“It’s a big jump, “Bruce told us, “not so much in technical expertise, though there might be gaps in that, but in the responsibility and the accountability of being a Site Manager. Suddenly the buck stops with them about People, Programme, Health and Safety, Quality, all of it.”
Historically Lovell put an assistant site manager with a site manager and hoped that they learned everything from the site manager that they needed, so when they had a promotion opportunity, they had some good assistant site managers they could promote. “And that’s potluck! You are reliant on whatever skills that site manager has, and they’ll be good at some things and not so good at others. Assistants were picking up all the good things and the bad things.”
Bruce and the senior management team, wanted to design a more structured approach, giving ASM’s the technical skills, so they understood the process, and fill in any gaps in their knowledge. For example, site managers often turned up on a site once the foundations and the ground preparation had been completed, so they missed all of that. But they do need to understand it, and that it’s part of the process. They now get two days on foundations and groundworks, so they know how to manage the process.
“And of course, the simulation centre comes in because part of site management, is about managing the people” Bruce continued. “Whether it’s the Lovell staff on the site, or the sub-contractors, you’re the figurehead and have to deal with the public too when customers come in and they don’t want to deal with the sales advisor, all of that stuff they need to be equipped for.”
“Doing it the old way where you are with the site manager and you hope to see all these things to build up your skills wasn’t fit for purpose really. You learn bad habits, how site managers deal with situations badly, you see them, and there’s nobody external saying “That was dealt with badly”, you just see it and think “Well, that’s what I have to do”. So good habits and bad habits are picked up that way.”
“At the simulation centre they learn how Lovell wants them to do things through the technicalities and the programming and all of that, and how Lovell expects them to deal with people as well. I remember we integrated it into the programme right from the beginning as two of the 16 days, as we recognised that people skills was an important part and felt the simulation centre could meet those people needs.”