2020

Rapport Ambassadors Jump In To Assist Those Displaced By Pandemic – Rapport USA

Rapport Ambassadors Jump In To Assist Those Displaced By Pandemic – Rapport USA 1844 976 Sam Smith

At the beginning of the pandemic, our Rapport workplace Ambassadors were re-assigned to a special project. This project was designed to provide support to the State Unemployment Call Center.

At the beginning of coronavirus pandemic, the unemployment claims in the USA were setting new records as the days progressed.  As the United States’ unemployment numbers surged over the months, our Ambassadors did not only have to experience the hardships that the pandemic had brought into their personal lives, but they also needed to uplift and help those who had lost their jobs.

To lead and be successful in this project, a team of individuals was put together who all held very high customer service skills and had the ability to handle long and difficult conversations. We had Rapport Ambassadors from all our locations across the country take up this new role with confidence and optimism. Three months later, all the Ambassadors were excelling in this new challenge and a few were also promoted within the project.

We are so proud of our Rapport Ambassadors for continuing to uphold the Rapport’s values. The team has experienced personal growth while being part of this project and we are thrilled to see how much they will continue to shine during these uncertain times!

This project is still ongoing and while a few Ambassadors have returned to support the office openings, a majority of the team is still supporting the State Unemployment call centers.

Rapport Awarded ‘World Class’ 3 Star Status from Best Companies

Rapport Awarded ‘World Class’ 3 Star Status from Best Companies 1200 628 Sam Smith

Rapport has received an outstanding three-star accreditation from Best Companies, the company behind the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to work for lists. The three-star accreditation is the highest standard of workplace engagement and is only given to companies who truly excel.

Rapport received an engagement score of over 800 which meant that we qualified for the highest accolade, which reflects ‘World Class’ levels of workplace engagement.

Previously, Rapport was awarded the second highest, two-star, accreditation which was an amazing achievement in of itself. Our hard work and dedication throughout this year has pushed us to the next level.

This year has been a challenging time for so many industries and individuals with a lot of uncertainty, including the pandemic and lockdowns. It would be easy to keep our heads down, but we know that it is increasingly important during these challenging times to celebrate the businesses and people that are making a difference.

The Best Companies list is the annual ranking of Britain’s most engaged and motivated workforces. Now in its 21st year, it is a very highly anticipated event in the business calendar. The lists and accreditations from Best Companies are widely acknowledged as the most extensive and comprehensive in the country due to the methods of data-gathering and analysis that is used.

Best Companies commented:

“Rapport’s leadership team worked throughout the pandemic to ensure employees felt supported, updated and engaged. They endeavoured to give as much information, clarity and certainty as possible to help expedite the curve of change.

Rapport then designed and introduced Return to Work courses to provide front line staff with certainty and confidence. The sessions address safety and resilience in fast changing environments. Some of the topic areas included how to complete risk assessments, refreshers of the business excellence programme, core values and culture.”

“15 Years in the making…….!!!

It was back in 2005 that I first engaged with Jonathan Austin at Best Companies and was inspired by how a structured and well thought out plan for Employee Engagement could help to create a company that our employees would love to be part of. In 2007 back when I was running Portico, we achieved the first step on the ladder with a ‘Ones to Watch’ award. With hard work and guidance from the Best Companies Team we achieved a 1 Star rating by 2010.

When we launched Rapport Guest Services back in 2012, the Best Companies approach was once again at the heart of our strategic plans and in 2014 we were thrilled to achieve a 1 star rating which by 2017 we had enhanced to 2 Stars. In 2020 as well as 2 stars, we earned a place on the prestigious Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list.

Today, we are incredibly proud and excited to share that Rapport has been recognised with Best Companies ultimate recognition – 3 Stars for the 2021 Best Companies list.

Thank you to everyone at Rapport for all the amazing things that you do every day to create a unique culture, and for your support on this journey over the last 15 years.”

Greg Mace, Founder and Managing Director

Official Acorn Awards Ceremony – Congratulations Abbie Livesey

Official Acorn Awards Ceremony – Congratulations Abbie Livesey 717 1024 Sam Smith

The awards ceremony for The Caterer’s 2020 Acorn Awards has taken place and Abbie Livesey, our Front of House Contract Manager at Broadgate, has officially received recognition for being one of the industry’s brightest stars under 30.

As a leader, Abbie strives to create a sense of family, and in turn deliver the highest possible standards for clients. Aided by her accreditation as a mental health first aider, she actively tries to break any stigma around the subject of mental health. Her results speak for themselves, achieving extremely high staff retention levels, excellent client satisfaction, plus dedication to developing and progressing her team. As a result of her work, in 2019 Abbie and her team were awarded Front of House Team of the Year at the Food Service Cateys.

The official awards ceremony for the Caterer’s Acorn Awards, more affectionally known as 30 under 30, took place on Wednesday 18 November.

This prestigious award recognises the 30 brightest prospects under 30 years old, in the hospitality industry. Winners represent every sector and are nominated by their peers for making an impactful impression. This year the event was held virtually and presented by The Caterer‘s managing editor Lisa Jenkins, CH&Co’s chief operating officer Allister Richards and Rachel Webster, business development director EMEA at WSET.

There were about 80 people in attendance at this virtual awards ceremony, who all came to see the 30 under 30 stars officially announced. When Abbie’s name was called, they spoke about all her achievements as a leader supporting 38 staff across 15 buildings, in the largest pedestrianised neighbourhood in central London.

“It was incredible to listen to the citations for each of the 29 other Acorn Awards winners and I feel honoured to have been recognised alongside them as one of the ‘Top 30 under 30’ in Hospitality. Congratulations to you all, I am sure we all agree this is a definite highlight in our careers so far!”

 

Abbie said about Ruta Krolyte, Stephanie Crudgington, and Founder and Managing Director, Greg Mace:

“I wouldn’t be the manager I am today if it wasn’t for the inspiring leaders I have had the pleasure of working with during the 7 years I have been in the hospitality industry”

 

The 2020 awards ceremony was originally due to be held at the South Lodge Hotel in West Sussex. The general manager, David Connell, attended the virtual ceremony and invited all the winners to join him for alumni drinks in 2021. He also announced that he would be running a social media competition for the winners, where whoever posts the most creative picture of their Acorn trophy would win an overnight stay at the award-winning hotel and spa.

Rapport Choir – Rainbow After The Storm

Rapport Choir – Rainbow After The Storm 600 463 Sam Smith

Mental wellbeing has been one of the important themes for Rapport this year and the focus on the mental health and wellbeing of our Ambassadors has been key during the pandemic.

 

As part of our wider programme, we decided to form our own Rapport Choir back in November 2019. This was led by Emily Abbam, our Learning and Engagement Business Partner and has seen Ambassadors from across our portfolio taking part.

 

Going into lockdown has not stopped the Rapport Choir! Since July, they have continued to meet up virtually and socially distanced when they could, working behind the scenes to write their very own song entitled The Rainbow After the Storm.  

The recent events worldwide brought the choir ever closer together and inspired them to write lyrics to spread positivity while we all live in unprecedented times. Music and singing are such a powerful way to spread joy and hope to so many, so they saw this as an opportunity to make something truly special and help to uplift all those that listened.

 

“Shining a light, finding a ray, keeping a smile and then, chasing those blues away.”

 

This is what the song symbolises – our teams continuing to keep positive, finding that ray and being that shining light.

 

A special thank you to all the choir that wrote, arranged and performed the song: Emily Abbam, Chris Moran, Chris Kkoshi, Simone Travali, Lilian Mace-Bormans, Adele Cortese, Sam Hunt, Diana Romanova, Jay Romanovska and Bogdan Nedelcu – to Chris Moran who produced, engineered and edited the final video – to Simone Travali who played the guitar and to Julian Benitez Vasile who created the choir illustration.

International Men’s Day 2020 – Rapport Agony Uncles

International Men’s Day 2020 – Rapport Agony Uncles 500 500 Sam Smith

Wellbeing and mental health have certainly always been at the forefront of what we do at Rapport. It is more important than ever to focus on our health and therefore we have taken the themes from International Men’s Day and made them a reality for our Ambassadors.

The themes for International Men’s Day 2020 are

Making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys.

Raising awareness and/or funds for charities supporting men and boys’ wellbeing.

Promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity.

To create a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity, you sometimes need that strong role model to start the discourse. We asked some of our male leaders within Rapport to share their thoughts and experiences with our Ambassadors.

It was especially refreshing and encouraging to hear our leaders speak so honestly and openly and masculinity, mental health and how to ask for help. After watching the video, we’re sure you will agree that we have our own powerful male role models who are passionate about living this positive message.

A Rapport first, we put together a Movember team to help raise money and awareness to stop men dying too young. This is a global movement that aims to change the face of men’s health. All the funds raised goes towards making a difference in mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

We had an incredibly dedicated team of about 20 and together we raised far more than our £1000 target

Traditionally, men would grow a moustache during the month of November and their friends and colleagues would donate to them. Fortunately the organisers realised that the non-moustache growers also cared very much about men’s health. On our Rapport Mustachios team, some grew a moustache, some ran 60km, some chose their own challenge. Whichever way we chose to participate, we are stronger together.

Congratulations Natasha Whitehurst – Global Diversity List 2020

Congratulations Natasha Whitehurst – Global Diversity List 2020 1069 559 Sam Smith

We are thrilled to announce that our own Head of HR, Natasha Whitehurst, has been selected as one of the Top 10 HR Champions for the The Global Diversity List 2020!

“This is not just about me, this is for our whole head office team who I get to work with day-to-day, who listen to ideas, champion inclusivity and embrace change. Also our front-line employees in Rapport Guest Services who are leading projects, inspiring us all and demonstrating what it truly means to have an inclusive culture.”

 

Greg Mace, Founder and MD added

“This is fantastic recognition for the work Natasha has done to position Rapport at the forefront of best practice from a diversity and inclusion perspective”

This is truly testament to Natasha’s hard work and dedication to Diversity and Inclusion at Rapport.

Making it onto the Global Diversity List 2020 is a very prestigious achievement. The List is the definitive register of those trailblazing individuals and organisations who demonstrate an unswerving commitment to the values of equality, diversity and inclusion. Appearing on the List is the ultimate accreditation, and a well-deserved recognition for Natasha who works so hard to ensure that Rapport is a fair and empowering workplace for all.

Natasha said about winning the award:

“To be nominated for the Global Diversity List was one thing but to have been included on the list as one of ten global HR Diversity Champion is something else entirely.  Congratulations to everyone else on this list, I feel incredibly honoured to have been named alongside you.”

Rapport celebrates National Customer Service week

Rapport celebrates National Customer Service week 640 480 Sam Smith

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Every year, Rapport is proud to support National Customer Service Week (NCSW) – an annual event organised by The Institute of Customer Service “to raise awareness of customer service and the vital role it plays in successful business practice and the growth of the UK economy.”

National Customer Service Week took place from Monday 5th to Friday 9th October. It been a fantastic opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our Ambassadors who champion excellent service. Each day this week we celebrated a different customer services related theme and had different activities to promote positive discussion about leadership, skills and recognition.

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Wednesday was a fantastic day where so many of our Ambassadors celebrated their Customer Service Heroes. Many people shared heart-warming stories of their colleagues and friends and why they are customer service heroes. One Ambassador said about their colleague:

“…has the kindest heart, amazing smile and warmest nature. She is never far away with a coffee or hot drink for you, a little food treat & always a selfie!”

The level of dedication, kindness and professionalism from our Ambassadors is something we can all aspire to. Our Rapport Ambassadors are our Customer Service Heroes.

On Friday we held a virtual session on Trust, Ethics and Sustainability. Some Ambassadors and head office team came together to discuss “what does trust, ethics and sustainability mean to you”. This was a very engaging session that really highlighted the importance of ensuring the environment and sustainability are high on everyone’s agenda.

Our intuitions were confirmed after this session that our personal and corporate environmental impact is very important to our Ambassadors, likely enhanced by the recent release of Sir David Attenborough’s documentary/witness statement.

“People are always asking what they can do to turn this situation around. The truth is there isn’t one single answer, though we can make a big difference by putting nature at the heart of our decisions.”

– Sir David Attenborough

National Inclusion Week 2020 – Making inclusion a reality

National Inclusion Week 2020 – Making inclusion a reality 961 605 Sam Smith

Rapport went the extra mile this year with National Inclusion Week which took place from 28th September to 4th October this year.

The seed was planted by our EmbRace You committee and the planning quickly grew into a whole week of initiatives. It was so uplifting and inspiring to see so many Ambassadors, managers, team leaders and the head office team celebrate and promote inclusion in all its forms.

The theme for National Inclusion Week this year was about connecting with a person or organisation to help them understand the opportunity of inclusion and inspiring each other to make inclusion an everyday reality. We know that an inclusive workplace is a more productive and innovative one, but what is far more important about inclusion in the workplace is how it positively impacts our wellbeing and mental health.

Inclusivi-Tea demonstration with Restaurant Associates UK

The Rapport team and EmbRace You committee also joined our Restaurant Associates UK colleagues and Pride in Food representatives to enjoy a socially distanced Inclusivi-Tea party. It was so good to see one another in person and learn more about colleagues from across different parts of our business. We were also lucky to get some of our EmbRace You committee members together for the first time and talk all things diversity and inclusion.

Pictured are members of the EmbRace You committee

The week was full to the brim with inclusion themed activities.

On Tuesday, some Ambassadors viewed and discussed the short film Purl and how this highlights the importance of inclusion and kindness. On Wednesday, we hosted our very first Instagram live Cook-Off, where we had a real-time tiramisu demonstration and shared dishes sent in by other Ambassadors. Thursday saw many Ambassadors sharing song suggestions for our new ‘Be You At Rapport’ playlist. To conclude a fantastic week, Rapport hosted a virtual end of week celebration and a cocktail shake-along for all to enjoy.

Socially distanced afternoon Inclusivi-Tea

At this time during National Inclusion Week, we were limited in how much we could meet face to face, but that didn’t stop us having fun and spreading the message of diversity, inclusion and kindness along the way.

‘Rapport Assist’ launched – Support beyond Rapport

‘Rapport Assist’ launched – Support beyond Rapport 526 257 Sam Smith

After eight years of never having to make a compulsory redundancy, we have now seen first-hand the devastating impact that COVID is having. At Rapport, as our clients are carrying out reviews and restructuring of their operations, we have unfortunately been placed in the very unhappy position where we have had to say goodbye to some dedicated, brilliant and hardworking team members. We are very saddened by this, but this did not deter us from dedicating our resources to continue to support these Ambassadors.

“…we felt strongly about putting in place a resource where we could offer whatever help possible to support all of our ambassadors.”

– Founder and Managing Director, Greg Mace

 

We therefore created ‘Rapport Assist’ which was launched in July, which is an entire website full of resources, training and support dedicated to our Ambassadors who have sadly been made redundant. The website guides Ambassadors through external support that will help them get back into work and navigate the financial support open to them. Our team also offers a range of training courses free of charge for these individuals to support their job search, including how to improve their CV and LinkedIn profile, how to prepare for an interview, and many wellbeing and personal growth sessions.

Cariad Kenan – Training and Development Programme

Lilian Bormans –  1-1 CV writing clinics

There is also access to many charities, external support organisations and our employee assistance support line which we have extended for three months after leaving Rapport, free of charge.

Finally, we have not been advertising any vacancies externally. Anyone who has left Rapport gets priority access to these new roles and we’re excited that with this approach we have been able to retain some of our dedicated Ambassadors.

“We remain hopeful that in the months to come our clients’ businesses may start to return to something resembling what they were and that we may be in a position to hire back many former Rapport Ambassadors. We hope this website will be a way to keep in touch with you all during this period.”

– Greg Mace

Congratulations to Abbie Livesey, our Acorn Award winner!

Congratulations to Abbie Livesey, our Acorn Award winner! 778 581 Craig

The winners of The Caterer’s 2020 Acorn Awards have now been revealed and we are delighted that Abbie Livesey, our Front of House Contract Manager at Broadgate has been listed for a prestigious award.

The Acorn Awards are known as the ‘30 under 30’ and recognise the 30 brightest prospects under 30 years old, in the hospitality industry. Winners represent every sector and are nominated by their peers for making an impression.

Abbie leads a team of 38 Rapport Ambassadors who collectively look after the Reception Services in 15 busy, multi-tenanted buildings on the largest pedestrianised neighbourhood in central London. She started her career working as a Receptionist in a city building and has quickly worked her way up to her current position. 

As a leader, Abbie strives to create a sense of family, and in turn deliver the highest possible standards for clients – A true Rapport leader. Her results speak for themselves, achieving extremely high staff retention levels, excellent client satisfaction, plus dedication to developing and progressing her team. As a result of her work, in 2019 Abbie and her team were awarded Front of House Team of the Year at the Food Service Cateys.

In addition to her day job, Abbie also works closely with several industry organisations including the East London Business Alliance (ELBA), which helps build the connection between business and the community. She is also one of the founding members of the Women in Leadership network, Empower. Plus, most recently she championed and raised over £5,000 for the charity LandAid. 

Abbie will collect her award alongside the other winners at a ceremony held later this year and said:

“I’m thrilled to be named as an Acorn Awards winner, because I’m genuinely passionate about the work I do and supporting the people I work with. I continually strive to push forward my career, making conscious decisions to ensure each new opportunity will help me to learn new skills and challenge me.”