A Year in Review: Harri’s UK Team Reflects on 2020

2020 in Reflection

We kicked off the year with bundles of energy and enthusiasm (as always!) with great plans and big ideas to support the hospitality industry, not only with our super tech but also to enrich and enlighten our Hospitality communities with expertise and knowledge; connect the industry and build networks, leverage our client support, taking it to the next level and to support the wider industry too.

We started our Events season with Harri X and had some great speakers, talking about the Evolution of Talent Technology; we celebrated great sessions from Hayley Connor from Brewhouse & Kitchen; Chad Smith from Boparan; a retail perspective from Chris Bailey from The Works and the wonderful Recruitment Guru and Author of The Robot Proof Recruiter, Katrina Collier.

Then we started our plans to support the industry with Brexit, ran a series of Innovation Labs bringing our clients together to share experiences and then the shock waves hit….

COVID-19 Pandemic

It was a little bit of an adventure until the reality set in; hospitality, tourism and leisure closed its doors; and none of us knew if we would still have a job the following day.

People were being laid off in the industry but retail couldn’t cope with demand and needed thousands of people, fast. Then delivery services took off and the care sector were in desperate need too. Every industry had to change in some way in record time, including Harri.

We set about to create a jobs portal called HospitalityUnite, a non-profit initiative which gave people in the hospitality industry access to all the jobs in other sectors with a view to return when hospitality opened its doors again. HospitalityUnite was endorsed by UK Hospitality and The Scottish Tourism Alliance and it was hugely successful with around 300,000 candidates passing through the portal, applying for jobs with Amazon, Waitrose, Morrisons and much more.

We made it to the BBC News, supported by the lovely Daniel Cornwell from SPE Resourcing, which was the first experience we had in the mass collaboration which happened with a lot of us hospitality suppliers who had been impacted by the situation.

Our Talent & Development Product Director Tom Howes created some wellbeing mind tools, helping people in the industry manage stress and anxiety, not only to recognise it in themselves but also in their teams. We offered them to everyone at no charge and slowly, lots of businesses, and suppliers were very generously creating a plethora of support tools for free.

We carried out several interviews, one of them being with Jonathan Downey who was campaigning for the Time Out rent moratorium and standing strong for hospitality. 

Mental Health Awareness week came at a very timely moment half way through lockdown and we worked with our networks to help raise awareness and to recognise that this situation wasn’t easy on our people. Craig Prentice from mum developed an amazing set of wellbeing tools called “now pause” and raised a handsome sum of money for Hospitality Action.

We also attracted a new vertical market, the care sector and have developed our tools to suit the sector. We enjoyed building a partnership with Amanda Stoneham from Compassionate Care and made Sky News with Amanda talking about air crew transitioning to care homes (from Air to Care)

Peter Martin supported us in a series of webinars where we addressed some of the issues in the industry which had been impacted by the virus. We partnered with Surefoot Solutions and launched our Harri Health Check App; a tool to check the health of staff when hospitality opened its doors again.

Harri developed its tech; we launched payroll, healthcheck, enhanced health & safety logbook (Surecheck) and our smart scheduling just got smarter! Our branded comms enhancement is an awesome solution for your EVP and our product managers were busy as ever. Our compliance training tools were developed for recovery and we launched our recovery package.

Opening of Hospitality

Coming out of lockdown, recruitment increased, covid cases decreased and things were looking up. Hospitality was ready; safety guidelines in place; more safety webinars you could shake a stick at (including ours) and the Government launched the Kickstart campaign and flexible furlough and even we started to recruit again at Harri.

We sponsored the EXP101 virtual festival in the summer, Come Together where we celebrated people in the hospitality industry and showcased the talent that we have amongst our people. All proceeds went to Hospitality Action.

We partnered with Springboard and transitioned HospitalityUnite into the Kickstart Scheme. We built online tools to make the application process very easy. There have been hundreds of applications made to be approved by the DWP. Our initiative was supported again by UK Hospitality and The Scottish Tourism Alliance and yes, we ran a webinar!


Then the tiers were introduced and slowly but surely Covid got a hold again. We ran (yes another) a webinar on Brexit with the theory that when we come out of this and start recruiting again; at some point next year there will be a talent drought. We had Boyes Turner as our guest speakers talking though the legalities and Springboard to talk about young people being part of the solution and the Springboard to 2022 project which will support 10,000 young people joining the industry by 2022.

So all in all it’s been a crazy crazy year; we’re back in lockdown; QSRs are a force to be reckoned with and we at Harri have a lot to do; support our clients through the rest of the storm; try and crack Brexit in hospitality and leisure (no mean feat); continue to support the industry with Kickstart; recruit the team which will take us to Enterprise level as we have now developed our end to end workforce management solution.

But one thing is for sure, the partnerships and collaborations which have been formed across the industry only accentuates the force that is HOSPITALITY; an industry that will never be broken; its people at the heart of everything. This is an industry which deserves a place at the House of Commons; an industry that we are immensely proud to be a part of – and let’s not forget the amazing work and resilience of a force in herself, Kate Nicholls. She has made OBE and we couldn’t be prouder or happier as this accolade is so well deserved; a force to be reckoned with.

Here’s to a better 2021 where our partnerships and collaborations will only become stronger. Hats off to hospitality, leisure and tourism – sectors which have shown immense resilience, innovation, creativity, community spirit and super stardom.

Suggested Content

Recent Posts

Discover Harri

Fill out the form below and we'll be in touch soon.

Exclusive content delivered to your inbox!

Become an Insider in the Hospitality Industry and receive content that matters to you. Subscribe to Harri Insider and get access to the latest labor-related research, panels, trends, and more.

Discover Harri

Speak with a hospitality workforce expert to see what Harri can do for you!
Fill out your info, and we’ll be in touch soon to get it all set up!

Contact Sales

Speak with a hospitality workforce expert to see what Harri can do for you!
Fill out your info, and we’ll be in touch soon to get it all set up!