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Customer experience

Balfour Beatty’s client service programmes MAP and HALO provide it with a thorough understanding of its customer’s objectives and ensure it remains in constant communication with its customer to understand their changing needs. Balfour Beatty communicates its customer’s vision across the business to ensure collaboration and meet customer expectations.

The Group has policies and programmes which are designed to directly enhance the customer’s experience and underpin how Balfour Beatty builds key relationships with them. These include a business compass which gives every Balfour Beatty employee direct business and customer focus, clear business values and a sustainability vision that demonstrates the importance of working with customers to achieve shared goals.

Balfour Beatty’s priority is to become the partner of choice for customers and embed customer focus throughout its business to achieve this.

Balfour Beatty does not carry out simple customer satisfaction surveys: The Group’s toolkit provides a more sophisticated insight into the customer’s project and their relationship success criteria, and providing Balfour Beatty with an opportunity to align its processes, people, behaviours and culture with those of its customers, leading to more productive outcomes.

The scores captured are an indicator of Balfour Beatty’s ability to collaborate and deliver to its customers’ expectations. The commentary is the area of differentiation for the business. This commentary, when reviewed and acted on, stimulates conversation, collaborative solutions and continuous improvement.  

In 2016, 2,107 customer satisfaction reviews were carried out, primarily in the UK (2,038). The Group customer satisfaction average was 91% (2015: 82%).

In addition, Balfour Beatty achieved a very high net promoter score of 80 for its UK operations. This index ranges from -100 to 100 and measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company's products or services to others.

Balfour Beatty continued to win landmark contracts in all its selected markets with the order book up 15% (4% at CER) at £12.7 billion.

Number of major clients engaged in sustainability

In 2016, 134 of Balfour Beatty’s major clients were engaged on sustainability. The UK total number of major clients engaged was significantly higher than the group average accounting for 122 of the overall client base.

Having an in-depth understanding of what characterises sustainability success from the standpoint of Balfour Beatty’s customers ensures that the Group delivers these throughout the project lifecycle. If a project is to deliver optimal social and environmental performance, Balfour Beatty needs to understand its customer’s aspirations and align its strategy to deliver these collaboratively.

Through the creation of specific sustainability objectives, Balfour Beatty is able to focus its efforts on those items that really matter to its customers, and establish action plans to ensure successful delivery. The Group aims to establish sustainability project goals as early as possible in the project cycle, often prior to construction commencement.

Once the objectives are agreed, Balfour Beatty communicates these to the whole project delivery team and monitors performance, sharing in the success with its customers.

Sustainability is an integral part of modern infrastructure projects: public sector clients require conformance to standards such as BREEAM, BREEAM International, LEED®, HK BEAM, Green Mark, and CEEQUAL and these are important to planning authorities. Meeting these standards has resulted in a £2.2 billion turnover on green infrastructure projects in 2016. This is 29.4% increase on 2015 turnover on green infrastructure.  The Group’s certifications in this area and its technical knowledge improve the whole life performance of customers’ built assets.

Community engagement

In many markets the ability to demonstrate the social value of the Group’s operations in economic terms is vital. To benefit local areas, the Group uses local suppliers, employees and materials wherever possible, and invests in future talent through apprenticeship schemes and work placement opportunities.

Involved (Balfour Beatty’s community investment programme in the UK) was established in 2015 and focuses on three key areas where the Group can add value to its customers and the local community

  • local employment and skills
  • community engagement through charitable fundraising, volunteering and mentoring
  • supporting local businesses.

Wherever the Group operates it seeks to integrate within the neighbourhood, supporting the local community, its businesses and its workforce. Involved gives Balfour Beatty the opportunity to work within a framework whereby the results of its interventions are captured and the benefit to society shared with its customers and other interested parties.

Community investment through charitable fundraising

The Balfour Beatty Building Better Futures Charitable Trust was formed in 2009 to help the most disadvantaged young people in society.

Through a mix of employee fundraising and financial support provided by the Company, the Trust currently supports three charities: Barnardo’s, Coram and The Prince’s Trust. 

In 2016, employees raised over £66,000 through the Building Better Futures fundraising activity programme. An additional £18,000 was raised by employees for charities separately. The Company matched this funding with an additional contribution and donated a total of £100,000 to the Trust.

To help tackle youth unemployment and the skills gap in the construction sector, many of Balfour Beatty’s programmes have been focused on improving employment opportunities and employability of individuals.

  • Since 2006, the Trust has helped transform the lives of nearly 4,000 young people by working together with The Prince’s Trust.
  • Since 2013 the Trust has contributed £136,000 to support Barnardo’s work with unemployed young people; helping over 1,300 young people to gain new skills, qualifications and stable work.
  • Since 2010, the Trust has contributed over £420,000 to Coram. This has funded three of Coram’s vital services for children and young people. With Balfour Beatty’s support– Coram has helped 26 children to find their ‘forever family’ through Coram Adoption; provided art and music therapy to 144 children helping them to overcome trauma; and enabled 40,138 vulnerable school children to experience Coram’s interactive health education programme.

 In 2016, 48 Balfour Beatty employees took to the saddle and raised over £203,000 for charitable causes, of which £86,000 (including matched funding from the Company) was directed to the Balfour Beatty Charitable Trust. The Deloitte Ride Across Britain route covered an impressive 969 miles, beginning in Land’s End and finishing in John O’Groats.

Balfour Beatty completed its support for the London Youth Games in 2016, facilitating another record year of participation for young people in London, with 139,786 taking part. Balfour Beatty staff again played a key role among 4,173 volunteers and supported the successful delivery of the Games. Since Balfour Beatty started sponsoring the Games in 2006, participant numbers have increased fivefold. 

This has brought multiple benefits, including engaging employees in volunteering, helping customer relationships and supporting communities in and around London where Balfour Beatty operates. The US construction business contributed over US$450,000 to charitable causes in 2016. Some of the organisations receiving donations are:

  • Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • Sharefest
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
  • Carpenter’s Shelter
  • Kay Yow Cancer Fund
  • United Way
  • Urban Ministry Center.

In California, Balfour Beatty team mates co-hosted the fourth annual Golf Classic that raised more than US$110,000 for the Sharefest 2016 Workday. The annual Sharefest event mobilises thousands of volunteers throughout Los Angeles County to complete tangible work projects that change the quality of life for its residents.

Since its inception in 2013, Balfour Beatty’s Golf Classic outing has raised more than US$360,000 to support annual Workday activities. For Make-A-Wish® Foundation’s Walk for Wishes event in Georgia, the Balfour Beatty team in Atlanta raised over US$65,000 for children in Georgia who have been afflicted with life-threatening illnesses.

In Texas, Balfour Beatty continued with its High School Mentoring Program that started in 2009. The programme enhances the educational and professional development experience of high school students in the Dallas/Fort Worth area by raising the awareness of professional opportunities within the construction industry. Through one-on-one mentoring relationships, Balfour Beatty facilitates sustainable academic enrichment, encourages leadership, and provides exposure to the construction industry. Since inception, the programme has hosted numerous High School interns, awarded several scholarships for students pursuing careers in construction management and sponsored college interns. Offers are extended to interns with successful internships upon graduation.

In 2016, staff from Gammon Construction took part in a total of 116 community events in Hong Kong, mainland China and Singapore and raised over HK$1.9 million through sponsorships and charitable donations. Many of the community focused events promoted health and wellbeing including Gammon being the title sponsor of the ‘China Coast Marathon’ and participating in ‘Swim for a Million’, both in aid of the Community Chest of Hong Kong.

Staff also participated in the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions’ Occupational Safety and Health Walkathon for injured workers, and the Central Rat Race in aid of mental health charity, Mindset, as well as the annual three-day Gammon Walkathon 2016 to raise funds for people with learning disabilities. In 2016, Gammon was recognised by the Hong Kong Council of Social Services as a ‘Caring Company’ for over 10 years. 

Business integrity

Balfour Beatty has a well-developed Business Integrity programme which was originally launched in 2009. The programme adopts a behaviours based approach to ensure that the Group’s culture enables people to make the right choices and empowers them to speak up where others have not. In 2016, the whole programme and its effectiveness were evaluated and a number of initiatives updated and re-launched:

  •  the Code of Conduct has been updated and launched as a website. As a result, the Code is now available on phones, tablets and laptops so everyone can access and understand what is expected of them
  • a new online assessment has been created to evaluate a person’s understanding of the Code of Conduct and what is expected of them, which will inform the training they receive. Previously a standard training programme was mandatory and effectiveness measured through completion rates
  • training for on-site operatives was relaunched and forms part of the Site Mobilisation Hub so that sites start with the right Business Integrity resources and support
  • several manual processes are being automated to make better use of technology. This will ensure that processes are followed in a  consistent manner and decisions taken will be documented and available in a uniform way. Examples include the annual compliance declaration and the due diligence process undertaken when working with new clients or partners. Technology also enables the better collection of data which can be shared to improve behaviour and mitigate risk.

All of the improvements made to the programme are designed to make it more accessible and compliance with it easy to understand and implement. The embedding of the programme through the usual channels of training, workshops and constant communication also continued during the year.

In addition to improvements in the programme, the Business Integrity function also increased the team to ensure all in scope cases are investigated in a timely manner. Investigating cases and taking appropriate action are key to reinforcing the behaviours expected of everyone and supporting those who raise concerns.

Speak up

Balfour Beatty encourages its staff and wider community to report any concerns about unethical conduct. Trends and, where appropriate, details of cases raised are reported to the Audit and Risk Committee and each business unit. Whilst action is taken in respect of the immediate issues raised, this data also informs the longer term strategic direction of the programme.

There has been an increase in the total number of reported cases in 2016 compared with 2015, which reflects the benefits of reinvigorating the programme. There has also been an increase in the number of cases per 1,000 employees.

Figure 1: Number of Speak Up Helpline cases

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Figure 2: Number of Speak Up Helpline cases (excluding HR grievances)

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Figure 3: Number of cases per 1,000 employees (Balfour Beatty)

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Figure 4: Number of cases per 1,000 employees (Balfour Beatty)

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Balfour Beatty benchmarks its reporting rates against industry and worldwide figures. That benchmarking exercise indicates that Balfour Beatty has a healthy number of reports in its business. However, there is still room for higher levels of reporting to provide further comfort that people are speaking up about most or all issues in the business.

Areas of focus in 2017

The implementation of the changes to the Business Integrity programme will continue in 2017 with a particular focus on technology. The benefits of the changes made in 2016 are borne out in the increased awareness of the Code of Conduct and the numbers feeling empowered to challenge. However, there is still a significant amount of work to do to ensure the programme is fully embedded throughout the Group in a consistent manner.

Modern slavery

Modern slavery is a brutal form of organised crime in which people are treated as commodities and exploited for criminal gain. The International Labour Organisation estimates that 21 million men, women and children are working in conditions of modern slavery, including trafficked persons. The vast majority of these people are in the supply chains of legitimate industries. Balfour Beatty is committed to working within the business and its supply chain to ensure a proactive approach is taken to tackling hidden labour exploitation and eliminating these practices. Further details of the Company’s approach to modern slavery and its Modern Slavery Act transparency statement for 2016 can be accessed here: www.balfourbeatty.com/services/modern-slavery

Recognition

Balfour Beatty has continued to win awards for its performance in sustainability across its operations. These can be viewed at www.balfourbeatty.com/sustainability/recognition/

CDP

The Group is committed to addressing climate risk and reducing the lifetime emissions of the assets it builds, as evidenced by its performance in the global evaluation standard, the Climate Disclosure Project (CDP), where a B rating was achieved in 2016, compared to the Construction and Engineering average rating of C.

The annual rating is based on CDP’s evaluation of the Company’s strategy, goals and actual emissions reductions, as well as transparency and verification of reported data. It assesses the completeness and quality of Balfour Beatty’s measurement and management of carbon footprint, climate change strategy, risk management processes and outcomes. The score’s purpose is to provide a summary of the extent to which companies have answered these questions in a structured format.  Balfour Beatty’s B rating indicates that its team has set carbon reduction targets, is implementing programs to reduce emissions in both its direct operations and supply chain, and discloses its carbon performance in a comprehensive, transparent and open manner.

The score, ranked from “A” to “D-“ assesses the level of action, as reported by the company, on climate change mitigation, adaptation and transparency. Its intent is to highlight positive climate action.

The rankings have been produced at the request of 827 investors with $100 trillion in global assets, representing more than a third of the world’s invested capital. The CDP disclosure and performance scores are used as proxies for good climate change management and performance.