At Hercules we take pride in our approach to our Corporate Social Responsibility and we are committed to being a great place to work and to being an industry leader who cares for our employees, the communities we work in and the wider environment.
Our CSR Team was established to ensure that our CSR strategy is implemented and guided by all of our unique and talented people. We believe that by harnessing the diversity, experiences and abilities of all our employees and working within the four foundations of our CSR strategy, we will enhance our business, strengthen our bonds with our clients and leave a positive impact on the environment and the communities where we operate.
THE FOUNDATIONS OF OUR CSR STRATEGY
Equality Diversity & Inclusion
We believe that every member of our team counts, and we foster a culture of inclusion, collaboration and innovation throughout our organisation. We are committed to promoting diversity and providing equal opportunities throughout our organisation, recognising that a diverse workforce is a more effective, efficient and happy workforce, and by making Hercules a positive place to work, and ensuring everyone feels safe and supported, we believe that our people can achieve their maximum potential and will help to improve construction for future generations. Our aim is for our business to be a true representation of the local communities that we work in, and we actively encourage people of all backgrounds to work with us, striving to ensure that everyone shares our commitment and embraces their colleagues’ backgrounds regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, disability or any other perceived difference.
We have embedded the principles of the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) toolkit throughout our organisation and have a network of FIR Ambassadors throughout our business, from Director level through to our operatives. By embedding FIR into our company culture and partnering with organisations to combat issues such as modern slavery and diversity in construction, we demonstrate our commitment to improving the lives of our workforce.
We digitally collect EDI data from our workforce utilising our bespoke Recruitment and Onboarding Apps, stored securely and anonymously, allowing us to produce EDI reports both internally and for our clients on a project-by-project basis. This offers us real-time data accuracy and a valuable insight into disproportionality and underrepresentation, in order for us to plan further targeted campaigns in our recruitment processes. From candidate application stage we can quickly and efficiently analyse the information collected to identify key areas for targeted recruitment initiatives based on a range of EDI factors and this information can be broken down into localities and regions. For example, we can identify the number of registered applicants under the age of 25 from BAME communities in the Birmingham area and work towards both our internal and client targets to plan project recruitment activity accordingly, targeting specific requirements based on our data prior to project commencement.
This enables more efficient designation of resources to EDI/SEE initiatives, for example liaising with DWP and other regional employment brokers to pre-screen unemployed/job-seeking individuals or focusing on underrepresented age groups such as 16–24-year-olds and the over 50s (see Figure 5 – Targeted Recruitment Campaigns above).
The number of BAME employees in Hercules rose from 38.31% in 2020 to 39.9% 2021, and currently stands at 40.12%, compared to the construction industry national average of 5.4% from 2019, therefore this evidences that our targeted recruitment campaigns have been successful in this area.
The construction industry average for females in the workforce is 12.5% but only 1% of those is in site-based roles. The number of females in our workforce has risen from 2.03% in 2020, to 2.31% in 2021, and is currently at 6.35%, however 3.32% of those on site-based roles. This is an area we are actively working to improve through:
- National advertising campaigns for our Recruitment App via posters in female toilets in service stations nationwide across 60 project areas.
- Working with organisations to educate females at higher education level, highlighting the inclusive environment and career opportunities the industry offers.
- Involvement with schools and colleges delivering careers advice and work experience opportunities.
- Partnering with Women’s Platform UK offering training and upskilling opportunities.
Employment, Skills & Apprentices
Our company mission is “Through an innovative and collaborative approach, we will generate, build and sustain a world class service and delivery which will leave a legacy for future generations”. To be a world class service provider delivering an unrivalled experience to our clients, our workforce, and the local communities we work in, everything we do has to be underpinned by our core values; Collaborative, Innovative, Committed, United, Trustworthy.
In order to achieve this, we are flexible in our approach and open to trying new ways of working in order to deliver the best solutions, and we are always transparent in everything that we do. Through this approach, and by nurturing long-standing partnerships with everyone we’re involved with, especially our workforce, we believe we can reach our goals.
In order to attract and retain qualified, skilled and motivated staff, resulting in a sustainable workforce, we ensure that everyone throughout our organisation has a voice. This is demonstrated by the variety of members of our workforce, from both our sites and Head Office, who take part in our various working groups, such as our CSR Team, SHEQ Committee, Mental Health Steering Group, Carbon Management Committee, and Modern Slavery Working Group. As one of only a few organisations in the country to have achieved BES 6002 Ethical Labour Sourcing, we demonstrate that we are working hard to ensure that our workforce will be happy, healthy and trained to the highest standards.
We are proud to work alongside a wide variety of organisations (see figure 8) to achieve our mission to be a world class service provider and deliver positive change throughout the construction industry. Whether campaigning to raise awareness for mental health, working to support veterans to find careers in construction, targeting initiatives to offer opportunities to underrepresented minorities, or being committed national living wage employers, we are dedicated to delivering real change and believe that, by working in partnership with these organisations, we can achieve a better future for our workforce, our industry and the communities we work in.
Hercules captures and evidences data around the latest company statistics for SEE, EDI, fatigue, local workforce, social value calculations, etc. Analysis from these data capture points is measured against KPIs and action points reviewed, with updates reported company-wide. We also share this data with clients and other interested parties via various methods, allowing for targeted initiatives and strategic objectives to be put in place.
In 2022, our SEE Portal, ‘See Everything’, went live on HS2 Old Oak Common, revolutionising the collection and analysis of Skills Education & Employment-related data, with all data for the project being logged and monitored for KPIs, enabling more effective working towards achieving project objectives and targets. For further information on this solution please click on https://youtu.be/nLXqc2nzzNw.
Sustainability Through Upskilling
Skills, knowledge and experience gained both formally and informally by employees, beyond any initial training, is planned, tracked and documented. Employees are continually monitored to assess competency and gaps in knowledge, with skills, culture and attitude reviewed and appropriate training organised.
Hercules is a member of The 5% Club and we have consistently exceeded the commitment target with an average of 6.9% apprentices in 2019, 15% in 2020 and 9.3% in 2021. Our Apprenticeship Scheme is offered to both new starters and existing workforce to improve and develop skills. All employees are actively encouraged to continue their training journeys from apprenticeships to Supervisor level to Management Courses, Diplomas and NVQs. We offer a full range of vocational qualifications from job-related qualifications to specific job preparation. We have a Graduate Scheme and Mentorship Programme in place and provide full support to staff wishing to obtain a professional certification/chartership. Internal Training Programmes via e-learning/distance learning courses, webinars, classroom-based learning, seminars, workshops and conferences are programmed.
Hercules is currently in the process of building and developing our own Hercules Construction Academy, with accreditations and facilities in place to provide training to both our own workforce and external learners (see section below “Other Capabilities” for further details).
Targeted Recruitment Initiatives
We have strong experience of offering work placements to job seekers through our current initiatives and relationships with key strategic organisations, with pathways in place including for ex-military and ex-offenders. See section above “SHEQ and Learning & Development” and Figure 5 Targeted Recruitment Initiatives for further details on our opportunities with underrepresented minorities.
Schools/ Further Education Colleges Support
See section above “SHEQ and Learning & Development” and Figure 6 – ‘Colleges Career Support Engagement’ for further details on community engagement and attraction of the next generation into the construction industry.
Local Economic Growth
Our strategy is built on three core pillars – Generate, Build & Sustain (see Figure 9) – and is underpinned by learnings from previous projects and SMART objectives, which provide us with the guidance to achieve positive outcomes. Our sourcing strategy is based on employing workers from the communities local to projects wherever we possibly can.
Hercules Digital Solution to Local Employment
For all labour categories, we consider it an essential part of our recruitment strategy to employ local people on our projects wherever possible, and one of Hercules’ USPs is our award-winning Recruitment App and Integrated Personnel Management System. Through these digital systems we can allocate new and existing labour resource from local areas, we can advertise unlimited vacancies, enabling us to target local employees, in turn creating positive social value within communities (click on https://youtu.be/JYjPrH8Yw-c for details of our systems). Through the utilisation and full integration of our digital solutions since launch, our data has shown a huge increase in our workforce working within a local radius of our projects:
|Workforce employed within 10 miles of project||21.14%||48.80%|
|Workforce employed within 20 miles of project||40.50%||62.90%|
|Workforce employed within 40 miles of project||62.34%||76.40%|
With further embedding of our digital recruitment processes into the business, we are aiming to increase our company-wide figure over 2023. On projects where we have been able to specifically target local employment, we are consistently achieving 88%-95% on projects such as the A30, A63, A19, A14, and M4 projects (see Figure 10). We have even achieved periods of 100% local workforce over project lifespans and our current workforce spread in relation to many of our projects.
Other Local Employment Solutions
Through our partnership with the DWP we deliver focused regional recruitment activities to supplement our digital and more traditional methods. The Construction Gateway initiative, for example, in the West Midlands, signposts individuals to pathways into employment via the Hercules App.
We have successfully utilised advertising in motorway service stations with high numbers of people downloading our App as a result. These resources can be used to assist with the extra demand created on client projects and have already been used to positive effect on projects such as HS2, M4 and A14 schemes. In addition to our Recruitment App, we have access to advertising platforms including job boards such as Indeed, LinkedIn, CV Library and Facebook.
Local Supply Chain
In line with our target of improving local economic growth, Hercules also commits to engaging, wherever possible, with local businesses and we manage our Approved Supplier Framework geographically in order to make every effort to use local approved suppliers. Hercules has a focus on supply chain diversity, specifically onboarding micro, small and minority-owned businesses, and to support our business strategy for our clients we have in place a number of policies and procedures to manage our procurement and supply chain activities.
Supporting Project Social Value Initiatives
Hercules also supports and delivers social value across multiple projects, e.g. delivering over £4.5million of social value on the M4 Smart Motorways Project over 12 months, including targeting local labour, apprenticeships, health & wellbeing programmes, EDI training, mental health campaigns, carbon emissions reductions, local charity and community work, school and college engagement, use of local supply chains and MSMEs.
Hercules works together with clients and other organisations to undertake physical legacy projects in communities local to our project sites. Our most recent physical legacy projects in 2022 include:
- Dragon Park A63 Hull – Our site operatives volunteered time to create a path in Dragon Parks in order that the local community could access flower beds.
- Tree Planting M4 – Our site and Head Office team volunteered time to plant trees at Ockwells Park adjacent to the M4, reconnecting existing ancient woodlands to form a wildlife corridor of almost 23km along the northern edge of the motorway.