pragmatic and strategic which has given us a strong track record of positioning businesses as ‘amazing places to work’, thus helping them overcome the people and delivery challenges they face. Awards include: Female CEO Awards Best Enterprise Consultancy; Corporate Vision Outstanding HR Consultancy; FT Magazine Small Business Top HR Influencers; Personnel Today Best HR Supplier; CEO Magazine Best Consultancy; CIPD Best HR Consultancy

2018-10-10T11:15:40+01:00 October 10th, 2018|