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Sarah Freeman

Managing Director and HR Director

Q: What does your job involve?

A: I’m the Managing Director at Cramond Residence. I’m also the HR manager for the home and for the other companies in the group. What does my job entail? It’s very varied. I work with all the heads of department, supporting them, and getting the right people in the right jobs at the right time. I also help manage staff training. This is designed to help people to reach their full potential.

I mainly work with staff, but I make sure that I get to know our residents. So, every day I go and greet them and introduce myself. We’ve got one of our management team on each of the floors of the Residence, and I’m actually on the first floor, which is dedicated to dementia care. So, I spend part of my day going around and chatting, asking people what they’re doing and what they’re up to, checking that everything is OK.

One of the things I prioritise is to make sure that everyone understands how important their role is, and that we’ve got to work together as one team, because that’s the only way we’re going to make a difference.

One of the things that I love about my role is that no two days are the same, so I really look forward to seeing what challenges each day will bring. Overall, my work is all about looking after people – residents and employees alike.

Q: What motivates you?

A: I know it sounds really cliched, but the main thing that motivates me is seeing our residents smiling and happy. It is very special, knowing that you’ve made even the smallest positive difference to their lives. This is particularly the case with people who are living with dementia – when you see their faces light up, that really is a big highlight.

One of the things that I was told very early on, and I’ve never forgotten, is that the Residence is home to all of the people who live here. I therefore respect it as their home. It’s not just my place of work, it’s much more important than that.

Of course, there are specific success stories that make a big impact. For example, one of our residents was told by his consultant that he’d never walk again. And now, thanks to the care he received from our physiotherapist, he’s walking, not just along the corridor, but up and down stairs. One of our care assistants, who hadn’t seen him for quite a while, burst into tears when she saw him walking.

Q: What makes the team at Cramond Residence special?

A: We have a great team here at Cramond Residence, and I enjoy working with each and every member of staff. They have a diverse range of talents, experience and expertise, which allows us to deliver the amazing level of service we are famous for.

Q: What is the focus of your staff training?

A: We’re currently investing significantly in the development of our staff, with a focus in the last 18 months on management skills. To do this, I’ve worked very closely with Edinburgh College. Management skills are important for all sorts of staff, including nurses because they’re managing the floors. We do all different types of training, including on-the-job training, e-learning, and internal and external courses. I can honestly say that every single member of the management team, myself included, is focused on the upskilling so that we can give the best service to our residents.

Q: Would you recommend Cramond Residence to a friend?

A: I would recommend Cramond because of the staff. While we offer the most beautiful, luxurious surroundings, at the end of the day it’s the care that matters. That’s the most important thing. And I believe that all of our staff are here for the right reasons – because they want to care, no matter what role they do within the company.

Q: What experience do you bring to your job?

A: Before taking up my post at Cramond Residence, I was group HR manager for Cramond’s parent company, which is James Walker Leith, and I actually still carry out HR duties with other companies in the group. Before that I work with companies such as Diageo and Heineken. I’m qualified with the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, and I have a university degree in occupational psychology.

Q: What do you do outside of work?

A: I love socialising. I’m a big friends and family person and I’m a massive foodie. I love all types of food and I like trying new cuisines.