Willmott Dixon

Constructing Excellence

Willmott Dixon’s internal strategy, Building on Better, is built around six key pillars. One of these is People, and focuses on the empowerment, engagement, development and recognition of its people, including quarterly focus indicators to measure their progress. This strategy was born in 2016 and provided a catalyst for the business to start thinking differently about why it does what it does and how can it improve. It gave the business a platform to start linking their employees’ wellbeing with a renewed customer focus.

The businesses focus on its people was recognised in 2019 when it came fourth in the UK in the Sunday Times’ Best Companies to Work For, and second in the Midlands.

Constructing Excellence

To do this the company:

  • overhauled its performance management processes
  • embarked on a two-year coaching programme to support senior managers
  • invested £2.5m in learning and development
  • was one of the first contractors to invest in a Mental Health First Aid programme and now one in four of its people in the Midlands are certified Mental Health First Aiders
  • introduced a toolbox talk, ‘All Safe Minds’, that our MHFAs deliver to our supply chain partners working on our sites to promote awareness of mental health and to encourage people to talk about mental health.
  • introduced a LifeBalance programme, which supported people mentally and physically to help people manage their wellbeing more effectively and become more resilient – over 100 people have benefited from this investment
  • focused on how it could attract the next generation into construction, as well as striving to achieve gender parity – every year in the Midlands we take on 10-15 management trainees; which currently has a 50/50 gender split
  • Supporting national industry drivers such as Inspire Me, Armed Forces Covenant and Open Doors.
  • instigated measurement tools to track employee satisfaction
  • Championing agile working methods so that wellbeing is at the heart of our business

We also actively promote and support our people to join or continue with professional bodies and accreditations – CIOB, IoIC, RICS. A number of our people are a coach or board member on these accreditations.

Through our long service programmes our teams are invited to develop wider personal skills. After completing 5years service each employee receives a personal learning fund of £750. This fund can be used for developing skills in anything. Previous funds have been allocated to photography courses, training to be a junior football coach, massage courses, sailing and learning sign language.

Key achievements

  • Positive business benefits have been received as a result of looking after people
  • Opportunities for people at whatever life stage is possible at Willmott Dixon.
  • People turnover has reduced to 7%