Willmott Dixon surpassed its target for social investment with record highest ever figure last year

Willmott Dixon's goal to improve the social fabric of communities where it operates saw it smash its annual record for investment, with the value of activities in 2014 measured at £2.27m (verified by Bureau Veritas)

The Willmott Dixon Foundation Review 2015 has a full run down of how this was achieved (view a page turning version here). This equates to an investment of £675 per employee.

Rick Willmott said: “Since being founded in 1852, we've wanted to be a force for positive good, strengthening communities and supporting people's ability to reach this potential. We have an important role to play in society's well-being and I'm proud of how our people embrace this; in 2014, 59% of our 3200 employees took part in activities which made a difference. Colleagues also raised a further £189,000 for their own personal good causes.”

A Willmott Dixon team revitalizing a community garden that was derelict

Willmott Dixon also set a target of enhancing the life chances of 3,000 young people by the end of this year, something which it is on the way to achieving.

While many companies measure and report what they do by counting outputs, for example, numbers of apprenticeships or community projects, Willmott Dixon believes this leads to a focus on the volume of interventions rather than whether activities actually make a material difference. For example, offering work experience to people who are socially excluded is more challenging but potentially has a greater impact, and this s why Willmott Dixon is one of the first companies to measure its work based on impact to lives and society rather than just volume.

Rick Willmott also believes his company’s ambitious community investment programme is reinforcing the company’s values – a true virtuous circle.

“Working with local communities helps our people develop a range of skills, such as team working, communication and leadership. It also helps them develop an understanding of our customers, clients and neighbours, which in turn helps us to improve what we do.”