Names not numbers

We employ over 3000 people at Willmott Dixon. And we believe everyone can make a difference. That’s because our businesses are small enough for managers to know individual team members and what they are capable of. At the same time, we try to be clear about the goals and standards we expect our people to meet.

Teams hold regular meetings in which discussion is encouraged and employees’ opinions are sought. Managers update them regularly on the Company’s position and future plans. And each year, we carry out a staff survey which, in 2013, demonstrated 75% staff satisfaction over a range of nearly 40 metrics.  We have won a number of awards for the quality of our workplace environment.

Supportive employer

Willmott Dixon aims to have employees who are challenged by, but content in their work.  We give everyone the opportunity to reach their career potential, growing talent and promoting from within wherever possible.

Professional qualifications are a requirement for all management-level employees and over 850 people have achieved them.  For our direct-labour workforce we expect everyone to hold a qualification showing they are qualified to do their job.  For some of our tradespeople this has been extended into multi-skill training allowing us to be more efficient and complete more jobs first time.

Our reputation and quality of our work relates directly to the abilities of our people so their on-going training is essential.  Our aim is to deliver training at a level that is 50% above the industry average.  2013 saw £2.25m invested in their development, with each employee receiving on average of 2.5 days' class-based training.  Courses can be taught in our dedicated training centre in Basingstoke or on individual company sites, and fall into the following categories:

  • IT Training
  • Technical Training
  • Health and Safety Training
  • Commercial Training
  • Management Development Training
  • Personal Development Training
  • Sustainability Training

You can view our full training list here.

To make sure all this is paying off, staff have regular performance and career development reviews and the managing director from each company gives a yearly presentation to the board on every member of staff's development, performance and potential.  We continually review our development and training programmes to make sure they make the grade.  We also invest seriously in the future, and have nearly 100 trainees in our management trainee scheme, around 3% of our staff.

We directly employ around 80 apprentices at any one time.  In addition, our Capital Works division works with our supply chain to provide additional apprenticeship opportunities.

Sustainability Training

We understand that it is our people who help to create sustainable buildings and as such need to understand all aspects of sustainable development.  We have developed a comprehensive, four-level training framework that covers strategically important areas of skills development for the Willmott Dixon business.

New employees are introduced to sustainability and what it means for Willmott Dixon as part of their Induction.

For general awareness training we have engaged the UK GBC STEP Introduction to the Built Environment course. 

To ensure all employees have the technical skills required to deliver sustainable buildings we developed self-assessment competency matrices.  Where any areas of development were identified, employees are required to undertake the training before their next personal development review.  All employees are required to undertake training in at least one area of sustainability each year.

At both levels three and four of our management development and leadership programme, trainees attend a two-day sustainability leadership training course.  The courses have been developed by Re-Thinking with content supplemented by modules from guest presenters, to include the latest developments from around the industry.  The well-rounded course ensures future senior managers are fully aware of the need to drive sustainable development through the business.  Over the past ten years more than 300 people have worked through the scheme and managers are required to complete the course within two years of becoming managers or joining the company.

For a number of years members of our executive teams have taken part in the UK GBC STEP Leadership Programme and the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership Business Sustainability Programme.  It is intended that at least two executives from Willmott Dixon will attend each of the programmes each year. 

Health and safety

We have a target of zero accidents on site and have developed a number of policies, training programmes and communication strategies to get our message across. These include campaigns to encourage safer sites, mandatory minimum qualifications for site workers in our supply chain and catchy advertising. We regularly review all policies to make sure they are working.

In 2012, our Health and Safety procedures were audited and monitored by the British Standards Institution and we were awarded the OHSAS 18001 certificate for our occupational health and safety management system.

We are constantly striving to improve our Health and Safety performance. Our “All Safe” campaign, launched in 2012, continues to promote awareness of health and safety issues.

Equality and diversity

We recognise the value of a workforce in which people from differing backgrounds are encouraged to offer fresh ideas experiences and perceptions. We are also a founder member of UKCG Equality and Diversity task group and have contributed fully to the work and commitments of this cross-industry group. Currently, 18.74% of our employees were female against a 13% industry average. Meanwhile, 6.24% of our employees were from a minority ethnic background versus 5% for the industry as a whole.  Our long-term aim is to have a workforce that is at least 50% better than the industry average on all key diversity measures.  Our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) charter details how our people are expected to treat each other: fairly and with dignity. 

Rewards and Benefits

In addition to competitive salaries, company car / car allowances and generous non-contractual bonus schemes, we offer lots of other benefits. These include corporately negotiated discounts, pension and life assurance schemes and health benefits. We also offer a range of other perks such as the bike4work cycle purchase scheme, health screening, gym membership and childcare vouchers. We believe this helps contribute to our low turnover rates.  

We have embedded sustainable development into bonus schemes for employees. The annual incentive scheme for managing directors is directly linked to employee bonuses and engagement. The overall bonus awarded to employees and level of satisfaction derived from an annual employee survey weight the level of payments achieved. The staff survey includes questions related to sustainable development.

Sustainable Living  

Encouraging the right choices
All new starters receive instruction in office sustainability, and each office completes and maintains an environmental plan, which identifies environmental impact and puts in place a mitigation plan. We regularly audit our offices to make sure that plans are being updated and actioned.
Recent improvements include assessing waste types generated in offices and implementing measures to increase recycling and reduce wastage. 
Each of our Local Company Offices (LCO) has a Sustainability Manager responsible for coordinating and implementing sustainability measures, and ensuring best practice.
We incentivise the use of alternative modes of transport for commuting and business travel. Our salary sacrifice Bike4work scheme increased its membership by 34 last year. We reimburse employees who commute and attend business meetings by bicycle. In 2012 10,100 business and commuting miles were cycled by staff rather than driven