St Giles Hotels in the United Kingdom announced the creation of the Uplift Fund as part of its ongoing “Hotels with Heart” initiative. The initiative was formed five years ago to positively impact those less fortunate in the hotels’ communities through meaningful causes that matter to the hotels’ teams and the guests it serves around the globe.
To help alleviate the burden and stress of its team members in the U.K., St Giles London and St Giles Heathrow hotels’ leadership team, spearheaded by St Giles Hotels CEO Abigail Tan, developed the Uplift Fund with remaining donations from the Hotels with Heart initiative’s past fundraising efforts; and, have now established a Just Giving page – https://www.justgiving.com/
“The coronavirus pandemic has caused major disruption across all our properties with government lockdown directives across our regions. As we began to see more countries entering lockdown coupled with the dramatic increase in infection rates, our concern grew for our family of employees, how this would impact their lives, and how we could continue to support them through these uncertain times,” said Abigail Tan, CEO, St Giles Hotels. “This immediately sparked us to act and through our Hotels with Heart initiative, we created this fund to support the beating heart of our hotels, the ones who make our hotels home away from home for our guests.”
The impact of the pandemic on the hotel industry has been unfathomable with most closing their doors and with each and every one of the approximately 266 million employees who work in hospitality feeling this crisis acutely. At St Giles Hotels, it has had the privilege of serving its guests for up to 25 years, having made it through many highs, some lows, yet always managed to keep its doors open and staff employed around the world. However, this global crisis – unlike anything the brand and most businesses have ever faced – has forced St Giles to make the difficult decision to close the doors of its hotels until the world is healed.
From housekeepers and front desk agents to servers, maintenance and cooks, St Giles has had to place a significant number of employees on furlough. The executive board in the U.K. volunteered to take pay cuts up to 50 percent of their salaries and Ms. Tan is taking no salary until business resumes again.
STAYING CONNECTED WITH EMPLOYEES
To stay connected to employees and provide additional support in this era of social distancing, St Giles also has implemented a number of “soft” benefits and resources, which include:
Bi-weekly staff check-in emails and mental well-being surveys as part of company’s #IAMWELL initiative, whereby Ms. Tan emails the survey to employees as a conversation opener. All responses are carefully read by Ms. Tan and considered with one-to-one direct follow up with individual staff members.
Virtual Mindfulness Sessions hosted online by outside experts to offer tips on managing stress and anxious feelings staff may having during this time.
To boost optimism, St Giles also spearheaded a recipes sharing initiative as staff are cooking at home now more than ever; Ms. Tan also hosts virtual dinner parties and game nights to keep the strong connection between the team at a time when they are apart, social distancing.
REFLECTING THE HOTELS WITH HEART MANTRA IN THE COMMUNITY
While St Giles’ Hotels with Heart initiative focuses its support on the HEART of the hotels – its employees to help ease their financial burden – individual hotels and staff are reflecting the mantra of this charitable heart of St Giles by supporting their own local communities.
The Food & Beverage staff at The Gardens – A St Giles Signature Hotel in Kuala Lumpur – is cooking more than 250 meals daily for all essential operational staff at its sister properties and at the adjacent malls in Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur.
The Director of Operations at St Giles London – Jojean Porte and her family, including her husband who is the Regional Maintenance Manager for both St Giles properties in the U.K. – are preparing and distributing meals twice weekly to essential NHS workers at Ealing Hospital located in the Southall district of the London Borough of Ealing, West London, England.
Some staff are volunteering to grocery shop for those needing assistance, some are volunteering at animal sanctuaries, and others are donating to local food banks, such as The Trussell Trust Food Bank (U.K.) and The Food Bank for New York City (U.S.); and, where possible, some are buying local to support their neighbourhood small businesses.