London-based property developer St. James Urban Living, part of the Berkeley Group, has achieved the coveted "Investors in People" (IIP) Standard, recognising the company's active role in effectively managing and developing its people.
The Standard provides a framework that helps companies to improve performance and realise objectives through the efficient management and development of their people. Paul Hopkins, Managing Director of St. James Urban Living, notes: "Everyone agrees that people are an organisation's greatest asset, and for an organisation to succeed everyone has to perform well. To achieve this, people need the right knowledge, skills and motivation to work efficiently.
To have been awarded the status of 'Investors in People' is a tremendous achievement and one which every member of staff at St James Urban Living can be proud of. In an industry such as this other priorities can sometimes take precedent, yet St. James Urban Living has shown that a property developer can be an example of not just good, but the very best practice."
For St. James Urban Living, achieving IIP involved setting a framework and series of core values for all of the company's staff, alongside the introduction of a series of Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) relating back to the company's business plan. Because of this approach, St. James Urban Living has seen a steady improvement throughout all of its operations, but particularly in the area of Health and Safety, which is an excellent achievement for businesses involved in construction.
Paul Hopkins comments: "The process has helped us to create consistency across all of our operations including Head Office staff and the various site teams operating on developments, and has very much been a process of value creation, not just in terms of the people working at St James but in their approach to the business.
By setting a clear framework for our staff through IIP, we have been able to set targets, provide regular feedback and subsequently formulate improvement plans. The working efficiency of the company now stands at 98.8% against a target that was set at the point of agreeing the business plan of 89%."
The official Investors in People assessor's comment noted that: "The people that I spoke to at St James Urban Living were proud to work for the company and valued the open communication climate and the support for professional development".
In the future, Paul notes that St James Urban Living will be reviewing its business plan in light of the lessons learnt and in anticipation of the changing market: "In these challenging times within our industry, it will be even more important to communicate with our staff to ensure that all team members understand our future business plans. As training needs will no doubt change and given the rapid developments in legislation, building techniques and training, Investors in People will help us to achieve these new goals and maintain a happy, motivated workforce."
St James was originally founded in 1996 as a joint venture between Thames Water and The Berkeley Group Holdings PLC. In 2006, St James became a fully owned subsidiary of The Berkeley Group. In consideration of the complexity and inner city locations of many of its developments the previously known division of St James North Thames was renamed St James Urban Living - to reflect its core business.