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Making an impact with Marston’s

During the global pandemic, we all missed the ability to head out to the pub to catch up with friends and family. Hospitality was one of the hardest hit industries during worldwide lockdowns.

With over 1,400 pubs throughout the UK, Marston’s PLC knew they needed an innovative way to re-engage, re-educate and re-motivate over 12,000 furloughed employees as restrictions started to ease. Their partnership with Attensi couldn’t have come at a better time.


Speaking to Jack Donnelly (General Manager of The Woodman, Rotherham), Jane Murray (Director of Learning and development at Marston’s PLC), Liam Powell (HR Director at Marston’s PLC) and Nikita Sheldon-Tunstall (Digital Learning & Apprenticeship Partner at Marston’s PLC), we’ve found out more about how Marston’s have navigated their way out of the pandemic and towards a brighter future for hospitality.

Marston’s wants to create pubs to be proud of. To do this, their ‘guest obsessed’ attitude needs to feed down from leadership to the front and back of the house.

Here’s how they’ve collaborated with Attensi to do just that.

What was your experience of training before Attensi?

From leadership positions to front and back of house staff, there were a few common themes appearing when it came to traditional training methods:

  • Information overload: participants found it difficult to retain the sheer amount of information given to them throughout a session.
  • Lack of flexibility: particularly for those working shifts, fitting their training in was challenging.
  • Inability to measure success: leadership had no way of ensuring that everyone had completed and understood the training to the high standards Marston’s expected.
  • Engaging teams at all levels: finding something that would keep participants engaged and motivated to complete was a key thing missing from the learning and development offering.

What made you decide to work with Attensi?

The leadership team at Marston’s knew they needed a training solution that would not only operate at an enormous scale, it needed to provide the consistency, flexibility and engaging content teams were craving. Management also needed to be able to reliably measure the effectiveness of the training to inform modules created in future.

“Attensi was a massive game changer and helped transform our whole L&D offer.” – Liam Powell

Taking on board what teams want and need from training

Providing training is about more than ticking a box for the Marston’s L&D team. It’s about supporting Marston’s most important asset, its people. And that meant finding the most relevant, engaging learning and development possible. Jane was conscious that leadership and L&D teams can easily become removed from what life is like running a hospitality venue day to day. And that’s where Marston’s met Attensi.

For Jane and the team, providing quality learning is about making sure that teams know their employer cares about them, their growth and knows what will be relevant. Jane describes it as providing the feeling of ‘oh my God, my employer gets me.’

A manageable, engaging playful way to learn

General manager Jack explains how he’s noticed his team are much more engaged with their training because of the playability of the Attensi gamified simulations. Across the Marston’s organisation, players have been getting involved in ‘battle mode’ and trying to one up their colleagues on the leaderboard.

Daniel recalls how some of his colleagues would struggle to retain the amount of information given during classroom learning. Attensi’s bitesize modules have allowed players to take in information in a much more digestible way. Players also have the ability to revisit and play these modules as many times as they need for the information given to stick.

Ability to track and measure success

Reaching 12,000 staff nationally is an enormous undertaking. Trying to get 12,000 people to complete training is another undertaking altogether.

From Liam’s HR perspective, Attensi’s tracking and measurement capabilities were a huge draw. Senior management now have clear visibility of the success of the training and who potentially needs further support in specific areas.

What impact has working with Attensi had on Marston’s?

‘The impact has been undeniable. It’s a clear correlation for us. The more people are playing Attensi, the more guests are happy, the more money we make.’ – Jane Murray

You can’t say it much plainer than that.

From Josh and his team in front of house to Liam in senior leadership, the impact of Attensi’s gamified simulation training has been noticeable.

Rather than training being the arduous task it once was, management can now focus their attention on competitions, rewards and incentives. Playing through modules together has encouraged a ‘one team effort’ across the organisation.

Attitudes towards learning and development are distinctly more positive.

For the Marston’s team, this is just the beginning of what is set to be a really exciting time for hospitality learning and development.

Want to know how Attensi can help scale your organisation’s training? Speak to one of our experts today.


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