eShopWorld - Engaging with Local Communities

eShopWorld began supporting the DCU Access Programme in 2019, and has subsequently become a partner of the DCU Access to the Workplace programme. In this piece, Sharon Scally, Head of HR at eShopWorld, speaks about eShopWorld’s commitment to their local community and their first years’ experience of hosting a student placement as part of the DCU Access to the Workplace programme during the Covid-19 crisis.

eShopWorld is coming to the end of the first of four years supporting the DCU Access Programme – how did you first hear of the programme and what inspired you to support it?

We first became aware of the programme through the DCU Educational Trust Director of Development, Jason Sherlock. As a company based in north county Dublin, we wanted to give back to our local community and engage more directly with DCU, the primary university within our local community. We were already involved in the DCU INTRA programme, but the DCU Access Programme and the DCU Access to the Workplace programme allows us to provide financial support and work experience to students to allow them to gain access to opportunities from which they can grow and develop.

Engaging with and impacting on the local community is a key focus of eShopWorld’s corporate social responsibility strategy. What motivates your staff to give back to local communities and the causes you support?

At eShopWorld, we all recognise the importance of being actively involved in the local communities in which we operate. This applies to all of our global locations. Here in Dublin, we participate in a wide variety of initiatives with engagement across all levels of the organisation. Our employees are particularly keen to support initiatives which allows them to share their technical knowledge, experience and time at the local level – this ranges from supporting the Teen Turn Programme that promotes STEM here in Ireland, to running events for local primary schools teaching the fundamentals of cyber and privacy awareness and participating in beach clean-ups.

As the Covid-19 pandemic has moved multiple aspects of our daily lives online, what has this meant for eShopWorld and how do you envisage digital businesses evolving over the next few years?

From an operational perspective, all of our teams have been working remotely since March. Our employees have adapted well and our productivity has not been impacted to any significant degree. As a technology business, and one that is already distributed around the globe, we are well accustomed to operating digitally, utilising many different communications and team working tools, so the transition has been relatively seamless.

From a business perspective, we have seen a period of rapid growth. The pandemic has seen a swift acceleration in the adoption of ecommerce as the preferred shopping channel. As an ecommerce company, we’ve been working hard with our clients to ensure that they can meet the global demand for their products. In terms of the switch from physical to digital channels, it has been suggested that we have seen ten years’ worth of evolution in just two months. Looking forward, we don’t envisage this changing back to how things once were, so it’s a busy and exciting time for the company.

As part of your commitment to supporting DCU Access students, you have agreed to offer summer work placement to students through DCU’s Access to the Workplace programme this year. Like many other things in 2020, this placement was a virtual one – how did you find this experience?

Adam, our Access to the Workplace student, completed his work experience in eShopWorld this summer on the finance team. Although the whole company is currently working remotely, the experience worked very well for us. Adam settled into this role extremely well and engaged enthusiastically with the rest of the team. Unfortunately, not being in the office has meant that Adam missed out on engaging with other students who were in our teams as well as the social element of working in an office environment. However, Adam will continue to work with us part-time when he is back at college, so hopefully he’ll soon have the opportunity when our offices are open again! Altogether, we were really pleased with this year’s placement and we look forward to expanding on our engagement with the Access to the Workplace programme next year.