Our People, Our Culture
We call it our People Pledge: At Hotel Chocolat, we treat each other with respect, equality and grace. Our mantra? Be brave. Be kind.
Our Approach to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
People are the key ingredient to our success and we’re proud to have a culture that allows our team to thrive. We want every employee to have a chance to develop their career and grow with us, because when people grow, our business grows.
We’re a diverse and inclusive business with a workplace culture that lets everyone just be themselves. We strive to provide a working environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging and is actively supported to reach their potential.
Our People Pledge
We’re committed to creating an inclusive workplace culture, making sure that everyone on the team at Hotel Chocolat has an employee voice that is heard loud and clear.
We want everyone to be able to make the best use of their skills and talents, free from discrimination or harassment, with decisions that are based on merit. We’re confident that all of our employees are paid fairly and consistently for the same roles.
That means making sure that the opportunities and challenges facing the broad and diverse range of our employees are heard and shared in the Hotel Chocolat boardroom.
Our non-executive director Sophie Tomkins has a special role to raise employee views and concerns, and members of our senior management team sponsor different strands of diversity:
Angus Thirlwell, CEO – Race and Religion
Peter Harris, Development Director – Mental Health
Lysa Hardy, CMO – Gender
Matt Pritchard, CFO – Disability
Matt Margereson COO – Sexual Orientation
We’re Raising Awareness about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
At Hotel Chocolat, ethics has always been at the heart of our brand, treating people fairly and trying to leave things a little better than we found them. Improving awareness of diversity and inclusion in the workplace is a key part of that.
We make sure that everyone on our team receives equality, diversity and inclusion awareness training. That’s just the start of our mission to build a truly inclusive environment.
We’re Making our Hiring More Inclusive
We’ve overhauled our recruitment processes to improve equality and diversity in the workplace. New, more inclusive recruitment practices at every step of the journey ensure we’re opening up to the broadest and most diverse talent pool, minimising bias through the hiring process.
Almost 80% of our team has shared their diversity data with us, giving us a better understanding of our workforce and where we have opportunities for more inclusive recruitment. This gives us a baseline to measure against, with a chance to focus on specific improvements.
We’re Always Listening to our Teams
Communication is so important to us. In 2020, we launched a new, internal social media platform called The Pod to engage in a vibrant dialogue with our teams. We also launched an equality, diversity and inclusion calendar, highlighting events throughout the year to celebrate diversity.
Our teams are free to celebrate events on The Pod that are important to them. Over the year, we hero events to give them the attention they deserve. Our board sponsors are actively involved, with our executive team leading volunteers from across the business to plan and celebrate events.
Hotel Chocolat has long been committed to gender equality in the workplace. We’ve strived to create a work culture where everyone is free from discrimination or harassment. And we’re confident that our employees are paid fairly and consistently for the same roles, regardless of gender identity. Here’s what we’re doing:
• We published our latest gender pay report in March 2019. We brought on 96 new employees in the reporting period, and 75% of the new roles were filled by women.
• Our mean gender pay gap reduced by 3%. Of those people in management positions with accountability for making recruitment decisions, 65% are female. Within the highest paid quartile of employees, the majority (59%) are female.
• As part of our International Women’s Day celebrations for 2021, we held a panel discussion featuring people from across our business, including Jo Brett, CEO St Lucia, Roger Williams, Retail Director, and Farrah Qureshi, CEO Global Diversity Practice, and a globally recognised expert on diversity and inclusion.
• We also united with over 60 much-loved brands on a mission to create lasting change for vulnerable young women in the UK, raising over £8,000 for the #ChangeAGirlsLife Campaign.
• We also launched well-received guidance to support team members during pregnancy and maternity leave, and for those affected by menopause.
Opposing Racism and Discrimination
Our Anti-Racism Group is a colleague-led group of 23 people from across the Hotel Chocolat family who meet regularly to share their experiences, influence and create change.
Their mission: ‘To actively build an anti-racist culture and environment that highlights, challenges, and opposes discrimination and racism that employees face, and to drive sustainable change that progresses equality for all.’
We’re committed to taking action to maintain a working environment where racism and discrimination of any kind are not tolerated.
Making Positive Change
An early example of positive change in our workplace culture came from one of our Retail Managers, Shamila Nazli, who shared her personal experience of celebrating Eid at the Anti-Racism Group. Her story was shared across the business, raising awareness of the importance of Eid for the Muslim community. Our teams now share a wider distribution of Eid gifts and have an increased focus on other religious celebrations, including Hanukkah.
Thanks to the Anti-Racism Group, we’re also:
• Signed up to the Race at Work Charter
• Celebrating Black History Month in the UK, Saint Lucia and the US
• Surveying our teams on their thoughts around race and ethnicity at work to drive future change, and holding Listening Groups for further discussion.
Taking Care of Mental Health
Dealing with Covid has taught us all more than ever the need to support each other’s mental health at work and at home.
We have 30 Mental Health First Aiders across our business, trained to help colleagues get access to the right mental health support.
We partnered with the Camden and Islington NHS Trust to support and develop our Mental Health First Aiders by running regular sessions where they can share experiences in a safe space and learn from experts and each other.
This boosts our employee assistance programme, Health Assured, who are available 24/7 to talk to confidentially about different issues, including mental health.
We’ve also celebrated Mental Health Awareness Week by sharing advice with our teams on ways to look after their mental health at work and home, with live online yoga sessions and our ‘Thankful Thursday’, encouraging us all to show our gratitude to each other.
Our employee-voted Charity of the Year in 2020 was Mind, raising a total donation of £30,000 over the course of the year.