In typical Ground & Water fashion, it’s been a whirlwind of a year so far! Small but mighty, we have tackled so many challenges this year to push the company forward and closer to achieving our vision of becoming the leading provider of geotechnical and environmental services.
Planning for the future
2021 has seen us develop our team further, conduct a review of our finances; so we can be sure we are in the strongest position to grow and develop the company. We have implemented new KPI’s and sales targets to understand what we need to achieve, so that we can build a bigger and better Ground & Water. As an organisation, we continually strive to improve our processes, to better serve our clients’ needs and as a result we have spent a number of months analysing the project lifecycle, allowing a better understanding of our pinch points and areas for improvement. From this we have devised a new lifecycle that will allow us to reduce our turnaround times. Alongside this work, we have been forecasting future growth and building budgets around those plans, so we are able to plan training and development needs for the entire team, social budgets and company reinvestment.
Our new drilling rig
Part of the company development plan has been looking at what we can bring in-house. One obvious place to begin, was to acquire our own drilling rig. So, that was number one on the shopping list along with a fully designated team of Technicians to support the engineering function. We believe that development is key to job satisfaction and wanted to promote our own drilling talent. We are delighted that former Technician, James, is keen to develop his skills further and become Ground & Water’s first driller.
But alas, what is a rig without a name? We ran a social media competition to find a worthy contender and had some great suggestions; Rig-a-Toni, Riggy Gervais and Marlon Dando to name but a few. The winner was our very own Jon Chalkley, who came up with the name Rig Astley…..because it’ll never let you down. Genius, even if we do say so ourselves.
We will soon be extending our logging barn and we have big plans to utilise the increased area to bring more exciting additions to Ground & Water and the services we provide. Watch this space!
Team talk – we look after our team so they can help you
Another change to our processes occurred earlier this year. We have dispensed with the annual appraisal and have rolled out quarterly development sessions with team members instead. A more dynamic process focusing on individual training and development, goals and results, behaviours and personal achievements was introduced. It allows the team to navigate their own career path by focusing on individual needs, such as addressing any skills gaps; while also working as a team to achieve targets to propel the business forward.
We launched our new rewards package this year too! We undertook extensive research into what rewards would be the most meaningful and impactful for our team members. As such we have introduced a number of new rewards including subsidised professional subscriptions, a healthcare cash plan, a physical fitness contribution to partner our existing focus on mental health through the Everymind Matter App, which provides a more holistic approach to the health of our team. Members have chosen hiking boots, wetsuits, and weights among other things to help encourage physical fitness and contribute to overall wellbeing. We’ve also introduced a birthday day off. We know people don’t want to work on their birthday and we don’t expect them to.
We have added five members to the team in 2021 so far; Rob, Aidan and Jon now make up the Ground & Water Tech Team and engineers Ryan and Erin, will join us next month. We are currently recruiting for a further three positions, two of which are brand new roles. Building on the growth we have had from a people perspective, it’s time to add further structure to the company so that we are able to grow even more. This is why we have opened up opportunities for a Health & Safety Coordinator to join our team along with a Sales & Marketing Lead; so we can really focus on what our clients need and want from a consultancy. It’s been an extremely busy period but one that has been incredibly exciting and rewarding.
Building on the internal development of our team members, we are currently looking at our organisational structure, ensuring its designed around how we envisage the company will grow. Not only from the new roles recently established, but how we can maximise existing team members’ skills, arming them with the tools and techniques they need to develop themselves into curious, confident, and courageous leaders in their field. Alongside the industry focused CPD sessions, we have implemented on a weekly basis, we have been widening the team’s exposure to other areas of the business, honing skills and ambition to allow a natural succession to those who want to develop into future roles within Ground & Water.
Brand visibility and the virtual age
Another area we want to work on, is our social media presence and company brand. We are a great company to be a part of, but being the modest types, we haven’t really shouted about it. When the country was hit with the uncertainty of a pandemic, our key priority was our team. Wifi connection is not the only important connection for us, it’s the team connection. We worked hard to ensure our team felt more connected than ever and as a company that places high value on relationships, the social get togethers and general camaraderie our team enjoys is a lifeline. We are a busy team and understand the importance of building meaningful relationships, we have worked hard to build an inclusive team that trusts each other and places collaborative working above all else.
Moving that virtually was a challenge and our priority was to ensure that new and existing team members felt comfortable and supported immediately. It was vital we continued with those check-ins, maintained the sense of fun and continued doing work that provided challenges, purpose and fulfilment. We have enjoyed zoom quizzes, cheese and wine tasting, cocktails, a ‘back to nature’ photography competition and have started up our own book club. We enjoyed a team lunch at the pub a couple of weeks ago. It was great to see the team properly and whilst technology is absolutely marvellous, you just can’t recreate that genuine warmth of face to face contact.
Feedback from our new team members has been incredibly positive, with our team being remarked upon as ‘too good to be true’, ‘refreshingly genuine’ and having ‘felt like I’ve been here for years…’. Next on the agenda and to welcome our new teammates properly, is foot golf, a games night and a trip to the theatre, where we will watch two of the Ground & Water team treading the boards. We can’t wait! We have always felt our culture was special and the BizX team clearly feels the same. We are proud to be runners up for the BizX Culture Award and will be back for next year’s awards where we hope to win!
New online Solutions Hub to streamline the client experience
Following on from the launch of our new website towards the end of 2020, we have continued to write weekly blogs to share our experiences, news and industry perspectives with you all. We are currently working on a new area of the website, which we hope to launch in August. The Ground & Water ‘Solutions Hub’ will provide potential and existing clients with all the information they need when choosing their Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental consultant. The Solutions Hub will take clients through the decision-making journey, outlining what information we need from them in order to provide a brilliant service and everything they need to know about us, our services and how we can solve problems and deliver solutions. The area includes a basic pricing matrix, a comprehensive FAQs page and information on competitors. We are not afraid of competition and feel we should provide our clients with every option.
Protecting our environment
Another key area we will be focusing on is sustainability. It is well documented that our industry’s plastic consumption is high. As environmentalists this plastic consumption flies in the face of everything we are trying to achieve. We have recently created a ‘Sustainability Working Group’ where we will focus on one factor each month to drastically reduce our environmental footprint. This will range from plastic consumption in the field and within the office, reducing the amount of paper we use and the use of electric vehicles and plant in our company fleet. We are in the process of reviewing our individual sustainability through a baseline survey and are committed to being more conscientious global citizens and using our influence to affect real change in the industry.
Our aim is to make a difference; to our team, to our clients and to the industry. They say all great changes are preceded by chaos, so here’s to another six months of growing, evolving, and becoming better versions of ourselves today, than we were yesterday.