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EEF helps SMITHS drive performance improvements by implementing a competency framework


EEF knew how to support us and brought out the best in our team by getting them involved and contributing to the project. We now have a completely transparent competency framework that employees at all levels can engage with and which forms the basis of all our recruitment, training and succession planning."

Helen Cook, HR Manager


SMITHS is a unique food and hospitality brand that prides itself on delivering a memorable experience to customers, providing great food in great locations with exceptional levels of customer service.

Faced with unprecedented levels of business growth Helen Cook, HR Manager had the vision to put the focus firmly on SMITHS most valuable commodity, their employees.

SMITHS understood that to really stand apart and shine in a competitive marketplace, a passion for customer service could only be turned from boardroom mantra to tableside reality by adopting a wholehearted commitment to recruit, develop and retain the very best people.

With this commitment front and centre of the management agenda, SMITHS sought to launch a new competency framework to link company objectives to individual performance and chose EEF’s HR consultancy team as their preferred partner.


Working in close partnership with SMITHS over a 20 day project, our senior HR consultant Jacqui Tutin put in place a tailored competency framework unique to the company that identified the required capability and performance levels for individual job roles.

The creation and prominent involvement of a cross functional working group made up of employees at various levels, helped foster a culture of ownership and engagement which enabled SMITHS to put their own stamp on the process.


SMITHS now proudly refer to the ‘DNA’ of the organisation, and adopts a set of capabilities that reflect the philosophy of the business and a passion for customer service, with behaviours such as ‘Family’, ‘Efficiency’ and ‘With Love’ emphasised alongside more technical skills or knowledge.

The new capability framework makes clear what good performance looks like. Clearly defines expectations and helps people understand what they need to do to get better – driving individuals’ behaviours that are critical to SMITHS success.

The framework put in place enables SMITHS to mitigate the risk of talent drain by taking a structured approach to succession planning and aids recruitment and selection activity by ensuring the creation of detailed job descriptions that enhance the selection process.

As each role has a set of robust capabilities in place, management now has the ability to accurately measure and fairly appraise performance against an agreed set of standards, whilst also identifying areas for personal and career development. If an employee is interested in moving into a new role, the framework makes this much easier to achieve, resulting in clear career progression paths.

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