Thomas Vale, a young Victorian engineer, made his name 138 years ago when he designed and built a cast-iron bridge spanning the River Severn at Stourbridge in Worcestershire. His eponymous company is still providing the Midlands region — and further afield — with construction and civil engineering solutions. The bridge, which remains standing today, is decorated with shields designed by Vale and which act as the group's logo.
The company aims to stand out from its construction industry peers not by the usual hard-nosed contractual undercutting but by becoming known as a "quality" contractor. This means that attracting and retaining the best people is fundamental to success — which the firm aims to achieve by being a caring employer. Its staff are the company, and they are entrusted with upholding a cherished reputation.
Attention to training and development is key to letting people know they are valued — £1m has been invested in a dedicated training centre, while employees have at least one personal development review each year. These practices do not go unnoticed; staff think Thomas Vale really tries to help its employees (a 77% positive score in our survey). They think their job is good for their personal growth, aren't bored with the work they do and know their contribution is valuable to the company's success (all three questions gaining a 76% positive score).
All company directors have been promoted through the business, with some of them starting out as humble trainees. Managing director Tony Hyde has worked at Thomas Vale for 24 years, six of them as its boss. Not only does this show real personal development is possible, it also helps earn the respect of team members. Questions relating to the leadership and senior management of the company rate highly in the survey. Staff think senior managers truly live the company's values, scoring this point 76% positive; they are confident in their leadership skills (75%); have a great deal of faith in Hyde (77%) and think he runs the company based on sound principles (76%).
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