Andrew Cooper is General Manager and Human Resources Manager for Parkway Cinemas, based in the UK.
The Parkway Entertainment company has a strong family history, one which boasts an independent mindset. A nine-screen multiplex in Cleethorpes offers a physical perspective of the ambition and drive to succeed, an indicator of our think big ethos. From my perspective the most important factor is the size of its heart that pumps the passion through the company. This passion is infectious, so much so, that when you sign the dotted line on your contract titled Parkway Cinema Employee, you actually become a member of the family and you immediately feel the value in your contribution as an employee. We have four sites in total: Cleethorpes, Louth, Beverley and Barnsley. All sites possess the same feed from the big heart that pumps the passion throughout, the very same heart which was put under strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When our income became zero following the closure of cinemas back in March, it was a troubling time. The press was full of businesses making immediate redundancies and layoffs, at this point the term furlough was unheard of, and so our staff members were understandably worried for their jobs, and the longevity of the company. At this point my CIPD training began to kick in, I visualised the CIPD core behaviours I was taught in the classroom. Situational decision making, valuing people with a sprinkle of ethical practice, allowed us to make the decision that the protection of our staff members' circumstances was most important. We collaborated with local recruitment agencies and found alternative employment to protect their income. Our staff decided to sit on that offer as a plan B, awaiting confirmation of welcomed support from the government. Looking back, it is one of my proudest moments.
When the flood gates opened, I had strength in the support of my team around me. The planning process created a togetherness amongst the general managers and directors, we all took advantage of our individual skill sets, and at that point I immediately became more thankful than ever before, for my CIPD qualification. Working inclusively kept our heads above water during difficult times.
Speaking of water, our news travelled to the other side of the Atlantic. The Hollywood reporter ran our story - when they learned how we looked after our people they were impressed and so suddenly our small independent story turned into a world news blockbuster!
I feel very thankful and proud to be given the opportunity to write this blog, my continued professional development has earned a few extra points, however more importantly it allows me to reflect on our journey as a family, one that prides itself on strong recruitment, core values, behaviours and learning and development. The sequel is on its way with the same all-star cast as the first hit!
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