Reinforcing Culture to Support Growth at Seabrook
Employee Relations, Policy and Process Development, Compliance, Leadership Development
Seabrook is a one-of-a-kind Pacific beach resort town, offering families a variety of vacation rentals and recreational opportunities. A family-owned business with strong values, Seabrook is deeply committed to its surrounding community, frequently hosting charitable events at its beautiful facility and providing grants to a wide variety of local non-profits, such as the Green Lantern kids lunch program. Seabrook extends its charitable effort by allocating 1% of each property sale for this purpose, and encourages its employees to volunteer in the community as well.
Despite its scenic location on the Washington coast, the Seabrook team was finding it challenging to attract the level of HR talent they needed so far outside of a major city. They needed an experienced HR firm to provide ongoing support and prepare them for an ambitious next phase of expansion, which included ramping up hiring to build out the Town Centre, open a new inn, and add new recreation facilities, including a top-of-the-line mountain bike park.
Resourceful’s lead consultant primarily worked remotely, using Zoom video calls as much as possible to incorporate the face-to-face element. Because not all Seabrook employees had email, the Resourceful team made an extra effort to be reachable and available in a variety of ways, and at a variety of times, in order to meet the diverse employee needs.
Once a quarter, for three or four days, the project lead would work on-site at Seabrook, and then stay for the weekend with her kids. On the weekends, she would often take a bike and go visit with the housekeepers and the lawn crew to build relationships.
Throughout the engagement, the team worked to combat the idea that HR only cares if there’s a problem by going out of their way to acknowledge employees’ personal milestones, and by showing up just to hang out.
“HR is about relationships, and it’s absolutely possible to have remote relationships with people this day and age, especially with technology.”
It was important to Seabrook’s owner and founder to be very approachable to employees, but as the company grew, it was increasingly difficult to maintain consistency and fairness. Resourceful worked to ensure that employee concerns were handled consistently, from providing guidelines about background screening for new hires to instituting basic manager training and code of conduct training. The team created “how to” templates to help standardize processes, compliance, and adherence to a new employee guidebook.
Resourceful boosted morale by reorganizing departments that weren’t working well and establishing clear guidelines tailored to the unique needs of a service-oriented resort. The project lead coached teams and individuals alike on solving their own problems, healthy communication, follow-through, and accountability. Resourceful team member Kiersten Adams helped draft policies and deployed an employee survey as Seabrook’s HR needs ramped up.
The project lead was direct and consistent, and the work had a big impact. Employees would call to say “thank you” for following through and making a difference. Resourceful worked with managers to communicate the importance of delegation and understand how policy develops, so they could pass those skills on to their team members. They also created champions in the company by consistently sharing what HR does and how it can shape the culture of a company.
Our consultant acts like she is one of our employees; she feels like one of us. She comes across as engaged and taking ownership. The staff knows she is outside but it doesn’t strike them that way. When she is here, she is invested; I think it’s just the way she carries herself.”
Christophe Chabaud, General Manager, Seabrook
Resourceful worked closely with the Seabrook team for about 18 months to help them strengthen their foundation for their next phase of growth and hire their first full-time director of HR.