17th September 2020
How construction consultancies can increase employee engagement in a new flexible working environment

Phil Smith, Associate Director at Rund comments on how the business is adapting and evolving its working practices to boost employee engagement.

“According to a recent study by recruitment specialist Hays, nearly half (49%) of companies in the construction and property sector have said they would change their flexible working policies because of the pandemic. The fact is that COVID-19 has, in many cases, given both employers and employees no choice but to adapt to a remote working environment, so it is now more important than ever for our industry to welcome new ways of working to help keep employees engaged.

“First and foremost, employers need to demonstrate ‘digital maturity’, and invest in new digital ways of working. For example, employers could introduce cloud-based programmes, or training sessions to help employees gain a better understanding of such systems. At Rund, Microsoft Teams is now our primary communications platform, so employees can receive sufficient face time both internally and with clients through high-quality video calls. We have also been developing our intranet into a central hub, helping improve internal communications and create a more collaborative environment. We have introduced Breathe, a new HR platform accessible through the intranet, which allows employees one channel to easily manage various elements such as their holiday leave, work objectives, training requests and location updates.

“In addition, flexible working can provide employees with several benefits including reduced commute times and more control over their hours of work, helping them build a better work/life balance. They can also demonstrate their adaptability to employers. Employers can facilitate this by allowing employees the freedom to choose their working environment – ultimately, building trust and confidence between both parties. As such, we have given all Rund employees the choice to either work remotely, or from our offices. Trust is one of the core foundations of our company’s success, and we want to demonstrate how much we value every employee by giving them options to suit their individual circumstances.

“Remote working may cause concerns around a lack of opportunities, such as training that would normally be undertaken in an office environment. To combat this, we are ensuring all employees still have access to the same development opportunities by adapting our training strategy. For example, since the introduction of more remote working practices, we have been continuing to help employees complete their Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) training so they can reach chartered surveyor status. The process normally takes two years, with regular support meetings held with a dedicated senior member at Rund to ensure milestones are met. All elements of the training are now online and have proven a resounding success so far. Our Managing Surveyor, Owen Evans, began his training in the programme’s physical format and then adapted to its virtual structure this year, successfully passing and becoming fully qualified as MRICS QS a few months ago.”

“It is encouraging to see many companies in our industry commit to new flexible working practices and it will continue to be a work in progress to adapt to these new circumstances. By remaining agile and adjusting accordingly to ensure employee engagement is sustained, we can seamlessly lead our industry into a long-term, flexible working environment.”

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