Quick facts

About Willmott Dixon Construction

ALEX HEATH, A senior build manager at Willmott Dixon Construction, is looking at carpet samples. It’s attention to details such as this that makes up the richly varied job he does. “There’s a reason I’ve been here nine years,” he says. “This is genuinely a good company to work for.”

Heath is based in Sevenoaks, Kent, leading the construction of the first new grammar school in England for 50 years — an annexe of the Weald of Kent Grammar School in Tonbridge. He joined the firm’s three-year trainee scheme from university. “I always said I didn’t want to sit behind a desk for 40 hours a week,” he says.

Group chief executive Rick Willmott is the fifth generation of his family to run the firm, founded in 1852. It has a head office in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, and a 1,179-strong workforce operating in 100 locations across the country. People are not bored (82% positive) working on projects that include the renovation of Alexandra Palace in London and housing the Met Office’s supercomputer at Exeter.


What is it like to work for Willmott Dixon Construction

Personal Growth
Personal Growth
WD supports employee development in a number of innovative ways, both inside and outside of the workplace. They have a Personal Learning Fund, meaning individuals with five years’ service can claim up to £750 to put towards any vocational or non-vocational learning of their choice. So far employees have used the fund for many varied courses, including dancing, yachting, Thai boxing and sky-diving. They are currently creating a series of ‘bite size’ training videos. Titles produced so far include: Effective one to one's, Great Inductions, Meaningful Feedback, Behavioural Interviews and Employee Recognition. The videos can be accessed using mobile technology, enabling learners to view them at a convenient time and apply the learning immediately. In addition, the company are currently developing a Training App, which will ultimately be used as a resource by delegates following attendance at the class-based presentation skills course. Post-course, learners will be able to use the App to reflect upon key learning points and receive prompts at appropriate intervals to enable them to plan an effective presentation. If successful, they will be rolling the concept out across many of the other course titles. Finally, the Willmott Dixon Foundation has been established with the goal of creating a lasting legacy by having a positive impact for society and local communities. As a result, they actively encourage employees to use work time to develop new skills by supporting social enterprises, schools, local charities, community groups and local businesses. WD people have learnt, amongst other things, painting, decorating and gardening skills this way!
Giving Something Back
Giving Something Back
The Willmott Dixon Foundation is the vehicle through which the Group focuses its community and social investment work. The company believe that they can add the most value to local communities by donating the time, skills and experience of their staff. They get involved in a range of activities, from helping to refurbish community spaces to giving talks in schools and mentoring unemployed young people to supporting people in work experience. The Willmott Dixon Foundation also gives a contribution to personal fundraising when donations are made to charities through Just Giving, including Action for Children. The Foundation has set the Group a target ‘to enhance the life-chances of 10,000 young people by 2020 (2012 baseline)’. In order to meet this, each local office has its own local target and everyone is expected to contribute to meeting this. Initiatives include buddying, mentoring, taking on apprenticeships, providing work experience and a range of other activities designed to give young people the skills and confidence they need to make their way in the world. A prize is presented each December for the best project. Over the past year, WD have challenged the business to work harder to identify groups who have difficulty gaining or remaining in employment because they believe that in doing so, they potentially give more value back to society. Things that they do include work done with South Yorkshire Police and Turn Around to Work, all to provide work experience placements to young people leaving custody, thereby giving young offenders the chance to turn their lives around. The company provided a 12-week industry programme of practical and theoretical sessions to eight individuals, four of which then worked alongside staff as WD built a flagship custodial facility.
My Company
My Company
The role of the Manager Session at the induction makes sure that every Manager in the business knows how WD expect them to manage reflecting the company values. The vision and values are clearly communicated through the company intranet and annual sustainable development reviews, as well as being measured in performance reviews. The Leadership Team have newsletters that clearly refer to the values and mission. The ‘why house’ was launched at the Construction conference last month. It gives employees an understanding of why WD do what they do and helps them understand the purpose of what they build beyond the bricks and mortar. The house is made up of pillars and each pillar has a team focus on, making sure that communication and action are happening at all times.

Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here


  • Charity Activities
    Charity Activities

    At least 20% of staff are known to undertake charitable activities during business hours without incurring financial loss

  • Maternity

    At least 10 weeks’ full pay or generous alternative

  • Development

    Companies who provide support for non-work related training

Company Statistics

  • UK sites:


  • Staff:


  • Average Age:


  • Earning £35,000+:


  • Staff Turnover:


  • Male : Female:

    83% / 17%


Want to get on the list or be accredited?

Start your engagement journey today and find out what you need to do to earn a Best Companies accreditation or a place on the Best Companies lists.