37.5 hours per week, permanent, full time.  Flexible hours are required as this post will involve some weekend, bank holiday and occasional evening work

Job Summary: 

Marks Hall Estate has begun to deliver a new organisational growth strategy (2020-25) with a focus on environmental sustainability, public engagement and education. The Charity celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2021 which will be a crucial stage in our development, and a busy public programme is planned.

The Operations Director is a key role in the Marks Hall Estate team and will work very closely with the Executive Director to enable delivery of the new 5 year development strategy. This is a new role which will oversee and manage site operations to include all aspects of visitor attraction operations management. Responsible for leadership across site operations, to include the let estate, visitor operations and admissions, retail, catering, and events, this role will manage senior operational staff and their teams. As required, the post holder will also manage the work of relevant consultants, contractors and suppliers.

The Operations Director will be a highly organised, commercially minded operations professional with 5+ years relevant experience in venue management, and experience of managing diverse operational teams. The successful individual will be data-focused and financially astute, accustomed to managing budgets, and experienced in financial analysis and planning, accurate financial reporting, and making efficiencies across venue operations. The postholder will possess excellent time management, prioritisation and scheduling skills and be experienced in managing risk, and health and safety across multiple aspects of site operation.

A self-starter and finisher, and a team-player with lots of energy and a positive outlook, the Operations Director will be able to manage challenging public facing scenarios, make firm and well-balanced decisions, be hands-on across a range of tasks as needed, and able to balance a busy workload.

Key Result Areas:

  1. Strategic Leadership
  • Represent MHE, work closely with the Executive Director, senior colleagues, and Trustees to deliver the Strategy Plan, to support the Charity’s future objectives and sustainability.
  • Lead on risk management processes, contribute to strategic planning.
  • Deliver effective, integrated strategies and plans which enhance MHE’s profile.
  • Demonstrate innovation and creativity in identifying and developing profitable new commercial opportunities and areas for business growth.
  • Work with the Executive Director to deliver an annual Operational Plan, with appropriate financial indicators and KPIs aligned to the Strategic Plan, ensure its successful implementation and financial sustainability.
  • Work collaboratively with colleagues across MHE to contribute to and support the public programme, capitalise on all commercial and income-generating opportunities associated with the programme and other areas with potential for business activity.
  • Identify opportunities for external funding through grants, donations, sponsorship, legacies or other sources
  • Be a visible senior ambassador for MHE, develop effective relationships and partnerships with stakeholders
  • Produce regular financial and non-financial performance reports against agreed key performance indicators.
  • Ensure the effective management of contracts and relations with external partners to support the needs of the business and provide value for money.
  • Keep up to date in all areas of the role, be aware of trends and forecasts, particularly in the digital arena, to ensure the effectiveness of the activities under the remit of the postholder and determine where resources should be prioritised to support cultural change within the organisation. 
  1. Commercial
  •  Lead the development and delivery of a Commercial Strategy which maximises income and growth and supports an integrated approach across all trading operations covering let estate, admissions, catering, and events.
  • Develop new commercial proposals in line with the Strategy Plan for consideration by Executive Director and Trustees, provide risk analysis for potential partnership ventures to assist the Executive Director and Trustees in strategic decisions.
  • Lead let estate, admissions, retail, catering, and events operations, ensuring that a consistently high level of customer service is achieved, estate standards are routinely met, and the catering offer delivers best value and financial returns for the Charity.
  • Continually review the visitor experience and work with the Executive Director and Marketing & Communications Manager to develop ways to build visitor numbers and diversify audiences, embracing new areas of engagement.
  • Be aware of MHE’s reputation and its position with local, regional, and national stakeholders
  1. Estate Management
  •  Support the Estate Manager in providing strategic leadership across the Estate Management and Arboretum teams, ensuring that performance standards and KPIs are achieved and organisational requirements are met.
  • Ensure that the work of the Estate Management and Arboretum teams are fully integrated into the wider operational team across relevant aspects of programme planning and delivery through structured communications
  • Ensure that timelines and key projects across the Landscape Master Plan, Woodland Management Plan, and further project plans are maintained and monitored and appropriate funding identified.
  1. People and Financial Management
  •  Lead, motivate and develop the Operations team in line with the Charity’s employment policies, acting as a role model in developing a culture of high quality site presentation, customer service, continuous improvement, and collaboration
  • Ensure work is delivered to the highest standard and the Operations team meet their own objectives and contribute to the achievement of others so that strategic organisational objectives are fulfilled.
  • Lead the management of operational budgets so that the delivery of all activity is achieved within agreed budget and demonstrates value for money.
  • Set, control, and monitor the admissions, retail, catering, and events budgets.
  • The post holder may be required to perform other duties in line with the level of this role, including deputising for the Executive Director where appropriate.
  1. Other responsibilities
  • Demonstrate professionalism at all times
  • Deliver on agreed personal objectives in line with organisational goals and objectives
  • Deliver a high quality and efficient service, working effectively with colleagues, contractors, and suppliers to continually improve standards
  • Manage time and workload effectively, take responsibility for all aspects of your work
  • Build strong relationships across the organisation with staff and volunteers, promoting a culture of excellence, professionalism, and consistent communication.
  • Work within the terms and conditions of employment, adhere to the policies and procedures of the Charity.
  • Undertake evening and weekend work as needed; plan and communicate time in lieu with line manager.
  • Demonstrate awareness of equal opportunities for all and a deep understanding of diversity and social inclusion through your work and communications. A broad interest in the long-term success and development of Marks Hall Estate

Education, skills, attributes:

  • First degree or equivalent and/or a Business Managament or operations Management qualification
  • Excellent IT skills including use of Microsoft Office, Excel at an advanced level and CRM software management; Project Management software experience would be an advantage.
  • Excellent networking and collaborative skills, able to win support of colleagues and stakeholders
  • Ability to communicate professionally and effectively, both orally and in writing to ensure good working relationships with colleagues and stakeholders where information is shared clearly and easily
  • Outstanding leadership skills with the ability to motivate, manage and inspire multi-disciplinary teams, and to set a compelling vision for driving improvements and outstanding results and building capability.
  • Highly developed interpersonal and influencing skills, with a track record of developing and maintaining effective relationships with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders up to Board level.
  • Commercially astute, entrepreneurial, proven capacity to work innovatively and independently.
  • Ability to think and act strategically and work collaboratively with senior managers and Trustees.
  • Innovative and creative approach to problem solving and developing solutions.

Knowledge and Experience

  • A strong operational delivery background with demonstrable experience of leading service delivery in a complex and fast paced environment with challenging deadlines.
  • Experience and knowledge of Health and Safety management in a visitor-focused environment
  • Experience of risk management in a visitor-focused environment
  • A successful track record in implementing business transformation in an operational context, continuously seeking out ways to improve performance and identify efficiencies.
  • Astute business awareness with the ability to manage risk and reach sound judgements, with demonstrable experience of making complex, evidenced-based decisions to meet the needs of the business.
  • Experience of delivering a transformational project to agreed timescales, quality, and budget.
  • Experience of overseeing the management of a site or building which is open to the public all year round would be desirable

Key criteria for Success

After 6 months in post, the successful candidate will have:

  • Established excellent and positive working relationships with staff, volunteers, and a range of internal and external stakeholders
  • Demonstrated a clear commitment to and understanding of the work of Marks Hall Estate
  • Exercised leadership and maintained momentum on all existing plans and activities within budget
  • Led and developed the team to demonstrate the highest standards of site presentation, customer service and achieve key objectives and targets

To apply:

Please read our website (www.markshall.org.uk) thoroughly before applying, we encourage you to visit Marks Hall Estate, if possible, before you apply. We require a letter of application (2 pages maximum) addressed to Kath Cockshaw, Executive Director, explaining how your experience fits the job description and person specification, and a copy of your current CV.

Your application must include the names and contact details of three referees, one of which must be your most recent employer. We will not contact your referees until an offer has been made and accepted.

Please email your application to Nanette Gaskell, HR Manager: [email protected] by midday, Monday 25 January 2021. We will be happy to answer any queries about the role from 4th January 2021 until the closing date.

Interviews will take place at Marks Hall Estate week commencing Monday 1 February. The successful applicant must provide evidence of their right to work in the UK.

Marks Hall Estate (registered charity no. 256700) is an equal opportunities employer. We celebrate and value diversity. All recruitment decisions are made on the basis of qualifications, merit and business need.

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