Working through the pandemic - driving an inclusive and flexible future for our business

14 June 2021
Image of a man drawing a line with a ruler at a deck.
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As we look ahead, it really is clear that the last 12 months has truly been a year like no other. Almost overnight all 1,800 employees within our Consulting business switched seamlessly to homeworking and began to face the daily juggle of work and homelife. The resilience of our people and their continued ability to outperform expectations and deliver the new ways of working through the pandemic has driven a new future for our business. It has also taught us some valuable lessons.

One size doesn’t fit all

We quickly adapted meetings to a new virtual environment, shared hints and tips and found ourselves being introduced to various partners, pets and children as we all navigated a new normal.  Virtual coffee times and regular check ins commenced quickly so we could all keep a regular momentum of social interaction.  As a fairly traditional office-based business this was a significant change, one I am proud to see be so successful a year on.  Our future office provision and a ‘post Covid-19 bounceback’ was high on the agenda from the outset and we launched a survey to understand how our people wanted to work.  Whilst ‘post covid’ is taking a little longer than we all perhaps firstly envisaged, we used the insight to shape our forward looking strategy, both practically for our office space but also in relation to our future business and people strategy and ways of working. 

Creating a flexible workforce

We followed this activity up by supporting all of our managers to have 121 Ways of Working conversations with each member of their team.  Firstly this was to ensure they were safe working at home and had all the equipment they needed, but also to ensure that we understood the preferences of employees going forward in relation to their working pattern and practices and to ensure we understood enough about their own personal wellbeing to enable support to be deployed as required. 

Chase the sun

As we continued into the winter months, mental health and wellbeing became even more prevalent.  After a summer at home, and a taste of freedom, came the reality of the autumn months and the impending second lockdown. We quickly adapted and hosted a series of online wellbeing events with hints and tips from internal and external experts – ensuring all individuals were empowered to stop and focus on this.  Hosted by our MD Alex Gilbert who shared his own personal wellbeing journey, we continued a conversation that sits at the heart of our business.  Our senior leadership team then ensured that each person was invited to a ‘coffee time’ session with the opportunity to explore any further support needed. 

Always innovate

We continue to champion the wellbeing agenda, mentoring our wellbeing ambassadors, promoting webinars with Frank Bruno as well as our pilot of the Formscore app, enabling regular check ins and conversations about your ‘form’.

Be ready for new starters

Despite some obvious challenges associated with virtual learning we are continuing our commitment to Early Careers - we are in the process of welcoming over 100 new joiners in 2021 including a number of individuals on our new Degree Apprentice programmes. We have learnt from our Rail Degree Apprentices who joined just before the first lockdown, and have been able to ensure we adapt our programmes to embed a strong pastoral network and enhanced the support and guidance we offer to our line manager population. During this pandemic young people have had to adapt to independent learning, virtual communication, self-management, innovation and that is just a start, all essential skills in the world of work.   We have launched a new challenge via our Springboard employee suggestion scheme to hear great ideas for further innovation in remote learning and how we can ensure that our new talent is engaged and inspired as they start their career journey with us.   We have revised our approach to induction switching to a virtual platform and utilising our new Amey wide online leaning provision.

Driving high performance

And we don’t just offer development opportunity for our new talent, we have launched a project management programme through the apprentice levy enabling our existing engineers to gain new skills.  During the last 12 months we have successfully supported over 100 people through to Chartership, continuing our heritage of professional excellence.  We have launched an accelerated Leadership Development programme, currently 100% virtually, to ensure our leaders of the future are ready and able to step up into new and exciting roles.  We have launched our Consulting Engagement Framework, ensuring everyone understands how they can speak to the senior leadership team, and highlights the ways in which we listen.  Finally, we have been able to roundup our successful year with the now Virtual Amey Consulting Awards and celebrated the success of so many of our people and the brilliant work they do every day.

Most importantly, and setting us up for success in the future, we have committed to embracing flexibility in our ways of working, from reducing business travel to enabling flexible hours and homeworking.  This opens opportunity for a better work life balance, improved wellbeing and engagement.  We are aiming to encourage those who might not have considered our industry to come and talk to us, enhancing our diversity and accessing new talent pools.  Most of all I am proud that we have continued our journey to ensure everyone working in Amey Consulting can be at their best and feel valued and alive.

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