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With less than two weeks to go until the Employee Engagement Summit, we sat with speakers to hear an insight into their industry and what you can expect to learn from their case studies. Today, we are joined by James Hampton, Head of Learning and Development and Georgie Mills, Head of HR Retail at Seasalt Cornwall…

1. Please tell us more about the Employee Engagement approach Seasalt Cornwall adopts?

In terms of employee engagement at Seasalt, it’s really only in the last couple of years that we’ve started to focus on it. We’ve done satisfaction surveys in the past, and we’re really bringing into the forefront what we mean by employee engagement, which was also part of the plan. Our strategy involved working with leaders, so we had a real focus on our leadership team and their knowledge of what engagement actually meant. We started to work with them to improve that knowledge through some learning and some development work, both face-to-face but also on a one-on-one basis, and that enabled them to be more productive when it came to employee engagement but also in working with their teams.

2. How do you maintain communication throughout the whole organisation?

Once we’d done the leadership work, we were then able to look at a survey to help us and decide what kind of survey we would be using, not just in terms of the questions but also the format. We were really keen to make sure it was easy and accessible for everyone across the business, including in our stores, so we decided to go down a digital route. That enabled us to work with a company that facilitated the survey, but also supported us on what that really meant, and how we could analyse the data we were getting back.

3. What trends do you feel will be around for years to come in employee engagement?

The future for us will be really understanding the people that want to come and work for Seasalt, and ensuring they feel like they’re part of something special. We want to learn what their motives are, and to keep them emotionally engaged with the business and with their role, and then fostering that and unlocking their potential to remain part of the Seasalt journey as we go forward. It’s about us being as flexible as we can about understanding that people have more going on in their lives than just work, so learning how we can work flexibly. It’s about engaging them with technology in the future, and it’s really about holding on to our values as a business where we understand that people get Seasalt, that they feel part of something special, and that we don’t lose our team ethos and we don’t lose who we are as we grow. So, the future for us is to really hold on to what we have that we hold dear as a business, and then just engaging people with it.

4. What will the future of work look like when it comes to engaging with employees?

I think it’s really exciting where we can go with engagement generally; engagement’s not a new thing, as we all know – it’s been around for years. But the slant that we’re taking on it now is around how we keep talent within our business, and if they’re engaged with a purpose and what they’re doing, and have a valuable contribution to make to the business. I think that’s how we move it forward.

5. What are you most looking forward to about the Employee Engagement Summit this year?

I think it’s a great opportunity for us to hear from other HR professionals about what they’re doing in other industries, and how that relates to what we’re doing at Seasalt.

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