Secondee Interview: Rob Bridges of Boots UK 



This secondee interview is with the fabulous Rob Bridges who joined us from Boots this year. Sadly his secondment has come to an end with Engage for Success, but you can hear all about his experience as a secondee here:

  • How did you hear about the EfS secondment and what attracted you to taking up this post?

Boots has supported Engage for Success since the beginning and my Head of Department was looking for a secondee. At first I was a little unsure; my background has historically been in learning & development so I wasn’t sure how much I could bring to the table. I had a great conversation with David MacLeod over the Christmas break last year and that reassured me.

EFS are much more interested in your energy, passion and enthusiasm than your technical skills. We talked about what I might do in my role and I had good idea of what the options could be. I knew that I wanted to be involved. The ambition of the EFS movement to raise the profile of employee engagement and the size of the potential audience was a chance to be part of something very exciting.

  • What did your remit include during your secondment? What was your highlight? Fondest memory?

My time at Engage for Success was focused on internal and external comms which meant I was handling a variety of different types of enquiries and providing lots of different content. From the regular ‘Engagement Matters’ newsletter to providing a viewpoint on behalf of the EfS movement and working on the communications strategy there was a really wide range of things that the role required. Personally I found the most satisfying work was that when I was able to take a more creative approach, which given the way that EfS works was almost always!

  • What have you personally gained and/or how have you grown as a result of this secondment?

Personally, I’ve gained a lot of insight into how my preferred ways of working can really support an organisation; where and how I can bring my strengths to bear in a positive way. The secondment has given me the self-belief to know that why and how I do things can add much more value and encouraged me to think long and hard about the type of role I wanted to do and how I could find new and different ways to work

  • Tell us about your experience of stepping out of your day job to join EfS. How did you manage this new situation of being involved in two organisations (EfS and Boots)?

Coming from a large organisation it was a big shift in thinking to be part of a very small team. At my very first meeting of the core team people were asking my opinion, listening to my ideas and making me part of the team from the off. There is no hierarchy at all in the core team, to the extent that it took me a couple of months before I found out that David and Nita had both received OBEs for their work in the engagement field!

As a full time secondee I was lucky enough to be able to give my undivided attention to Engage for Success. What was key was making connections back to the business, so knowing what major activity Boots was looking into and finding the links to either other people/organisations or to the work of the sub groups and special interest groups ensured that I was adding value to the business. Since coming back in to Boots I’ve found that case studies, particularly, have been really useful to share with the rest of the colleague engagement team here.

  • What pearls of wisdom would you like to give to others who are considering doing a secondment at EfS?

You get two main things from a secondment with EfS. On the one hand you develop yourself and learn new things. On the other you have an opportunity to bring the best of you to the team. Be that technical excellence, passion, creativity, energy and enthusiasm or you have an academic background

Please do get in touch if you are interested in finding out more about joining us as a secondee or indeed as a volunteer!

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