Issue 30 | Winter 2021
Dorchester Collection’s people, and their unique, individual personalities, are our most prized asset. The company is committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect, with processes that are fair and open. We do not participate in or tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind. Dorchester Collection nurtures an environment that honours and celebrates the differences that bring a new perspective to our culture, in which people can be innovative and take personal and collective responsibility for their actions.
Eugenio Pirri, chief People and Culture Officer, says, “We have a robust code of ethical conduct that respects all employees in every aspect. As a part of the LGBTQ+ community myself, creating an environment where our people feel valued and safe is my top priority.”
Over the past 10 years, Dorchester Collection has continued the focus on elevating the status of women within the organisation. Today the gender balance within global leadership teams is equal at a ratio of 47:53 women to men within the entire company, up from 38:62 just five years ago.
Dorchester Collection is a member of the Women in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure Association, an organisation devoted to increasing women’s and ethnic minorities’ representation at all levels and in leadership positions across these industries. It reinvests 100% of its profits into achieving this mission, with the ethos that through collaboration, it can amplify the impact of individual diversity and inclusion initiatives, and together can have a bigger, louder voice for the good of the industry.
LGBTQ+ community: Stonewall Champion & United Nations Standards of Conduct
We are proud to be a Stonewall Champion, a member of the leading employers’ programme for ensuring all LGBTQ+ employees are accepted without exception in the workplace, made up of over 850 organisations that share a core belief in the power of a workplace that is truly equal.
We are fully committed to the United Nations Standards of Conduct to tackle discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and intersex people, reaffirming our commitment to fighting all forms of discrimination. These standards include five commitments:
Diversity: training and policies
We put emphasis on training and development for our people within all facets of the business, and diversity and inclusion are interwoven within each programme. Annual diversity and inclusion sessions take place across all hotels, including cultural fairs showcasing different backgrounds, international food festivals in employee dining areas, screening of diversity related films, showcasing diversity related art in back office areas, and much more. Policies, procedures, and training include:
A TIMELINE OF ACTION
2011-16With the appointment of Eugenio Pirri as the Vice President of People came the creation of the company’s first diversity policy. Within the next few years, there was a shift in the company culture leading to the implementation of a number of policies, procedures, and training programmes, including the anti-harassment and discrimination policy, new recruitment tools to identify bias in the recruitment process, a new employee engagement survey, a new HR system to monitor employee data, and the formation of the Dorchester Collection Academy.
2017Dorchester Collection embedded the We Care culture fully into the organisation, and continued to monitor data pertaining to the workforce, asking for specific feedback from employees to ensure that diversity and inclusion goals were being met.
2018Dorchester Collection began working with leading LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall to ensure that all policies and programmes were fit for purpose, and to create further inclusion policies such as the Trans Inclusion policy.
2019Dorchester Collection signed up to the UN Standards of Conduct for Business, to work towards tackling discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in the private sector.
2021Dorchester Collection will launch a brand-new training programme and internal campaign, BELONG. This programme reflects on understanding bias within the employee experience and how employees can overcome it within its We Care culture.
What does your role involve WITH Dorchester Collection?
STEVEN BOGGS: I have been with The Beverly Hills Hotel for 19 years. My current role as Director of Global Guest Relations is really about developing a relationship with our guests. Starting from the moment they make the reservation through their departure and then maintaining those relationships so that we can keep them as valued clients.
CHRISTOPHE CHOPINEAU: My role as Deputy General Manager of Le Meurice requires the strategic leadership of a great and strong team, and my responsibility is to create an environment for our employees where every single one has a voice and is fully respected and feels totally fulfilled.
Guests are at the centre of our organisation. I strive for excellence and want to ensure that with my team we are offering the best experience ever at Le Meurice, the first palace hotel, dating back to 1835, in the City of Light.
I have been working at Le Meurice for 16 years. I started in 2005 as Director of Sales & Marketing and then I was promoted to Hotel Manager in 2013. I am so grateful to have pursued my career at the same hotel. There is no routine in my job, every day is different, and this is what I love.
What was your background before joining Dorchester Collection?
SB: When I was about 22, I thought I would try being a Real Estate broker. The market at the time was very soft so I took a job as a room service waiter at the Hotel Bel-Air to make some extra cash. I quickly realised I hated real estate but loved the hotel business. I became the Room Service Manager and then took over running the Pool operations as well and then became the Hotel Assistant Manager and eventually transitioned over to The Beverly Hills Hotel.
CC: I have always been attracted by the hospitality industry since childhood. I left my small home town, Gien in the centre of France, to enrol in the hotel school in Blois when I was 15.I grew up in hotels, starting as a cook until I reached my current role. I worked in various jobs from the kitchen, restaurant, front office, sales, marketing and PR for various hotels (not always luxury) and brands. This year I celebrate my 30th anniversary in the hospitality business.
Hospitality is an industry requiring passion and I have greatly enjoyed every position I’ve held.How important is Diversity and Inclusion to Dorchester Collection?
SB: To be truly successful in the hospitality industry Diversity and Inclusion are absolute necessities, particularly with an international collection of hotels such as ours. Every single day guests of all different races, nationalities, religions, economic backgrounds, political views, and sexual orientations walk through our doors. For a diverse clientele such as ours to feel at home, a staff that is equally as diverse is vital.
CC: Diversity and Inclusion is part of our Dorchester Collection culture. At Le Meurice, we are bringing every day these integral values of respect to life, whoever you are. There is nothing more important than to put all employees on an equal footing. In 16 years with Dorchester Collection, I have never experienced any discrimination by anyone.
What benefits does a policy of Diversity and Inclusion offer the staff at Dorchester Collection and its guests?
SB: A former general manager of mine said that a hotel is only bricks and mortar, it’s the staff that makes the difference. We place enormous emphasis on the culture at our hotels. If employees know they are valued and respected, they in turn will value and respect our guests.
CC: As our employees feel highly respected and share our diversity and inclusion values, it is intuitive for them to welcome openly all guests, whoever they are and wherever they are coming from. Consequently, guests at Le Meurice feel immediately a genuine and sincere welcome. I always like to remind the team: a happy employee makes a happy client!
What has been your proudest achievement working for Dorchester Collection?
SB: After 19 years, it’s hard to pick just one. The most recent was how we handled the current pandemic. At the outset, we made it clear that everyone’s job was safe and that all medical benefits would continue. Even though it would have made more sense financially to close, like most of the other hotels around the world, we chose to remain open and continue caring for the few guests we had. The Beverly Hills Hotel kept open during the 1918 pandemic, World War 1, Prohibition, the Depression, World War 2 and riots and earthquakes, etc., so it was with a real sense of pride that we stayed open through the pandemic as well.
CC: I am one of the very first team members who contributed right from the beginning of Dorchester Collection’s outreach. It is such an incredible journey to participate in the development of one of the world’s foremost luxury hotel brands. Our people culture in my opinion is the best in the hospitality industry, which is why I am still at Dorchester Collection, like so many of my other colleagues.
What can your hotel uniquely offer the LGBTQ+ traveller?
SB: What everyone wants: to be accepted, respected and to feel safe. I have always had three very simple values: respect the guests, respect the employees, and respect the property.
CC: Paris has a wide choice of luxury hotels, but few can compare to the elegance, refinement and history of Le Meurice. Our LGBTQ+ travellers adore the hotel for its incredible sense of beauty.Once our LGBTQ+ guests enter the hotel, they are warmly welcomed, just like every guest.
Our location is unique, in the heart of Paris on rue de Rivoli, facing the Tuileries Garden and close to Le Marais (the hot spot for the LGBTQ+ community in Paris) .
And, on a personal note, what gives you the most fulfillment and enjoyment?
SB: As a native Angeleno, I have long been fascinated by the history of LA and Hollywood in particular. So to be able to work at the iconic hotel where much of that history happened is a gift.
I really enjoy passing some of the stories on to the younger staff members or to a guest that has saved up just to afford a few nights in the hotel and watching their eyes light up. That lets me know the mystique of The Beverly Hills Hotel will continue on for another 100 years.
CC: I value the chance to work in an environment where I can meet people from various backgrounds. A hotel like Le Meurice is the perfect place for me as I can meet so many people from diverse backgrounds.
As our company’s We Care philosophy means so much to me, I cannot be more grateful, just like my team, to be working in one of the most legendary hotels in the world where we can feel totally fulfilled and proud of what we jointly accomplish while being appreciated for who we are.