Why did you enter the Investors in People 2023 Awards?
To remind ourselves of the work we have been doing over the last 18 months towards building a better team, a more rewarding environment for the work that we do, and a more effective business. It’s so easy to become focused exclusively ‘on the numbers’ in a way that’s blinkered to the effect the right culture has on our ability to achieve financial targets.
Entering the IIP awards means giving headlines to and celebrating our culture and the gains we’ve made in this direction. Expressing our journey as an award submission really crystalised the power of what we’ve done and the decisions we’ve made on the journey.
What has it meant to you, your team and your organisation to be shortlisted for an Investors in People 2023 Award?
IIP is such a well-established and prestigious organisation that to be nominated is a fantastic validation for us. We started our IIP application in Spring 2022 looking for ways to recognise and reinforce the growth we’ve achieved in the last few years. We wanted to add status to that achievement, emphasising our employees’ contribution, in a way that others would recognise.
We were thrilled with our Silver Award and so to be nominated for an award at this stage is really fantastic. We can see the calibre of the other organisations who have been nominated and we’re really proud to be associated with them at this event.
We thoroughly enjoyed working with our IIP assessor. During our assessment process, talking to him was incredibly informative. We felt like the brain of our organisation had been x-rayed because we were so well observed and understood.
The work we did was so enlightening in educating us about how other businesses work when faced with similar challenges to our own. It also helped to talk through our challenges – personally, individually, and as a company.
We certainly felt acknowledged and understood, and the whole experience helped us to put what we’ve been doing into a process of sorts: thinking about what we already do that we like and that works, recognising that, and using it as a building block to more.
Since achieving the Silver award we’ve had a challenging year. Trading conditions continue to be difficult – we lost the fuel rebate at the same time as fuel prices went through the roof, doubling our annual fuel bill. Some house builders are looking for a new way to pass on their cost increases… suppliers are doing multiple price reviews per year, all this alongside the usual construction industry issues and difficulty recruiting skilled labour and increase in corporation tax, and it is easy to see the power of the successes we are achieving in this climate.
Being shortlisted is a very real way of giving thanks and a sense of achievement to all those who have been involved; from those who took part in the working groups, to those who have been honest and enthusiastic about working on ideas and processes (with titles like ‘values’, often a corporate buzz word without any meaning behind it).
For us, it meant how we talk to each other, how we respond to feedback or criticism, what contact we put into our social media and email, what we recognise in our staff achievement and how we are rewarding it.
We’ve had so many positive contributions from individuals on this journey and this is a brilliant way to celebrate that.
What would it mean to your organisation to win an Investors in People 2023 Award?
The construction industry has a reputation for being resistant to change and sometimes even for being full of outdated practices or stereotyped characters. We believe that an award would go a long way to showing that the industry isn’t all like that. Today, construction is like most other industries with plenty of diversity, lots of women in jobs that were previously male, and all of that is embraced straightforwardly with little, if any, difficulty. We’d love to be able to underline that with an award that shows how the industry has modernised and evolved.
The whole industry has supported charities to provide front-line workers with mental health services and help. At Mostrim our site teams talk to each other comfortably, knowing there is no stigma attached. Over the last year, we’ve had conversations about alcohol, drugs, money, fuel, COVID-19, the cost of living, co-parenting, bereavement, back operations, mortgages, and more. We’ve even had a conversation about how we’d spend a million pounds when someone on-site won the lottery… and yes, they’re still working.
Winning would be a great celebration of the changes that we’ve achieved and a demonstration that it is entirely possible to challenge the stereotypes, in an industry that has modernised swiftly.
How important is it for your organisation to be a part of the Investors in People community and engage in awards and events like this one?
It’s important for us because it’s so visual. Work on living our values is different from site work– you can see a road when it’s constructed, and you can take photographs of houses taking shape. You can count your percentage return on a project.
Those tangible things get recognized because they’re easier to see – this is the equivalent of our culture: it provides a visible, tangible way to show how much we enjoy working together, and the distance we’ve traveled as a team.
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