The internationally recognised awards, which require companies to apply for re-accreditation every three years to ensure continual professional development, are seen as the global benchmark in people management.
The We Invest in People Platinum Award, first achieved by Scottish Sea Farms in 2018, has been retained, as has the We Invest in Young People Award at Gold level.
The salmon grower also scored Gold for the first time in the We Invest in Wellbeing category, making it just one of two companies in Scotland to have achieved this level.
Scottish Sea Farms Head of Human Resources Tracy Bryant-Shaw said: ‘We have worked hard over the past three years to build on our 2018 performance and reach even higher standards.’
Key has been the introduction of a comprehensive new health and wellbeing strategy; something that was already underway prior to the arrival of Covid but gathered new momentum in the months thereafter.
‘During the pandemic, when we couldn’t see everyone, we looked at what more we could do for our employees and their families,’ said Bryant-Shaw.
‘We are now able to offer a really wide-ranging suite of support: from our employee assistance initiative and various training programmes to new innovations such as a dedicated wellbeing app, as well as one-to-one help with employees’ physical, mental or financial health.
We’ve also added staff wellbeing to our health and safety meetings as a further way of checking that we’re doing everything we can to support our people.
Other initiatives introduced in recent years include:
- Real Living Wage – independently calculated based on what people need to live on, and higher than both the government minimum wage and national living wage
- Young People’s Council – actively involving younger generations in the decisions that will shape the direction and growth of the business
- Family friendly policies – offering working parents enhanced maternity and paternity leave
- Aquaculture Academy & Management Academy – helping nurture and develop existing and potential employees alike
- Move to online learning – making a whole host of training programmes more readily accessible to all, regardless of location.
There have also been new partnerships with the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre to help develop the sector’s next generation of leaders; Argyll College UHI to offer Modern Apprenticeships in Aquaculture within the region; and local schools to introduce emerging talent to the sector.
Winning IIP accreditation is a painstaking process, involving a series of surveys and interviews. More than 90 per cent of staff responded to the We Invest in Wellbeing questionnaire – ‘an incredible level of participation,’ said Bryant-Shaw – and 85 per cent completed the We Invest in People survey, slightly up on three years ago.
‘People clearly felt that their voices were going to be heard and we got great feedback, which has been very useful.’
Following the surveys, more than 70 interviews were conducted with selected employees, across all age ranges, over the phone and in person.
The next challenge for Scottish Sea Farms Human Resources team is to try to improve on an already impressive achievement. But Bryant-Shaw is not complacent: ‘We’re thrilled to be where we are but there is much more we can do, in terms of employee engagement, management behaviours and skills, and attracting our future workforce, as well as taking into account the feedback received through the surveys and assessor reports.
‘And we will soon be integrating Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK into Scottish Sea Farms, aligning their people with the company so they feel equally valued and empowered.’