February 21, 2024 All Articles

Meet the Speaker: Kathy Sorenson, Director of People & Culture, Premier Inn Hotels – Middle East

Kathy is a seasoned HR professional with nearly 30 years’ global experience through in-house and consultancy roles in New Zealand, Canada and, for the last 14 years, the UAE. After running a successful Dubai-based HR consultancy for six years, Kathy joined Premier Inn in 2018 to redesign and centralise the HR function, focusing on driving team engagement and company culture as well as overseeing all HR activities at the company’s Middle East corporate office and 11 hotels in the UAE and Qatar. Kathy plays a leading role in delivering new team member focused initiatives, including Premier Inn’s in-house Moon app; Stars awards programme and One Team One Heartbeat.

We are delighted that Kathy will be speaking at our Wellbeing at Work Summit Middle East in February. We caught up with her to find out how she’s feeling in the run up to the summit.

Hi Kathy, we are thrilled you will be speaking at our Wellbeing at Work Middle East Summit in February. Our first and most important question is, how are you doing today?

Fantastic thanks, and its great to be part of the Wellbeing at work.

As a leader based in the region, what are the main challenges you are facing when it comes to employee wellbeing?

Like many leaders we wear two hats, one is the strategic hat and the other is operational. Balancing time for these important topics is always a challenge. Also making the topics interesting and easy is imperative to having it flow through the organisation and ensuring that its regularly discussed so its kept top of mind.

What strategies have you seen developing over the past 6 months, both internally and externally, that is moving the dial on wellbeing in the workplace?

Improvement is a continual focus and at Premier Inn its no different. However in the last 6 months, the big things are a focus on partnering with First Response who provide many medical and health support to organisations and customers but they will provide many seminars, and health related events for our teams awareness. 

We now have a new Soccer team in the business to compliment our basketball and cricket teams. 

We have made more accessible mental health information ensuring our team have the support they need.

Why is employee wellbeing so important to you personally?

Wellbeing means that we have happy people and a productive environment and we can be proud of where we work. Spending the majority of our time at work, it should be a happy, healthy place for people to come to. 

What are you most looking forward to about the Summit in February?

Meeting like minded people, sharing ideas and learning.

Tell us, what is your vision for the future workplace, in terms of engagement, health and wellbeing?

That the focus continues to be on creating great environments

What areas do you think employers should be focused on over the next 12 months?

Always getting the basics right… don’t choose too many objectives, just have one goal, achieve it and move to the next.

How has your organisation been leading the way?

We have made continual progress on our wellbeing, one step at a time mounts up to larger change and I think this is how we lead the way in our organisation.

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