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IDP: Giving subcontractors a voice

One of the important features of the Innovation Driven Procurement (IDP) programme is the opportunity for subcontractors to highlight issues that they face in their daily work and identify areas for improvement, be that within their organisation specific processes and working culture or something relevant to the broader network of project partners.

The IDP training programme is a joint Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and Morgan Sindall Construction project funded by the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) commission to improve procurement practices for homebuilding and infrastructure projects.

The project includes face to face training workshops on site, online training, case study showcase, and tailored coaching and development of innovation support.

Morgan Sindall Construction selected Drywall Contractors Ltd (DCL), Imtech, and Titan as the organisations to take part in the face to face training programme, and altogether 30 participants from the three firms attended workshops on site in Birmingham during spring-summer 2022.

Over four sessions, the training developed the participants understanding about workplace motivation, collaborative design and behaviours and attitudes that support collaboration, flow walk, and values and innovation.

Throughout emphasis was on two-way dialogue, and encouraging open discussion about ideas, inspirations, frustrations, and how we could build momentum for sector wide innovation and productivity improvements collaboratively.

We are very keen for people and organisations to realise the productivity gains that can be achieved by softer cultural changes and people-centred management practices as well as technological solutions. Management style was a theme frequently discussed within the face to face workshops as one area in which the participants hoped to see change.

Communication, and access to and sharing of information, and improvement in attitudes and interaction were identified as central to an environment within which the participants could perform to their best ability and bring forward ideas for innovation.

Simply having a conversation about “what is going on” rather than identifying and pointing problems would achieve a big shift in how site teams respond to problem solving. They would like to see managers being receptive to ideas and improvements bottom up – it was a joy to see their motivation to do a good job and do better!

Respect was another theme frequently discussed as essential for creating a working environment where there is no “them and us” and workers feel they are listened to.

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This blog was written by Ani Raiden, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Resource Management at Nottingham Trent University.

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