Respect for People Toolkits

What is Respect for People?

Recruiting and retaining talented people is the most urgent business challenge facing the construction industry. Constructing Excellence partners seek to achieve radical improvements in performance within the construction industry. Change and improvement will only happen through people and in particular the efforts of the workforce. Providing respect and the right conditions to support their endeavours are essential.

Ultimately, Respect for People is about showing respect to our workforce, while simultaneously winning respect from them and from the general public. The results will benefit everyone.

In this section you will find information from the Respect for People program and information on the broader themes of workforce engagement, benchmarking, equality and diversity, health and safety and working environment.

Respect for People “A Framework for Action” – Final Report

In May 1999 the then Construction Minister, challenged the industry radically to improve its performance on people issues. In response Rethinking Construction’s Movement for Innovation established a Working Group to examine the issues associated with people in the industry and in November 2000 published – A Commitment to People “Our Biggest Asset”. This report identified seven priorities for action:

  • Workplace Diversity;
  • Site Facilities and the site working environment;
  • Health;
  • Safety;
  • Career development and lifelong learning;
  • The off-site working environment;
  • Behavioural issues.

“Rethinking Construction” identified ‘Respect for People’ as one of five drivers for change. The Respect for People programme set out to demonstrate to industry and its clients that ‘people’ issues are fundamental to business success.

The final report – ‘Respect for People – A Framework for Action‘ – fulfils the commitment to people. It reports on the trial programme, examines the business benefits and makes recommendations for action. The revised toolkits, a series of case studies illustrating how the toolkits and People Performance Indicators have provided a benefit, and a cross-mapping document – ‘Reaching the Standard‘ – show how the toolkits also support the achievement of several key industry standards, which include:

  • The Clients Charter
  • Investors in People
  • Considerate Constructors Scheme
  • Business Excellence Model
  • ISO 9000-2000
  • Benchmark Index

The revised toolkits are available online by subscription, including instructions for use, most include a questionnaire and/or checklist depending on and scoring systems as a measuring tool for benchmarking performance. They address the six ‘action themes’:

Theme Toolkit
Equality and Diversity in the Workplace Equality and Diversity in the Workplace Toolkit
Working Environment Working in Occupied Premises Toolkit & Working Environment Toolkit
Health Health and Safety Toolkit
Safety Health and Safety Toolkit
Career Development and Lifelong Learning Training Plan Toolkit
Worker Satisfaction Worker Satisfaction Toolkit

The report puts forward a strong business case for action, which hinges on the ‘3 Rs’ – firms who fail to improve their attitude and performance towards respecting their own people and others will fail to recruit and retain the best talent and business partners. To improve performance, it is important to involve, engage and empower everyone in the process. Without this, profitability will not improve and business will not be won.

The Business Case

Constructing Excellence

An over-arching recommendation is that construction firms of all kinds and sizes should commit to achieving the standard of Investors in People.

Each year, Constructing Excellence publishes the Respect for People Key Performance Indicators which help organisations to measure and compare their performance against the rest of the UK construction industry and thus identify and prioritise areas for action. Once the priority areas have been recognised, the Respect for People Toolkits provide a more detailed evaluation and provide a focus for improvement action.

Respect for People Case Studies
Reaching the Standard
Respect for People – A Framework for Action
A Commitment to People “Our Biggest Asset”

Equality and Diversity in the Workplace

Construction needs to become more representative of the total labour available, to eliminate poor stereotypes and recruit and develop the best, most talented people

Equality and diversity are about acknowledging and appreciating all the ways in which people differ, not just the more obvious ones of gender, ethnicity, disability, and age, but also the less visible differences such as background, personality and work style.

Dealing with equality and diversity is a matter of good management and usually shows an active approach to health, safety, working environment and conditions. It is not a ‘bolt on extra’; it is the best indicator of management commitment to Respect for People.

This toolkit helps you to identify issues that need to be addressed and provides links to agencies and information that can help you respond to the challenge of managing equality and diversity. Anyone can use this toolkit but not all the questions will necessarily suit your circumstances.

Equality & Diversity is part of the Respect for People Toolkit and should be used with the complementary Worker Satisfaction and Working Environment toolkits in particular.

Work in Occupied Premises

This toolkit is useful anywhere that construction activity is taking place when residents are in occupation, although it was produced particularly with the housing, school and office refurbishment in mind.

Working where residents remain in occupation brings its own concerns and potential rewards. It can be the ‘shop window’ for the construction industry to show what it can do and how well its people are treated. Poor conditions and lack of consideration for the occupants, including bad behaviour or appearance, will reinforce negative stereotypes.

This toolkit covers specific areas that are ADDITIONAL to the other toolkits in the Respect for People suite. You will also find the following complementary toolkits especially helpful when working in occupied premises – Health and Safety, Working Environment and Training Plan.

Working Environment

The physical working environment has consistently been shown to have a major impact on productivity and an individual’s sense of ‘worth’. It has a major impact on retention, which affects performance in customer service and ability to develop effective teams.

Teams that stay together lead to better predictability in cost and time. The quality of working arrangements contributes to the public’s ‘image’ of construction as an occupation.

Managers’ perceptions frequently differ from those of their workforce and poor (often expensive) decisions are made as a consequence. This toolkit is designed for EVERYONE in the construction process, in both site and off-site environments.

The Working Environment Questionnaire is provided in the Workforce Satisfaction Toolkit as part of the Respect for People Toolkit. The toolkits are designed to be used together.

Health and Safety

Construction has one of the highest incidences of accidents and ill health of all sectors. Accidents and ill health cost. High-risk activities, poor training standards and inadequate safeguards all contribute. This toolkit has been designed to help raise awareness of project safety (a major consideration of construction activities) and seeks to address these in a simple way.

They accrue direct costs such as lost time, insurance premiums, compensation and possibly legislative action. But they also damage the image of the firm (and its client) affecting the potential for future work.

Health & Safety is part of the Respect for People Toolkit and should be used with the complementary Working Environment and Work in Occupied Premises Toolkits and the Respect for People Key Performance Indicators.

Training Plan

Training is an important aspect of Respect for People and contributes significantly to performance and retention. Recruitment experience has consistently shown that applicants have high expectations of career development when selecting a job or an employer.

This toolkit is adapted from the Construction Industry Training Board grant scheme model. (If you are eligible for CITB-CS grant, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that you use their more detailed version. For more information on CITB-CS grants, contact your local CITB-CS office – refer to Training Plan Help Sheet or for details).

This toolkit provides a good starting point. The questionnaire is an initial audit but subsequently something else should take its place. Good human resources practice requires you to keep and update appropriate records, including consideration of longer-term personal and business development needs.

Worker Satisfaction

Managers and the workforce often see things differently. As a result managers may take inappropriate actions while the issue of most concern to the workforce remains unresolved. This leads to dissatisfaction and the creation of a sense of ‘them and us’. Effective and regular review of satisfaction is now established as good practice to resolve this situation.

The Satisfaction Questionnaire provides a framework based on current best practice questions that you can use to survey the workforce anonymously. It has also been designed to collect the data necessary to benchmark ‘Employee Satisfaction’ against the Respect for People KPI – Employee Satisfaction. You must retain all the framework questions for benchmarking purposes.

This is part of the Respect for People Toolkit.