Inspiring People – The Oaklands Country Manor Team

It’s incredibly inspiring to find another business that holds the same values as we do, which is why we’ve always felt a great affinity to the team over at Oaklands Country Manor in Van Reenen. Like Worx Group, Oaklands is a family run, family-focused business that places great importance on the value that comes from awarding and rewarding its team members. In our long-standing relationship with Oaklands (during which we’ve twice taken our team there for the weekend for our yearly team breakaway) we’ve come to know them well, and have also had the opportunity to learn from their business model, which we feel closely resembles our own. Headed up by the Tully Family of Lady Caroline Bruce-Clifton, her sisters Kathy Romer-Lee and Annie Barnard, and their brother Simon Tully, each member of the Oaklands team brings their own wealth of experience to running this beautiful country destination.

Caroline, Annie, Kathy and Simon’s long affiliation to the region and their strong sense of family values form the core of the Oaklands ethos, and it’s one that extends to the nearby community as well. A primary employer in the area, Oaklands is deeply committed to local skills development and providing opportunities for social and economic upliftment. Johnson Ndluvu used to spend his school holidays working in the gardens on the estate. After he expressed an interest in cooking, he joined the Oaklands kitchen – his dedication and talent paid off and he now holds the key position of chef.

This dedication to team development, growth and engagement is what makes Oaklands especially special to us, and why we believe there’s a lot to be learned by small businesses from their company values and systems. Here, Simon Tulley sat down with our Worx Group team to tell us more about it.

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What Would You Consider To Be The Key Values Of Your Business?

Benevolence. A business is about people and the greater good, and we believe that in order for it to succeed, money must be a by-product.

How Has Being A Family Business Been A Strength For You?

Very simply, we all share a common goal and it’s the success of the community that strives for a better service that then translates to the guest experience. We believe that happy staff equal happy guests.

How Do You Reward/Incentivise Your Staff?

We do this through proper pay and a belief in helping each other on both a personal and professional level.

What Are The Key Driving Principles Of This Incentivisation?

The fact that we are a community. Communities have disintegrated since after World War 2 to the point most people don’t even know their neighbours. We believe in the value of a community supporting one another through business and interpersonal relations.

Have There Been Any Key Moments Of Employee Engagement That Resulted In A Turning Point In Your Business?

Yes – one of the main moments was when we stopped hiring outside of our community and instead promoted internally for key positions. This showed that there is no glass ceiling and that everyone can achieve career growth, which served to encourage our team and inspire growth and determination.

If You Had To Sum Up Why You Run Your Business The Way That You Do, What Would You Say?

We believe that as a community we can stand strong and create an environment where everything grows: from plants to people. In an era where political and environmental factors make people feel vulnerable, we feel that our valley will have social security and security from ever-changing climate by working with what we have to secure food & water.

Visit the Oaklands website here to plan your next weekend getaway.


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