Head of Learning & Development


Lay & Wheeler is one of England’s longest standing fine wine merchants, established in 1854, and recognised as one of its leading names, awarded Online Retailer of the Year in 2018 by the International Wine Challenge.

The business is known for its outstanding range of wines, buying directly from top domaines in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhône, Loire, Champagne, Italy and South Africa, which it sells exclusively to private clients. For those customers, it offers the opportunity to buy, store, sell and enjoy fine wine, who frequently work directly with a personal wine advisor, though make most of their transactions through the website.

Over the past five years, Lay & Wheeler has experienced a period of healthy growth. Its management team and its owners, two private families, intend to sustain this momentum, and are making significant investments in the business to do so.

Central to this growth strategy are people, and therefore one important addition to the team will be the newly created learning and development role, reporting directly to the MD.


We are hiring a Head of Learning and Development to define and then lead how we develop our team - both existing and new.

At Lay & Wheeler, we believe that people are at the heart of everything we do, and that this strategy starts with having the right team in place. However, people and team dynamics are not static, and so we continuously invest in how we can work better together.

This person will oversee all HR-related processes, from onboarding to mid-year and annual performance reviews to our annual team survey, and will support functional managers in their hiring and management needs. This person will also work with the MD on related initiatives, such as culture development, team-building activities, and strengthening our employer brand.

Just as important as developing this new function will be measuring its effectiveness, and continuing to refine it, and so this person will also introduce a set of KPIs to track success.

This is a role for someone who is keen to build on a strong foundation and make a mark on a dynamic business - someone who wants to join a best-in-class organization and help make it even better.

Key responsibilities

  • Develop onboarding process for new joiners, building on status quo, and managing it moving forward (with the hiring manager)
  • Manage mid-year and annual review processes, building on status quo
  • Develop KPIs for how we measure success by our team (e.g. retention, employer brand recognition, surveys/interviews with new joiners, etc.)
  • Working with the MD, develop routine team building exercises which help us work better together (e.g. the color exercise; book club; budgets by department for social activities, etc.)
  • Spearhead “Fun Committee” initiatives
  • Spearhead “Good Committee” initiatives
  • Work with the FD to evaluate our existing employee benefits, and develop plan to ensure we are best in class within and outside our industry
  • Examine our efforts for diversity and inclusion, and help us be even better


  • 2.1 degree or higher (or equivalent) from a top-tier university
  • An understanding of behavioural psychology and “what makes people tick”
  • A thirst for knowledge, especially reading the latest on people management and the workplace or listening to experts weigh in on podcasts, in a post-covid world
  • Willingness to try new things, iterate on them, and work with others to make them great
  • Experience leading and developing teams, as well as working cross-functionally
  • Ideally, a basic understanding of fine wine and/or experience in a luxury business
  • Given the nature of this role, this person will be expected to spend the majority of time at our headquarters in Suffolk, with some time also spent in our satellite office in London

Personal qualities

  • Ownership mentality
  • An absolute love of people from all walks of life
  • Deep commitment to teamwork, and development of team members, with a high degree of empathy
  • “Roll up your sleeves and do it” approach to get things off the ground
  • Even if you’re not passionate about fine wine, you understand people who love epicurean pursuits more broadly


  • Salary commensurate with experience, competitive with market
  • An annual bonus scheme, based on company and individual performance
  • Employee-employer matched pension contributions of 5% each
  • Company-sponsored social events
  • Opportunity for wine education sponsorship
  • Team member discount on wine
  • An opportunity to build your career, not just take a job

To apply, please send a cover letter explaining why you are interested in the role and your CV to Katy Andersen - [email protected]