Blog: People Development SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Walker Construction

16 June 2020

sponsored by Cheesmur Building Contractors

People Development SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Walker Construction

*** Winner! ***

Training and retaining makes good business sense and for Walker Construction people development is central to their strategy. A culture of learning improves employee relations and retention, efficiency, quality of service and the image of construction.

Walker Construction is a multi-disciplined construction company operating throughout South East England. Founded in 1964 by three Walker brothers, Walker Construction is a family business at its core. Family business brings about its own challenges so it has been critical for the business to clearly define roles and promote fairly with complete transparency.

Walker Construction is passionate about ensuring they have the right environment to maximise return on investment by getting the best from their teams. They attribute their success to their people. Giving people the right skills to do their job, avoiding future skills shortages and managing change are key to business success. The Walker Construction guiding philosophy is to actively encourage and reward working together as a team. An annual implementation plan has been developed with specific objectives, activity and success measures.

Cultural change is necessary to respond to market demand. Their workforce is adaptable and they encourage individuals to bring diverse views, perspectives and ideas into the workplace. They have made it simple and efficient for their people to connect to knowledge experts, have instant access to training and engage in a supportive network of peers. In the past 2 years, a significant part of their employee training matrix has been made up of soft skills courses and assessments - fostering more collaborative teams, informed managers, and improved conduct.

They ‘grow their own’ employees with high-quality training solutions created to address the company’s needs now and to prevent skills shortages in the future. Training existing staff on how to manage and get the best from the increasing number of graduates and apprentices is vital to them - evidenced by high retention rates and long-standing employees. With a relatively new apprenticeship scheme, the business is acutely aware of how the way they manage and train can have a positive impact on their future ability to retain the competitive edge and grow the business.

They use a unique talent-mapping system to recognise employees who are achieving above and beyond expectations, those struggling to meet requirements, and those achieving as expected. Different support is offered for these categories to ensure they retain talent from all sectors. Assessment takes place continually, in part through appraisals which are monitored and facilitated by HR and take place twice a year for every employee. Consistent ‘temperature checks’ and an open-door policy also encourage a culture of communication and collaboration to achieve goals.

They offer an extensive range of training opportunities, including NVQs, and continuously monitor the quality of their training through their ‘measureable outcomes’ system. Using both written feedback and candidate self-assessment, they accurately measure the quality of training and its value to each individual, and use this information to consistently improve and adapt to the changing needs of the workforce.


  • Industry-leading approach to mental health
  • Commitment to Disability Confident Programme
  • Their family business status helps them to work collaboratively and provide flexibility to their workforce

About the People Development Award: 

People are our greatest asset and this award recognises organisations that appreciate and nurture their workforce to ensure they maximise the value of everyone’s contribution to the business. By creating inclusive workplaces which support people of all abilities through training initiatives, education, mentoring, support networks and innovative programmes, companies can demonstrate a significant impact on the future of their businesses and the wider construction industry.

> Find out more about the other finalists here

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