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Homebase: Q&A With Sam Culver, Director of People, Culture & Business Development

Homebase Bathstore 725

Homebase has published a Q&Q with Sam Culver, Director of People, Culture & Business Development - Sam Culver.

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Q: Tell us about your role at Homebase?

A: My role is all about our people, culture, and business development, making sure we are providing the very best for our customers and team members.

On the people and culture side, it’s about helping our team members develop, learn and grow – giving them everything they need to be even more brilliant than they already are! As the home and garden experts this includes anything from product knowledge and advice that can be shared with customers to important leadership and digital skills.

The business development part of my role focuses on building what the future looks like for us and I get to work closely with partners like The Hut Group on our digital transformation.

Q: What does a typical day look like?

A: My role is very diverse, and there isn’t a typical day, which always keeps it exciting.

The only part that remains the same is that I’m always working with team members in some way. With the world opening up again, I’m spending more time thinking about wellbeing and finding new ways to support team members.

Q: Tell us something that might surprise us about your day job?

A: The total variety of my role and opportunity to make a difference in so many ways. It’s as simple as that!

Q: What makes Homebase feel like a family?

A: We have a value of ‘together’ that’s really special – it feels incredibly natural.

It is so ingrained within our culture that we don’t have to encourage it. Our team have been through so much together, which is clear in the way they work day-to-day. Everyone is always so willing to get stuck in and help, and they always put our customers first. 

You can also see this with the amazing partners we work with and it's great to see how quickly they become part of our Homebase family.

Q: From the shopfloor to the leadership team, roles at Homebase are so varied. How do you develop team members across the entire business?

A: It’s a really exciting time at Homebase and we’ve got lots of great plans to help our team members grow. We are offering development to everyone, no matter the role or what their goals are. This means we can focus on building expertise in a specific area and grow skills that really benefit our team members.

From introducing a leadership development programme for stores and our Store Support Centre to funding places at business schools and further learning courses, we’re really proud to be able to invest in the Homebase family. 

Q: With many Homebase team members on the frontline throughout Covid-19, what challenges did you face with culture and engagement?

A: The safety of our team and customers has always been a top priority for us, so we took our responsibilities very seriously from the start. We followed the government guidance and listened very closely to team members about how they were feeling and what else they needed from us. It was invaluable as we learned what we needed to do more of or differently, so we could act quickly.

We launched a brand-new communication and learning platform which has helped us share information and chat as a team more regularly and easily. It means that each and every team member can come together and still feel the ‘Homebase spirit’ even when we can’t be together in person.

The past year has made us think more creatively about how we communicate. It also reaffirmed the important role any workplace plays – it should be a place for community and connection. As restrictions have slowly lifted, we’ve been able to spend more time together – whether it’s in stores with our customers, in our distribution centres or at Store Support Centre – and it’s made us value our time together even more.

Many of our passionate team members worked together to set up groups to help everyone stay connected – including a Strava group to get people active, bingo, team quizzes, competitions and a book club.

We’re so proud of how our team has worked through this challenging period and we really can’t thank them enough. 

Q: What are your top three priorities for the rest of the year ahead in your role at Homebase?

A: Keep listening to what customers and our team members are telling us – it’s how we learn and grow the business further.

Development is key. Our team members are our biggest asset and that that’s why we're committed to investing in their development. We’re proud of the externally accredited training we offer, which includes City & Guilds gardening and kitchen design qualifications, and are working on plenty of new opportunities.

Keep things simple, whilst having high ambitions. We don’t have time for jargon or to overcomplicate things. If we want to provide our customers with fantastic service, we need to be as straightforward as possible. We’re always looking for ways to do this, whether it’s new technology or simply the way we work together and talk to each other. 

Q: What do you see as the future of people and culture?

A: It’s clear that the speed at which businesses react to trends and changes in the world around us is more important than ever. Over the past year, we’ve had to simplify decisions and processes, empower our teams more than ever before, and adapt quickly to keep up with changing habits and situations. Balancing this pace with an understanding of the resources and environment people need to work effectively will be key. 

Q: What one word would describe your leadership style, and why is that important to you?

A: Can I get away with more than one? I’m firm but fair – I don’t shy away from a difficult conversation but being consistent and fair is very important to me.

Source : Homebase

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09 August 2021

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