Going beyond compliance to improve employee wellbeing and increase retention


RBH Management is the UK’s leading hotel management company, boasting a portfolio of over 45 hotels with a core presence in IGH, Marriott, and Hilton.

United Kingdom
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Going beyond compliance to deliver award-winning learning that has seen an uplift of 10.6% in customer satisfaction and a 6% increase in retention rate among hotel staff.


RBH Management is the UK’s leading hotel management company, boasting a portfolio of over 45 hotels, operating across the hotel chain scale – from economy through to Upper Upscale and Luxury with a core presence in IGH, Marriott, and Hilton. RBH provides a complete in-house management solution and is committed to maximizing the performance and potential of each hotel.


Going beyond compliance

RBH’s reputation and culture set them apart, and results are delivered by an expert team of 90 hotel specialists. Having operated over 190 hotels, RBH is at the forefront of the hospitality industry in terms of global brand experience, hotel development, and technological advances.

RBH aims to make a difference by continually exploring ways to make their hotels better and to increase guest satisfaction through developing their people and operational excellence.

The team at RBH understood that learning and development platforms and training courses aren’t just for compliance  – they can do much more for an employee’s development and the business.

The team was ready to show how their Learning Pool platform could help them go far beyond compliance and into improving staff well-being and more.


Significant Learning Impact

  • The average user has achieved 13 Learning DNA badges, with the most being 22.
  • Since 2019, average completions per learner increased from 6 to 14.
  • In the RBH engagement survey, 96% of people agreed/strongly agreed when asked ‘Do you feel that we contribute positively to the Health & Well-being and Diversity & Inclusion of our people?’
  • As of the end of 2022, RBH had 277 Mental Health Champions and First Aiders, more than five times the target of 48.


An Award-winning Program

  • Platinum status in the Mental Health Charter – the first hospitality business to do so.
  • The overall success of the health and well-being strategy is evidenced by ranking eighth in The Caterer’s Best Places to Work (May 2022) – an accreditation awarded based on employee surveys.
  • By the end of 2022, over 50% of RBH hotels had achieved the bronze standard, nine hotels had achieved silver and two have recently been awarded gold.
  • Excellent feedback on the program, including a suggestion from one property to introduce a platinum standard, demonstrating again commitment to continually evolve and develop.


Outstanding Business Results 

  • All RBH hotels and offices are involved in local schools and community projects and have each signed up to the Hoteliers’ Charter to promote hospitality careers.
  • 100% of respondents in a recent employee survey said they thought the support they received through the RBH Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and Mental Health Champions was either excellent or good.
  • An improvement in portfolio 90-day retention rate (from 93% to 96%).
  • Following the ‘Making guests happy’ HR Masterclass, hotels saw uplifts of as much as 10.6% in customer satisfaction after participating. 
  • Over the last year, retention has improved by 4% in RBH offices, while improving by 6% in hotels. On average, this means RBH has been able to retain 124 employees throughout those 12 months. 
  • Further research has indicated a 16% cost saving equivalent to 3 months’ salary (average £20,000 per annum) for team member roles. Overall, this has resulted in a total cost saving of £620,000 which has had a real positive impact on the business.



Reaching hearts and minds

RBH was an early adopter of e-learning as it offered a cost-effective way to deliver statutory hospitality training for its employees. However, although this statutory and compliance training is essential, it doesn’t reach the hearts and minds of the learner – and the need to ensure employee health and well-being was key.

In addition, taking staff out of the business for classroom training was always a challenge for customer-facing employees. Furthermore, with seasonal employment patterns and the pace of new hotels coming into the company’s portfolio, RBH needed to stay ahead of its customers’ needs. It was therefore essential they work with a company continually innovating and able to keep up with the demands of the hotel industry.



RBH’s customer and people-centric values allowed them to embark on introducing a new learning system that would primarily:

  • Go beyond compliance and improve the mindset and well-being of learners.
  • Inspire a culture of self-driven learning.
  • Continue to give employees access to necessary statutory training.


Additionally, it would:

  • Save time and money on training to create efficiencies.
  • Reduce time spent on learning administration.
  • Provide accurate records of learning.


Learning with a SMILE

RBH and Learning Pool worked in partnership to create SMILE, the Simply Magical and Inspiring Learning Environment – a one-stop shop for all things learning, based on Learning Pool’s Learning Platform.

To make sure the solution met the needs of the business, a focus group of ‘Smilers’ was created. ‘Smilers’ were asked questions and provided constant feedback, helping the RBH Learning & Development (L&D) team understand and react to what motivated them. This was instrumental for the project, ensuring it stayed on track and would ultimately achieve the results the business needed.

SMILE was launched with a set of ‘Hello’ induction modules created with Learning Pool’s authoring tool. With the system constantly evolving and new content being added regularly, it now offers around 200 courses to hotel and head office staff.

Various audiences were created to allow the L&D team to push regulatory training out to specific job roles, and each audience profile receives six core regulatory courses.


SMILE has been a huge success within the business, with high user engagement across all our hotels. The reporting has allowed us to get excellent visibility on both statutory training completions, as well as understanding what other learning is taking place. The fact the business is 24 hours means everyone can access learning during their working day.

Learning Pool really listened and understood our business needs, and always comes up with new solutions to help overcome problems. They’re quick to inform us of new features and ways of working, especially when we don’t know what we don’t know!

The biggest impact has been our ability to reach the hearts and minds of all our people, improving their wellbeing, their mental fitness and their connections to each other. This has seen our Tree of Life begin to flourish and grow.

Niki Fincham
Group Learning and Development Manager


Giving Something Back

People are at the heart of who RBH are and what they do. Developing a healthy, engaged and high-performing team is paramount, which is why, as part of SMILE, they launched the Tree of Life Health and Well-being program, to promote and encourage staff well-being, demonstrating ongoing commitment in each of the following core areas:

  • Mental fitness.
  • Financial wellbeing.
  • Active body.
  • Social.
  • Nutrition.


Thanks to the Tree of Life Health and Well-being program embedment through SMILE, RBH has become the first hospitality business to be recognized with Platinum accreditation in the Mental Health Charter for its commitment to employee well-being.

The recognition comes in response to RBH’s Giving Something Back program, which pledges to support its people, environment and community in equal measure. Early 2022 also saw the launch of RBH’s new charity partnership with Mental Health UK as part of its commitment to its community. The charity was chosen by its people, demonstrating how important a cause this was to its teams. As part of its two-year partnership, RBH’s hotels and offices are committed to ongoing fundraising efforts.


On this new accreditation, RBH’s HR Director, Martin MacPhail said:

“We’re thrilled to be leading the way on the importance of mental health in hospitality. We’ve already put a lot of work into campaigning for the well-being of our workforce and the whole hospitality industry, so this is an essential step and one that hopefully many other hospitality businesses will follow. Having Mental Health UK as our dedicated charity partner was voted for by our employees themselves, so it’s brilliant to know our workforce is in support of the initiative too.”

The first in a string of awareness campaigns and digital learning was Time To Talk Day, in which each member of the RBH team and its portfolio of 45+ hotels were encouraged to download Mental Health UK’s Conversation Guide – a challenge in which they should aim to have one conversation with someone about how they’re feeling.


Impacting its people and community

Whilst RBH only employs just under 100 direct team members to support extensive support to each of our hotels, SMILE is available to around 2,000 employees across the portfolio.

SMILE content includes the hospitality collection from Learning Pool’s Library Content, all compliance training needed for the industry (legal, fire safety, food hygiene, etc.), and courses to support its apprenticeship scheme. Most importantly though, RBH has focused on improvements to deliver the most engaging and fulfilling learning across the following specific areas:

  • Mental health and well-being – a commitment to improving the mental health and well-being of all employees. Monthly sessions and learning themes, and diversity and inclusion calendar. This is further evidenced through the creation of the Tree of Life program and the mental health charity partnership, and by becoming signatories of the Mental Health Charter.
  • Learning DNA – understanding those proactively seeking learning, and rewarding them through badges.
  • HR Masterclass – RBH can conduct webinars to address specific needs at any given time by using the seminar function available in the LMS.
  • Onboarding and induction – the creation of an induction dashboard to signpost essential learning in the first 90 days. Using the learning platform functionality to gather feedback from the audience.
  • Line Manager accountability – introduction of KPI dashlets for managers to monitor training compliance.



Learning Pool is proud of the role it has played in supporting RBH in achieving such tremendous award-winning outcomes that have translated into truly extraordinary employee and community wellbeing impacts and significant financial business value to the organization.

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