VolkerWessels UK’s sustainability framework is leading the way in the industry. Here we discuss how Thrive were involved.
VolkerWessels UK is a leading multidisciplinary contractor that delivers innovative engineering solutions across the civil engineering and construction sectors, including rail, highways, airports, marine, defence, energy, water, and environmental infrastructure.
VolkerWessels UK is leading the way, by combining CSR and social value activities into an overall community and sustainability focus, which is embedded in its operational delivery model. The business’ programme is ambitious – and highly impressive – with many elements that other contractors can learn from to successfully implement or enhance their own community programmes.
People – Planet – Purpose
Emma Ward is Head of Sustainability and Inclusion at VolkerWessels UK. Emma explains how the People-Planet-Purpose sustainability framework underpins everything the business does, and how Thrive was key to the delivery and measurement of this exciting initiative.
People-Planet-Purpose takes bold action to balance the needs of the environment and society, alongside the growth of the business. It makes the commitment that 2020-2030 will be the ‘Decade of Action’ for VolkerWessels UK. Each of the People-Planet-Purpose pillars has three ‘themes’, and a total of 23 high-level metrics, which allow us to measure and monitor performance. Areas of focus include education and employability, circular economy, sustainable procurement, and community engagement, amongst others
Having this robust and flexible approach, which is centred around the firm belief that we can trust our employees to be the drivers of change, is bringing sustainability to life across the business. The next step was to be able to capture and showcase our achievements to inspire more people along our journey.
To read more about People-Planet-Purpose, please visit VolkerWessels UK
Why did they need Thrive?
In the past, VolkerWessels UK had used a mixture of online tools, spreadsheets and emails, to log and track the work the business was doing around CSR and sustainability. However, due to the size of the business, and the complexity of the various components, cohesion was a struggle and some of the work being done across the business was being under reported, or worse, not captured at all. A lack of a centralised hub for information meant that there was no easy way to capture the great work that was being delivered, making reporting a challenge.
Now, more than ever, the way VolkerWessels UK was engaging with communities was critical to ensure People-Planet-Purpose was a success. To do this, the business needed a way of capturing the progress it was making, in a transparent and simplistic way.
What did VolkerWessels UK need?
The brief was four-fold. The business needed to:
- capture its community engagement activities;
- monitor its sustainability commitments;
- provide a way for schools to request support or for students to request work placement options, and
- promote volunteering opportunities to its employees.
The Thrive team worked closely with VolkerWessels UK to establish a centralised in-house portal, to keep things simple and streamlined, and all in one place. As Emma explains;
“Thrive’s software meant we could overcome data collection bottlenecks, by engaging with employees across the whole business. The reporting features have been pivotal in us being able to share our progress, and further drive engagement internally, with our supply chain, and with our clients.”
Application management system
VolkerWessels UK has a long-standing programme of community engagement through schools with many of its employees contributing a significant amount of time through mentoring, industry talks, coaching, etc. The volume of enquiries for this is high across the country, and so the business now uses the Thrive education module, hosted on its own website, where schools can simply complete an online form to request support from the business. They then manage the requests centrally, enabling all parts of the business to review the level of support they are able to provide, and then match them with the appropriate people, based on type of request and geography.
Volunteering management system
Volunteering, helping, and being active in local communities is core to everything VolkerWessels UK does, with all employees entitled to take volunteering leave. Through the Thrive platform, employees can see what volunteering options are available to them across all 500 sites around the UK, and locally, and apply for them. The platform then automatically manages their attendance and records the impact made, not only through the eyes of the employee, but also for the beneficiaries of the volunteering time.
Social value module
The final piece is the ability to use the social value module to capture and track the social value activities at all of VolkerWessels UK’s projects – as well as those undertaken centrally by head office employees. By tracking all the business’ social value commitments, they become transparent for employees, stakeholders and clients to see. It gives standards by which the business can benchmark its work and provides targets for year-after-year improvement. And, by reporting this clearly and consistently, VolkerWessels UK can see the associated social value of its activities, generate reports, and share best practice within the business.
The ability to report the progress being made towards targets the business has set is key to ensuring ongoing engagement, trust and success in the People-Planet-Purpose framework.
Data can flow easily between each system, to create a consolidated view of all the activity VolkerWessels UK is undertaking.
VolkerWessels UK has a wide-reaching community investment and social impact strategy. This spans more than just activities that happen ‘on site’ as part of a standard construction project. The business takes a holistic view of how to track and maximise impact in the communities it serves. This is directly in line with the way that Thrive operates, allowing businesses like VolkerWessels UK to manage all their community investment, and impact generating activities, in one place, not just gathering data and reporting on it.
If you would like to learn more about how Thrive can help your business, please get in touch today.