Names not numbers
We employ around 2,800 people at Willmott Dixon. But 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 2010, demonstrated 74% staff satisfaction over a range of more than 40 metrics. Staff contentment shows up elsewhere, too: last year, each person took less an average of only 4.5 days off a year due to sickness. We have won a number of awards for the quality of our workplace environment.
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. 2011 saw £2.2m invested in their development, equivalent to £792 over three days training for every employee (compared to the UK average of £360 or two days per employee). Our staff turnover was 9%, lower than our benchmark level of 10%, but slightly up on 2010. Courses can be taught in our dedicated training centre in Basingstoke or on individual company sites, and fall into the following categories:
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 108 trainees in our management trainee scheme, around 4% of our staff.
In our Support Services division we directly employ a total of 41 apprentices with 21 recruited in 2010 and a further 17 during 2011. Apprentices make up around 5% of our trades people. In our Capital Works division we work with our supply chain to provide apprenticeship opportunities, and are engaged with approximately 200 apprentices across our projects.
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 at our Group Induction, which is attended by all new employees at our head office in Letchworth.
For general awareness training we have engaged the UK GBC STEP Introduction to the Built Environment course. By the end of 2012 all directors, senior managers and our sales and marketing teams will have undertaken this 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. To help aid awareness of our values and standards, March 2012 saw the launch of the “All Safe” campaign.
Treating people fairly
We recognise the value of a workforce in which people from differing backgrounds are encouraged to offer fresh ideas experiences and perceptions. Last year, 19.4% of our employees were female against an 14% industry average. Meanwhile, 8.6% of our employees were from a minority ethnic background versus 4% for the industry as a whole. (Equality and Diversity Statistics 2011). Our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) charter details how our people are expected to treat each other: fairly and with dignity.
By 2014, we are aiming for: a workforce profile 50% higher than the industry average on key diversity measures (such as gender and ethnicity) and to achieve a better than 85% staff satisfaction rating on our EDI policies. We are also looking at external auditing.
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. In 2011 employee’s bonus payments can be increased by up to 20% as a result of performance against a set of ten project sustainability indicators.
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.