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Why Communication at Seacoast Bank makes it one of the Best Places to work 

By Ryan Walsh  

This article is the June installment of a monthly column that explores what it means to be one of The Best Places to Work.  

It is good to talk things out.  

Open and clear communication is a hallmark trait of any successful company. Practices like weekly one-on-ones, regular employee evaluations, open-door policies and skip-level meetings with leadership are more and more common in modern workplaces. 

Greater Gainesville’s Best Places to Work are no different. 

Seacoast Bank’s 77 locations and its roster of hundreds of employees requires top-notch communication to operate effectively. With a dedication to open dialogue, combined with unique approaches to ensuring it flourishes, Seacoast has become one of Greater Gainesville’s Best Places to Work.  

Opening the Vault 

In addition to opening checking accounts, savings accounts and mortgages, Seacoast Bank also specializes in opening lines of communication.  

This Best Place to Work designee heavily incorporates open communication practices designed to empower their employees and increase productivity.  

VP and HR Manager Olivia Kirchman sees firsthand the effects Seacoast’s culture of communication has on the workplace.  

“It’s about creating opportunities for our associates to provide feedback,” Kirchman said. “One of the ways we do that is through our annual engagement survey.” 

In past years, the results of this survey have won Seacoast prestigious awards, including the Fortune Best Workplaces for Women award and a Best Bank, In-State Bank recognition by Forbes Magazine. Most recently, the company scored an 85% engagement score on the survey, placing them a whopping eight points above the banking industry average. 

Talking Back 

The bank, which has locations in Gainesville and throughout Florida, has grown steadily over the past several years. A mission to stay engaged with employees across the state has led to some creative solutions.  

“We have seven different regions with cross-functional leaders,” Kirchman said. “Instead of communication being line-of-business specific, we have the whole market acting as one team.” 

Twice a year, Seacoast puts on large town hall events where executive leadership travels across the state, visiting several locations in each region. This roadshow-style event gives branch associates valued facetime with leadership, including Q&A sessions and award presentations. The Gainesville team held theirs at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium’s Holloway Touchdown Terrace.  

“You can feel it in the room. There was a lot of cheering, a lot of energy and a lot of celebration at those town hall events, both in Gainesville and across the state,” Kirchman said.  

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When it comes to interactions between managers and “their directs,” Seacoast takes the stance that there is no such thing as over-communicating.  

Both midyear and end-of-year evaluations give associates a more complete view of where they stand throughout the year. With quantifiable metrics attached, these conversations can be standardized across the organization.  

“We want to make it easy for our associates and managers to not only have these kinds of conversations, but the right kinds as well,” Kirchman said. “We want them to be valuable and meaningful.” 

Stronger Together 

Seacoast proudly promotes their Associate Resource Groups, which offer employees a chance to find community and build stronger internal bonds.  

Groups include ones for women, military support, Hispanic, Black and LGBTQ+ employees, although all are open to every associate of Seacoast. These groups host development opportunities, mentorships and other events for employees across the company.  

Seacoast Bank knows how much its people matter. Text alerts regarding extreme weather are sent out to ensure employee safety, and even request an employee response to ensure they are okay.  

When it comes to effective communication, Seacoast Bank is not just all talk. Its reliance on employee feedback to power continuous improvement makes this company more than worthy of being a Best Place to Work.  

This article is the June installment of a monthly column that explores what it means to be one of The Best Places to Work. 

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