Wates constructs bright ideas with junior board

A group of young staff are helping bridge the generation gap and develop
fresh ideas, as part of a ‘junior board of directors’ at construction firm

The junior board was set up by the firm’s HR director Ken Baker at the
beginning of last year in a bid to improve communication within the company,
increase diversity at senior levels and inject a youthful impetus into policy

The board has already devised a staff recognition programme that rewards
good work through internal awards and vouchers, which has now been introduced
across the firm’s 1,500-strong workforce.

The eight junior board members – all aged under 32 – are now working on ways
of improving communication across the company and will present their findings
to the family board.

Baker said the young executive team, which is made up of four men and four
women, has helped staff develop, and has created opportunities for women to
make their mark in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

"We wanted to help connect the older and younger generations and
improve communication. It also gives younger staff the chance to look at
company policy and air their views. It’s great experience to see how business
works – you can see how much their confidence has grown," he said.

Commercial director Martyn Shepherd sits with the group and acts as a coach
and adviser as they work on company projects.

Stacey Greenwood, group training officer and member of the junior board,
said the experience has given her the confidence to implement new ideas and
identify her strengths and weaknesses.

"It’s given me the opportunity to share knowledge and ideas across the
business. I’ve also gained a better understanding of the issues our staff face
out on site," she said.

By Ross Wigham

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