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Construction is a pretty competitive industry. High levels of competition are continuing to contribute to depleting profit margins across the industry, and a shortage of skilled workers is adding extra strain.
Another important consideration for any construction business is, of course, safety, which is a key focus across such an inherently dangerous industry.
No wonder, then, that employee engagement is so important when it comes to attracting the best fish in the sea, keeping them engaged in the business, and keeping them safe.
Many of these employees are deskless workers disconnected from the head office but, significantly, they’re also the people with unique insight into the business and its processes, best-placed for spotting opportunities to innovate and improve ways of working.
Listening to and implementing employee ideas can dramatically impact each of these industry concerns, and the following leading construction companies are paving the way.
With Balfour Beatty’s CEO-led ideas program, aptly named ‘My Contribution’, employees can share their ideas to improve the business via whichever means they’d like, ranging from traditional suggestion boxes to forms set up on tablets in depots.
One of the most successful channels used by Balfour Beatty has been Microsoft Yammer, a communications network already used at scale by workers across the business – including those on the frontline!
Did you know?
Balfour Beatty's 'My Contribution' campaign has been shortlisted for the 'Innovation in Employment' category at the Employee Engagement Awards 2019!
Like many construction companies, Balfour Beatty were already using Yammer to better connect the deskless workforce with those in the head office, and didn’t want to roll out ‘yet another app’ to capture ideas as a means of making it as easy as possible for everyone in the business to share and collaborate on their ideas.
Through their integration with Sideways 6’s integrated idea management system, employees can contribute their ideas without leaving Yammer and receive immediate feedback from an involved community.
This ideas campaign fundamentally sits at the intersection of value creation and employee engagement, identifying the marginal gains that exist within the business to drive margin improvement whilst also identifying opportunities to innovate from those who know the business best.
Together we are building a stronger business from the inside out. So, when it comes to identifying ways of improving our business, who better to ask than all our people?
-----Leo Quinn, CEO @ Balfour Beatty-----
Significantly, this campaign is also led and whole-heartedly backed by the company’s CEO, Leo Quinn.
As a shining example of a ‘Listening Leader’, Leo’s involvement in the campaign helps prove to the employees on the frontline that their leader values and listens to their Ideas. Just have a look at what Leo had to say on The Ideas Show Podcast:
Balfour Beatty have already saved £4m and 119,000 working hours, and they’re only just getting started. You can read more about their employee ideas campaign in the Construction Enquirer!
To listen to the full interview with Leo online or on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, visit 'The Ideas Show' at: www.theideasshow.com
Innovation is captured in the core vision and values of Bechtel, and it is widely regarded within the organization as everyone’s responsibility.
For this reason, harnessing innovative ideas from the workforce is a key part of their company strategy.
Bechtel are ‘innovating the construction site’ as part of their Project 2020 initiative, and a big part of that is the Future Fund which was created as an incubator for ideas within the company, and is seeking new and disruptive ideas from both inside and outside of the company.
We live in an increasingly competitive world, and Bechtel will continue to meet the needs of our customers by continuously developing the skills of our talented colleagues.
Brendan Bechtel, CEO @ Bechtel
The Future Fund finances the best ideas aimed at dramatically improving engineering and construction processes, quality, and safety.
Since the Fund’s inception, Bechtel employees have submitted more than 2,600 ideas, and over 500 of these ideas have progressed to the prototype stage.
Did you know?
Bechtel have already implemented a whopping 35 ideas spanning from big data and analytics to drones and autonomous vehicles!
Bouygues Construction is in a unique position when it comes to crowdsourcing employee ideas: As a company that is a leader in construction within itself, whilst also forming part of a larger diversified group, they are able to source ideas both from inside their own business and from the wider group.
A recent ‘intrapreneurship policy’, offering all employees (whatever their position or specialization) an opportunity to become intrapreneurs, is complemented by the construction business’ intrapreneurial program called NewValue. Employees who have come up with an innovative concept have the opportunity to develop their ideas and even take them to market.
Bouygues also runs regular innovation competitions aimed at strengthening their modern culture and encouraging idea contribution at all levels of the business. This is a group-wide initiative serving to reward the best inventions submitted by Group employees across all of their businesses.
Our experience shows that recognition is one of the best rewards for anyone brave enough to submit their ideas, and Bouygues are leading the way in how to best implement this.
Their ‘Innovation Competition’ has proved a massive success so far, and has demonstrated a commitment amongst employees for driving innovation – an essential attitude when it comes to meeting the challenges posed by the ongoing revolution of the construction sector.
A challenge open to all Bouygues’ employees was also managed through their internal social network last year – we can’t help but notice that capturing ideas through internal social networks seems to be a theme for leading construction companies!
Know any more innovative construction companies that should be on this list? Drop us a note at email@example.com and we'll add them!
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