Behavioural Safety Manager, Sam Taylor, discusses why Keltbray’s Workforce and Behavioural Engagement project is making such an impact.
Even more so than construction as a whole, demolition has a reputation as a conservative industry, so when a new idea gains a foothold it’s both a cause for celebration and a sure-fire sign that it’s earned attention the hard way. For Keltbray, the Workforce and Behavioural Engagement (WEBE) project, still only three years in, has been a fertile breeding ground for new approaches and innovations within the standard formula, and word is now starting to spread.
WEBE began in November 2014 at BBC Television Centre, when Lavinia Toma and I decided to pull out the stops and run the best and most innovative project we possibly could, firstly by instituting systems to recognise exceptional work and attempting to standardise the process by which information was communicated on site. Soon, it became clear that the morning briefings were drawing attention from other contractors, and attitudes towards work and recognition were starting to change.
Putting the Plan Together
After seeing the positive changes at Television Centre, Keltbray directors Holly Price and Paul Deacy decided to give us the chance to expand our innovations across more sites, and the WEBE department was born. The first priority was to open up lines of communication with the guys on site, taking round a survey that asked for their experiences working for Keltbray.
Recognising ideas and giving feedback scored badly on the survey so we wanted to find a way to fix that. That was done by revamping the suggestion card system and creating the “You Said; We Did” boards, so that people could see that their suggestions were being translated into genuine improvements. Focus group testing of PPE became routine, resulting in more enthusiastic usage, and our Behavioural Awareness programme has made working on site much safer. To some extent, these are common-sense innovations, and relatively simple to enact, but to WEBE it’s all part of a grander scheme to change the way Keltbray relates to its employees. It’s been very well received by the guys and they come out of the sessions wanting to work on their procedures. As well as improved morale and clearer lines of communication, WEBE has started to notice that potential issues are flagged up much earlier on, allowing for timely responses.
The Word Spreads
With a project like WEBE, there’s always a danger that the positive impact – which tends to be holistic and systemic rather than directly financial – gets overlooked, but Lavinia and I realise that we’ve been very lucky with the support and feedback we’ve received. Keltbray’s been great at supporting us. They’re continuing to invest, allowing us to recruit more people for the team. I think the directors and the board have shown that they really believe in this programme.
Outside Keltbray, other industry players have taken an interest, and WEBE is continuing to provide its expertise to new companies. Several large scale organisations have recently joined the list of external clients who have committed to rolling out Behavioural Awareness. The testimonials have been great and we’ve been fortunate enough to receive a raft of positive feedback from main contractors and clients with several stating that other contractors should try and emulate what WEBE has been doing at Keltbray. It really backs up our belief that it’s beneficial and saleable on an open market. The last year or so has seen momentum and buy–in increase markedly, several official acceptances have been achieved that fully endorse the Behavioural Awareness programme.
Although the feedback has been excellent, we are keen not to let the pace of development slip. Our innovation and contemporary methods are the things that distinguish us and make us unique. The obvious positive shift in people’s attitudes provides us with an ongoing source of motivation, driving forward best practice and providing a relevant and current support service to all of our clients.
Augmented and virtual reality are exciting new avenues that are being explored, potentially creating even higher levels of interaction, ensuring WEBE stays more than a step ahead of the competition. Currently, we are working hard to meet an ever growing demand for our established programmes and also making plans to expand the function allowing further R&D and increased scope. Recruiting additional team members will form part of our natural development, but our priority is, and will always be, to ensure the highest level of service and support for our employees.