ECI hosts annual People and Talent Forum

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Companies at the ECI People and Talent forum (logos)

Last week ECI hosted our annual People and Talent forum, bringing together HR Directors and Managers from across our portfolio. Our experience partnering with high growth businesses has shown us time and again that the key to growth in any business is people. Having the right business strategy is crucial, but recognising your people requirements, recruiting the right individuals and managing them well under a shared vision, purpose and culture is the best way to execute that strategy.

Over the past two years ECI have been building on our People Toolkit and this was a great opportunity for us to highlight some of the developments and, more importantly, give the attendees an opportunity to share their challenges and network with one another.

The day started with a round table discussion for attendees to voice recent successes and challenges – it was surprising how much commonality there was:

  • Successes included maintaining low staff turnover, embedding wellness within the workplace and achieving very high employee engagement scores.
  • Common challenges stressed focused on maintaining core company values whilst scaling rapidly as well as employee retention and creating strong learning & development programs.

The key message that stood out from the afternoon was “People, Strategy and Execution”; it isn’t all a numbers-based strategy, a big part of the growth puzzle is people.

Jacqui Humphreys, Group People Director at Shop Direct presented to the group about transforming the company from a legacy to a modern digital retailer. She highlighted that any organisation with ambition, courage and great people will succeed. For her, it was important that the business had a clear focus and vision for the people within it, and as part of the transformation process, they focused on doing only five things really well. She highlighted the importance of having a well thought out and researched set of company values and purpose statement which are embedded within the business. Their talent system helped to drive efficiency within the business, and through people forums employees now have a voice for change. She also highlighted the importance of peer to peer recognition, having implemented the Shine tool within Shop Direct.


Jane Chesters from Orion Partners ran a workshop on how to link People and Business Strategies and assess current vs required HR capabilities. On this she said, “People strategy is business strategy; they’re not two separate things.”

At ECI we are continuing to develop our ability to support the portfolio in this area, which we consider to be a vital component to the growth strategy. We look forward to continuing to work with our current portfolio and our future investments in growth businesses with strong cultures and people practices.

“I think Jacqui was inspiring and it was a brilliant opportunity to get off the dance floor and get up onto the balcony. An opportunity to reflect rather than being caught up in all the movement.”

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