As a business that is committed to building the best environments for its clients, Buro Happold also wanted to ensure that its workers had the best workplace environment in which to thrive creatively and freely.
The engineering consultancy, which has offices across the globe, has a diverse workforce with skills ranging from project management to civil and mechanical engineering.
And as the engineers behind such landmark projects such as the Millennium Dome and the Emirates Stadium, Buro Happold needs a team of employees on board that feels a strong resonance with the company and the work that they do.
The firm’s head office in Bath has recently decided to run a trial of Happiness Works’ survey, which assesses individuals’ experiences in the workplace, such as engagement levels and work relationships.
“It’s important that our staff have got the right environment in which to be creative and obviously there are links to productivity as well. But I think a lot of staff work for Buro Happold because they feel like it is a happy place and there’s a desire to better understand how we can improve on that even further,” says senior consultant Phil Hampshire.
“The survey results are interesting but it’s just a temperature check to have an open dialogue regarding something that a lot of people think is important and figure out ways that we can make a happier and, to some extent, more productive workforce.”
So far, the survey has been rolled out to about a third of the office’s 400 employees on a voluntary basis in order to understand how teams function and what is important for them individually.
Hampshire explains that, as employees were asked about their experiences on a personal, team and organisational level, individuals were able to look at their results and identify things that they could change on their own to boost their personal happiness.
Management also discussed the results in teams and were able to bounce ideas off each other to identify how to improve their leadership skills and improve the happiness and wellbeing of their staff.
“I think a lot of people personally connected with it because it was something that they could see their own scores in and then think about how they could improve their own happiness, but also gave a general check for teams,” Hampshire adds.
“Managers said that it was really nice sometimes to have what they thought was already happening in the team confirmed back to them through the results of the survey. And they said it provides a vehicle which allows managers to say to other managers, ‘Your team is really happy in that aspect of work but my team are not as much so – what are you doing that I’m not?’ So it’s an opportunity to learn from each other as well.”
Such is the nature of the business that Hampshire believes Buro Happold cannot afford to “shy away” from something as important as its staff’s happiness, but he also believes that the workplace is a better place to be if employees are at ease with their environment and employer.
“I think it makes it a great place if you’ve got happy staff. I think one of the differentiating features of the business is that we work on exciting projects and those can sometimes be quite demanding and it is really important to have happy staff who are healthy and have the space to do the creative thinking that is needed to deliver some of the projects that we do,” he concludes.
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