Erin MacAulay, who recently moved from the processing plant at South Shian to a new role as receptionist / HR sdministrator at SSF's Barcaldine RAS hatchery. SSF has retained its We Invest in Young People Award at Gold level, one of three accolades from IIP. Photo: SSF

Hat-trick of employment awards for salmon farmer

Salmon farmer Scottish Sea Farms has won a hat-trick of Investors In People (IIP) accolades for its sustained investment in jobs, training and staff wellbeing.

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The 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 company said in a press release.

The We Invest in People Platinum Award, first achieved by Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) in 2018, has been retained, as has the We Invest in Young People Award at Gold level.

The salmon farmer also scored Gold for the first time in the We Invest in Wellbeing category, making it only the second company in Scotland to have achieved this level.

SSF's head of human resources Tracy Bryant-Shaw with colleagues Emma Leyden and Claire Scott after winning the Diversity Award at the Aquaculture Awards 2019. The team now has three more accolades from Investors In People. Click on image to enlarge. Photo: SSF.

Wellbeing strategy

SSF’s 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.”

The company had introduced a comprehensive health and wellbeing strategy prior to emergence of Covid-19, and that gathered momentum in the months after the pandemic arrived.

“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.

One-to-one help

“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 by SSF in recent years include the Real Living Wage, which is independently calculated based on what people need to live on and is higher than the government minimum wage and national living wage.

Parental leave

SSF also has a Young People’s Council, family friendly policies offering working parents enhanced maternity and paternity leave, an aquaculture academy and management academy and a move to online learning, making training programmes more readily accessible, regardless of location.

There have also been new partnerships with the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) 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.

SSF said winning IIP involved a series of surveys and interviews. More than 90% of staff responded to the We Invest in Wellbeing questionnaire and 85% completed the We Invest in People survey, slightly up on three years ago.

Following the surveys, more than 70 interviews were conducted with selected employees, across all age ranges, over the phone and in person.

More to do

Bryant-Shaw said: “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.”

SSF, which recently agreed to buy Grieg Seafood’s UK assets, also has to integrate Grieg’s staff into the company “so they feel equally valued and empowered”, said Bryant-Shaw.