Over the many years that I've been with the Company, Taylor Wimpey has gradually become my second home, with my work family now reaching over 148 members in the Midlands regional business alone, and is continuously growing. During this time, I've watched the Company transform, going from strength to strength.
2007, as we all know – developing into a heavyweight housebuilder which is highly respected both amongst our peers and in The City.
And this is the philosophy that we embrace here in the Midlands business too – we aim to be the best in class in everything that we do and we work hard to deliver on it.
Developing from within
My management team and I, who have over 183 years’ experience between us at the Group, strongly believe in developing our people from within, where possible, and growing our existing Midlands’ talent. Across our 16 live outlets, we currently have eight apprentices, five management trainees, and one apprentice site manager, all of whom are fully committed to learning and developing.
In addition, I have a number of key members of the team on a ‘talent development plan’, the aim of which is to actively invest in developing our business leaders for the future. Our staff retention rates are one of the highest across the Group, and this is something that I am personally very proud of and grateful to my team for. And there is no better way to prove this than with the recognition my team is achieving externally. We achieved eight NHBC Pride In the Job Quality Awards in 2015, along with three Seal of Excellence Awards. A Regional Award for the NHBC West Region was also awarded to our Diglis Water Site Manager Andy Shaw, whom, I’m very pleased to report, has since been promoted to Production Manager.I’m also delighted with the feedback from our Employee Survey 2015, where once again we’ve achieved great results. 95 of our colleagues took part in the survey, with an engagement index of 97%. I’ve been truly moved by some of the anonymous comments received through the survey, and have since shared them with the management team and the wider BU.
factors All of our Midlands staff have a ‘can-do’ attitude, with no silo mentality whatsoever, which is a must for a successful business. We measure success through our critical success factors which focus on key areas of our operations. Our focus is to buy more upmarket sites in locations to the south of Birmingham where we can drive a higher average selling price. We finished 2015 with 15 live outlets, and are already working towards opening a further eight sites later this year. In addition to choosing the right locations for our sites, we work really hard to deliver a quality product; and to help with this, over the past few years we’ve been focusing on smoothing our completion volumes throughout the year thus reducing the pressure my teams are under whilst ensuring a smoother handover. This has meant that we only had 13 legal completions left to do from the 4th December 2015 and is down to great teamwork between Legal, Production and Sales. This consistency throughout the year and teamwork is also helping with our customer satisfaction, with a TW adjusted score of 93% amongst our homeowners. Strong relationships with subcontractors and suppliers are also key for our business; not only are we securing some of the best deals in the area at the moment, but we are also developing lasting partnerships and valuable contacts for the future.
For the past three years we’ve been organising annual networking events for around 60 of our key contractors and suppliers, including fly-fishing days (which are great fun!) and charity golf days. Through these events we have raised nearly £50,000 for the Oncology department at our local Birmingham Children’s Hospital, benefiting our charity partners too. Another factor in our success story is our open communication and teamwork. I always encourage my team to share their challenges and successes and learn from them. Whenever I am in the office at Warwick, I always take time to walk round and chat with each member of the team, as I like to see for myself how everyone is doing and just simply catch up over a cuppa. I firmly believe that an important part of leading a team is being visible and ensuring that both the regional Board and I are seen as approachable to all the members of the BU.
Our Midlands’ ‘family’ has a fantastic team spirit and each and every one of our colleagues supports each other when needed. The majority of you will know that our team has been under a lot of emotional pressure recently, with a number of our colleagues going through some very tragic personal events. However, this has actually made us even stronger as we have helped each other get through these very difficult times. I am very proud of the whole team for sticking together and continuing to deliver fantastic results for our business.