Our team

Employee Retention

Retaining positive and engaged people is a significant contributor to Shared Interest’s continued growth and success. The diagram below shows that 47% of the team have been with the organisation four years or less, 18% between five and nine years and 35% between 10 and 19 years.

The language skills of our colleagues and volunteers enable us to build relationships, gather content and communicate effectively with stakeholders worldwide.  In addition to English, our team consistently employ languages such as French, Spanish and Portuguese, as also demonstrated in the chart below.

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We calculate our training costs by taking the average salary band rate and multiplying it by the number of hours spent training. The majority of training our team undertook occurred online, and overall training costs decreased due to fewer professional and certified courses being undertaken. Both our Board and colleagues completed Insights training, which focuses on different working styles based on personality traits. Colleagues also engaged in valuable team building sessions during the year.  The recent recruitment of five new team members led to a slight increase in induction costs.  

To maintain and improve team knowledge, we have consistently offered a range of online training courses from external providers including KnowB4 and Skillcast.  Additionally, individual colleagues have actively pursued personal development and training opportunities including Portuguese language lessons, a Certificate of Volunteer Administration, Advanced Excel Formulas and Functions, Digital Marketing in Practice, Talking Carbon – Carbon Literacy training, participation in a Fundraising Convention and training on Impact Assessment and Measurement. 

Overall, our colleagues participated in 70 conferences and seminars, covering notable events like BIOFACH, WFTO Asia Fair Trade B2B Virtual Expo, Bank of England quarterly updates and CSAF and Aceli webinars

Benefits and Salary

Salaries are reviewed annually with the cost of living, individual performance, and a benchmarking exercise all part of the process. A comparison of the highest against the lowest UK salary remains at a ratio of 3.96 to 1. 

Shared Interest aims to provide job satisfaction by offering interesting and varied work combined with generous and flexible benefits as shown below.

Hybrid Working

Our hybrid working arrangements were successfully trialled and reviewed in November 2022.  The Senior Management Team (SMT) agreed to continue these arrangements, with flexibility to review and make adjustments in the interests of the organisation.  A newly implemented Hybrid Working Policy consolidates all of the arrangements.  Colleagues at the Newcastle office have the choice to work from home, the office or a blend of both, while overseas colleagues work fully remotely.  We consistently bring our colleagues together to maintain the organisational culture, boost morale and ensure the benefits of teamwork, communication and innovation.  

We retained our flexible working system while in the office for Newcastle-based colleagues, with the option to opt in or out of the scheme. This resulted in 43% choosing to opt in, while 57% opted out. In the competitive recruitment market, our hybrid working approach has been positively received by candidates, aligning with the expectation of flexible working options. This has proven advantageous in attracting talent.

Wellbeing, Social Events and Culture

We prioritise our team’s wellbeing with emails, covering wellbeing events, raising awareness and offering tips for general wellbeing. A wellness channel on Teams encourages colleagues to prioritise mental health and share wellbeing and mindfulness advice.  Our Health and Safety Committee produced a newsletter, focusing on understanding and managing stress, including strategies for wellbeing and remote working.

We have enhanced workplace safety by purchasing a defibrillator for the Newcastle office and providing training on its use.  Colleagues in the UK continue to benefit from the Aviva DigiCare+ Workplace app introduced in 2021, offering a range of services including an annual health check, digital GP and mental health and nutritional consultations. 

Our ’Coffee and Learn‘ sessions provide opportunities for continuous learning on various topics including learning about the Sustainable Development Goals with Jenny Foster from Bristol based Global Goals Centre, as well as hearing from UK based Fairtrade nut company, Liberation, a long-standing customer of Shared Interest.  Furthermore, our team have also been engaged in an online game called ‘Stop the bus’, which enables colleagues to enhance communication and encourage awareness of the different languages spoken by our team. Festive celebrations brought our regional teams together for a Christmas lunch and online activities. We also send colleagues and volunteers’ birthday cards, and celebratory messages via Zoom and email. 

One of the year’s standout moments was the heart-warming reunion with our overseas colleagues, for the first time since 2019.  This experience left a remarkably positive impact on all involved. It not only allowed for valuable face-to-face meetings and discussions in the Newcastle office but also provided an opportunity to foster connections with fellow team members, including those who have recently joined us.

Internal Communication

We utilise platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom for weekly one-to-one and team meetings, project collaboration and social interaction. Additionally, we host virtual monthly updates for the entire Shared Interest Team, as well as sessions, which focus on different teams within the organisation. This approach enables colleagues to understand how their role fits in achieving the overall goals of the organisation. Pictured below: our virtual 'Office Olympics' event hosted by Partnerships Manager Sally Seddon, in which colleagues compete in teams in a series of festive themed activities ranging from poetry to crafts.

Engagement Survey

Throughout this period, we have remained committed to fostering positive engagement among our colleagues.

In July 2023, we circulated online Engagement Survey gathering responses anonymously via the People Gauge online tool. A total of 34 colleagues out of 36 participated, resulting in a response rate of 94.4%, consistent with last year. 

While there have been fluctuations in engagement levels, it is particularly encouraging to see that 99.4% of respondents were either ‘engaged’ (44.2%) or ‘actively engaged’ (55.2%). This is a stark contrast to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2023 Report (Appendix 8), which found that nearly 77% of UK employees are disengaged from their job. It also reaffirms our ongoing dedication to maintaining a motivated and committed team.

The team was also asked to provide three words to describe what it is like to work at Shared Interest and the results create the word cloud below-right. The word size corresponds to frequency of use.

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