Head of Operations Vacancy

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is looking for a new Head of Operations to join our important charity.

Team: Operations

Reports to: Chief Executive

Key Team Reports: Operations Team, Marketing & Communications Manager, Events Manager, Retail Manager, Maintenance team, Volunteer Co-ordinator, Volunteers.

Key Relationships: Finance Manager, Development Director, Education Manager, Head Gardener and Gardening Team, Volunteers, Board of Trustees.

Introduction

The role of Head of Operations is a crucial position within the Birmingham Botanical Gardens (BBG, registered charity number 528981). This is a permanent position with the post holder reporting to the CEO as an active member of the Senior Management Team. The post will work closely with the Head of Finance and the Development Director to drive forward the ambitious future of the charity.

This position is a new senior role within BBG and will be responsible for achieving targets for annual operating income from visitors, membership, retail and events, together with measuring and raising overall visitor satisfaction.

As the organisation plans major investment in BBG’ s buildings, site and organisation, the Head of Operations will be an essential member of the Team, taking responsibility for delivering improvements to visitor experience on the site and increasing income.

About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Opened in 1832, BBG is one of just two independent charitable botanical gardens in the UK. Spread across 15 acres, just one mile from Birmingham City Centre, BBG consists of over 7,000 formally documented plants, making it the largest and most diverse botanic collection in central England. BBG’s heritage is woven into Birmingham’s history – the most important manufacturing town in the world – and the site welcomes over 180,000 visitors each year.

As well as the gardens, which are a green sanctuary within the city, the charity also provides a unique educational resource for learning about plants, conservation, and the environment. We welcome visits from nurseries, schools and colleges, as well as uniformed groups such as scouts and brownies, and run adult courses and workshops including photography, nature and wildlife, and heritage and cultural courses.

As an independent charity, we rely on the support of visitors, donors and grants, as well as generating income from our trading arm, hosting weddings and special events and providing catering. This support ensures that we can maintain our Victorian glasshouses and our 15-acres of wonderful gardens, and also enables us to develop exciting new educational projects for the Birmingham community.

A diverse botanical world that enhances all our lives

Our mission is to support plant biodiversity and an understanding of its importance to the natural environment through conservation, education, engagement and enjoyment.

Role Purpose

The Head of Operations will work closely with the Senior Management Team, Trustees, charity staff and third-party contractors, taking responsibility for BBG’s day-to-day operations, maximising income from admissions, membership, retail and events and meeting targets for visitor growth and development.

As part of this role, you will be responsible for ensuring that commercial activity delivers the best value and financial returns for the charity, whilst also helping with the general management and improvements of the site, buildings, and gardens to ensure an excellent and safe visitor experience. Working with the wider BBG team, you will also seek to realise existing and grow opportunities for income generation and visitor growth.

Visitor and Commercial Operations

  • Accountable for delivering operational and strategic KPIs, including income and expenditure KPIs for visitor and commercial areas; and for meeting budgets as required. Regular reporting internally and externally including attendance at board meetings as required.
  • Responsible for visitor admissions, ensuring a consistently high level of customer service is achieved across the team. Reviewing the visitor experience, retail and visitor catering offer and suggesting and implementing improvements as appropriate, including developing ways to build visitor numbers and diversify audiences, embracing new areas of engagement. 
  • Deliver and report on the performance of income streams including visitor admissions, retail, programming events and visitor catering, and regularly review pricing with the Management Team.
  • Support the CEO to manage the catering service provided by the Third-Party Contractor Aramark to ensure compliance with contractual obligations and achievement of targets. Also, to support the CEO in the development and implementation of a forward strategy for catering, as needed.
  • Maximise sales and income generation on-site for the benefit of BBG’s charitable cause; so that profit from the car park, commercial outlets, events, and membership can be reinvested in the BBG’s horticulture, conservation and education priorities.
  • Work closely with the CEO and other operational staff and volunteers to ensure that the opening of the Garden, events and any other activities are planned, communicated and properly costed/resourced. 
  • Manage the operation of the welcome desk, training staff and volunteers to provide an excellent visitor experience, to maximise revenues from ticket sales, gift aid and donations, and collect marketing data.
  • Review the retail offer and develop a new retail strategy and business plan to maximise the contribution to the charity.

Marketing and Communications

  • Responsible for the oversite of marketing and public relations activities for BBG and its trading subsidiary through the management of the third-party marketing agency and Marketing Manager and implementing an effective marketing strategy to meet agreed performance indicators and annual targets. 
  • Ensure BBG marketing drives visits to the sites and that all communications provide a clear message consistent with BBG Strategic Objectives and Business Plan.
  • Work closely with the senior management team and staff to implement new IT systems, including a new Customer Relationship Management, Fundraising and Ticketing System (Spektrix) and EPOS system, ensuring it is fit-for-purpose and used to full effect to encourage sales and provide effective marketing data and to support fundraising. 
  • Oversee/approve the creation and production of key collateral, including articles, advertisements, advertorials, printed and e-communications, as well as printed leaflets, posters and banners to ensure they are high quality and meet brand guidelines.
  • Work closely with the Development Director to develop an internal and external communications strategy to promote and support key messages to aid fundraising, planned development and growth.
  • Work closely with the Development Director, Finance Manager and departmental staff to oversee operational processes of the Membership scheme, including the CRM database, Gift Aid records and returns, renewals, Direct Debit processing, and member services.

Events

  • Manage and support the Events Officer to devise, develop and implement an effective events programme that supports the vision of the Gardens, its members and supporters, and generates income.
  • Act as a Duty Manager for special events in line with the duty manager rota (c.10 events per year) and participate in the delivery of events and work closely with colleagues to ensure that the on-site coordination of events, programming and venue hire for indoor and outdoor facilities is undertaken.

Staff Management and Volunteering

  • Champion volunteering across the organisation and wider communities, supporting the Volunteer Coordinator to grow the volunteer team and its impact on the charity.
  • Review the roles of operational staff and volunteers; hold regular team meetings and ensure good coordination and communication across the organisation, setting objectives and conducting appraisals with staff.
  • Provide reports for the Board and attend Trustee meetings, relevant sub-committees) and Senior Team meetings as required (attendance at c.4 Board meetings per year).

Buildings, Facilities and Health & Safety

  • Ensure the buildings and site estate is well-maintained, well-presented, secure and clean, taking responsibility for areas used by visitors within the historic site, as well as buildings, and outdoor areas, together with mechanical and electrical installations and IT systems.
  • Liaise with statutory and licensing authorities as appropriate to ensure all necessary licenses are obtained and routinely renewed.
  • Work with BBG’s Health and Safety Consultant to ensure that all statutory health and safety requirements are complied with and identify and manage compliance and risks to the business.
  • Take responsibility for ensuring the actions of you / your team are safe, secure, and compliant with all relevant legislation to minimise risk to the public, staff, volunteers, and contractors. Manage any major incidents, and risk areas including health and safety, reputational and financial.
  • Ensure regular checks and tests are carried out in accordance with health and safety policy and legislation, including the maintenance of records and reporting of incidents, and devise, update and ensure the application of risk assessments and mitigation plans as necessary and ensure training is provided for staff, volunteers, and freelancers in safe working practices.
  • Implement and maintain standards of on-site presentation including signage, staff and volunteer identification, tidying/cleaning procedures.

Person Specification

This is a crucial new position within the charity, and we are looking for a passionate, experienced candidate who can bring a range of skills and high energy to BBG.

Essential Experience

  • Extensive operational and managerial experience in a high-quality, successful visitor / cultural attraction.
  • Record of experience and responsibility in achieving income targets and managing budgets in an independent charitable or commercial setting, preferably incomparable/similar sector.
  • Experience of planning, leading and delivering a culture of exceptional customer service.
  • Good experience of drawing on marketing audience research, data and trends to inform visitor programming, experiences and operations.
  • Experience of utilising digital ticketing / CRM and marketing business operating systems to support visitor growth and operations, preferably Spektrix or similar.   
  • Experience of multi-channel marketing.
  • Experience of developing and managing visitor events and programmes, preferably outdoors.
  • Experience of successfully concluding contract negotiations and the implementation of service level agreements with third party suppliers.
  • Experience and knowledge of Health and Safety management in a visitor-focused environment, preferably to include historic buildings and outdoor environment.
  • Experience of risk management in a visitor-focused environment
  • Successful track record in implementing improvements and changes in an operational capacity.
  • Flexible to ensure operations cover is provided at all times.
  • Experience in change management

Education, Skills and Attributes

  • Excellent IT skills including use of Microsoft Office/Excel and ticketing and CRM software management and operations.
  • Ability to communicate professionally and effectively, both orally and in writing to ensure good working relationships with colleagues- staff, volunteers, customers, external suppliers and stakeholders.
  • Good leadership and staff management skills with the ability to motivate, manage and develop staff, and to deliver improvements and outstanding results and building capability.
  • Motivated by the desire to give visitors and customers an excellent experience whilst maximizing revenue-generating potential.
  • Understanding of the requirements for the operation of a successful commercial business as part of operating a successful charity.
  • Adaptability and flexibility alongside efficient time management and experience of leading numerous operational activities across a busy customer-facing site.
  • Ability to commit the necessary time and effort, including weekends and bank holidays and some evenings as part of a duty management roster.
  • Ability to think and act strategically and work collaboratively with senior managers and Trustees with a creative approach to problem-solving and developing solutions.
  • Commitment to fairness and to promoting equality and inclusion and able to work as part of a team.

Additional Information

As part of our commitment to equality, BBG wants to ensure that our team reflects its ambition to be an inclusive and diverse organisation and to be representative of the communities we serve. We, therefore, welcome applications from individuals from all backgrounds to reflect the diversity of communities, visitors, and audiences to the Gardens. Our definition of diversity encompasses responding to issues around race, ethnicity, faith, disability, age, gender, sexuality, class and economic disadvantage and any social and institutional barriers that prevent people from creating, participating in or enjoying our Gardens.

Hours 39 hours per week, including call-out as necessary.  Regular weekend working will be required, for which time off in lieu will be given.

Holiday Starting at 20 days per annum plus 8 days public holiday allowance. A successful internal candidate will be credited with holiday entitlement earned during service.

Pay c.£40,000 Per Annum

Pension A Contributory Group Personal Pension Scheme is offered.

DBS Check This post is subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Probation This role will be subject to a 6-month probationary period.

The deadline for applications is 20th August 2021. Interviews will take place the week commencing 6th September 2021.

To apply, please send a covering letter (no more than two pages), your CV, and an Equal Opportunities Monitoring Assessment Form to James@birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk

This is a fantastic opportunity to be a part of an organisation making a real difference in Birmingham and the wider natural world and to play an active role in the future direction of the charity.