Wates Group is one of the UK’s largest, private, family-owned construction, development and property services companies, employing around 4,000 people. In 2016 they made a bold commitment to safety, launching a strategy to reach a sustainable Zero Harm working environment by 2020. Their ambition was to take an already excellent record on health and safety to new heights by creating a culture where accidents and workplace-induced illness are regarded as preventable and unacceptable, not a fact of life.
Recognising that this is everyone’s responsibility, Wates launched the We’re Safer Together - Lead the Change! leadership programme to drive a fundamental shift in culture, attitudes and behaviours. Working in close partnership with consultancy, Lane4, they created a transformational learning programme to empower and equip their leaders to drive the ‘We’re Safer Together’ culture change across the business. The programme offers a unique, carefully designed blend of leadership development with a clear focus on safety, equipping leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to lead change. This has been aligned with an engaging communications campaign to help cascade behaviour change through the business.
A transformational impact
By April 2018, 513 Wates leaders had successfully completed the programme with the following results:
- The ‘lost time injury rate’ dropped from 1 in 4 workers experiencing an accident resulting in lost time during their working life to 1 in 13
- To date, accidents relating to falling objects have reduced by 30% and accidents relating to cranes and lifting by over 55% since the commencement of the programme rollout
- The next tier of management, around 850 managers, is set to embark on ‘We’re Safer Together – Drive the Change!’ a bespoke one-day workshop.
“We’re incredibly proud to have received this recognition for our We’re Safer Together - Lead the Change programme. It has helped us achieve what is currently the industry’s leading performance in safety.
Working with Lane4, we have implemented a leadership programme with a clear focus on safety, helping us shift the culture from safety being ‘not my problem’ to being everyone’s opportunity’.
The programme remains pivotal in embedding the right behaviours, at every level throughout our organisation,so that our people have the confidence to challenge; to stop works when things don’t look or feel right; to innovate; and to seek the solutions to put things right. Only by truly empowering our people to do this, will we achieve Zero Harm.”
John Dunne, Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Director, Wates Group
“We’re absolutely delighted that We’re Safer Together – Lead the Change! has received this recognition. A leadership programme can have no higher purpose than saving lives and eliminating injuries and it’s fantastic to hear of the measurable impact it is already having on safety. I’ve been really impressed to see the commitment across the whole Wates’ business to their Zero Harm Strategy.”
Adrian Moorhouse Managing Director, Lane4
“Excellence Award winners personify innovation that drives business results. Our winners embrace the future and embrace change and the challenges that go with it. It is amazing in reviewing these entries how organizations – both large and small – work across functions to make human capital management a valuable asset the enables business success.”
Rachel Cooke, Chief Operating Officer of Brandon Hall Group and Head of the awards program
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About Wates Group
The Wates Group, established in 1897, is one of the leading privately-owned construction, development and property services businesses in the UK. It employs approximately 4,000 people and generated turnover of £1.62bn in 2017. Wates was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development for the second time in 2016, and was named Construction News’ Contractor of the Year in 2017. Wates was the first large contractor ever to be awarded Business in the Community's Community Mark and in 2013 was awarded the inaugural National Business Award for Corporate Citizenship in recognition of its leadership and excellence in community investment. In 2017 Wates was named Organisation of the Year at the inaugural UK Social Mobility Awards. Wates is committed to the long-term future of the built environment and to leaving a positive legacy for the communities in which we work and live. Wates is an Investors in People Gold accredited organisation.
About Brandon Hall Group
Brandon Hall Group is a HCM research and advisory services firm that provides insights around key performance areas, including Learning and Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Talent Acquisition, and HR/Workforce Management.