Eugenio Pirri, Dorchester Collection

Eugenio Pirri is not your typical HR leader. Having worked in 18 out of 25 hotel departments, including housekeeping, food and beverage and finance, he brings this operational experience to his role as Chief People & Culture Officer at prestigious hotel group Dorchester Collection (DC). Key to success has been closing the loop between guest and employee engagement in a measured and robust way, driving all non financial targets. All people projects are directed by guest feedback and insight.

But back in 2011 each hotel had an individual HR function focusing purely on employee relations and training. The DC brand was not recognised and this was having a negative impact, with almost one fifth of new starters leaving within 100 days and attrition costing some £1.7million.

"Honesty, transparency, willingness to think differently and commitment to sharing expertise"

Eugenio adopted a relationship-led approach, moving from transactional HR to a ‘We Care’ culture of highly engaged people through effective and inspirational leadership. Within three years, turnover had decreased 12%, employee engagement was at 90% and guest engagement up 10%, resulting in additional revenues of £7m.

Not one to rest on his laurels, in the past 18 months Eugenio has introduced a new people commitment together with eight principles on which all people initiatives should be anchored. He has also introduced personalised learning, where employees drive their development; values-based selection; and a commercial offer, the Dorchester Academy. The results are impressive. DC is in the top 5% for employee engagement, guest engagement is recognised as world-class, more than 60% of the workforce is now cross-trained in three roles, turnover is down, recruitment applications have doubled and the Academy has made a profit in year one.

His team note his honesty, transparency, willingness to think differently and commitment to sharing his expertise, mentoring 12 junior people leaders in DC and a further 28 students through his advisory university roles. He surely is a champion of people and culture.