6 Highlights from a Successful 2019 for Novus

  17 MARCH, 2020      CORE VALUES , COMPANY UPDATES
Novus 2019 in review

Novus can count the final year of the previous decade as a highly successful one. Here, we’ve picked out 6 of our biggest highlights from 2019.

 

1.       Alan Nixon is Appointed CEO of Novus

2019 saw Alan Nixon take the reigns as CEO for Novus. Alan is a highly enthusiastic, experienced and distinguished construction professional with over 30 years of construction industry experience. In the years leading up to this appointment, Alan fulfilled several Board level positions within the Group before eventually taking his place as CEO.

This appointment is a significant milestone in the history of Novus and was therefore a key highlight of 2019.

 


2.       Strong Financial Performance

Despite difficult market conditions in 2019, the company reported greater-than-projected revenue of £162 Million. The financial result represents another impressive year of growth for Novus, without any borrowing and retaining profit. This can be considered an outstanding result for the company.

In part, this achievement is illustrative of Novus’s stability in the market and sustainable growth model. Where other contractors within the construction industry are seemingly struggling, Novus are going from strength-to-strength and anticipate further growth in 2020. An ambitious but achievable revenue target of £180 million has been set.

In a sector where contractors are folding at an alarming rate , the financial stability, sensible, and sustainable business practices of Novus are the ensuring that the company thrives and is ultimately able to deliver on its promises to clients.

 


3.       Reinforcement of our Company Values

Novus is built on a bedrock of strong family values, having been established by the Seddon brothers in 1897 (learn more about the history of Novus here) and it is a family-run business still today with the shareholders being made up of the John Seddon family. 2019 saw Sophie Seddon become a shareholder. Incredibly, Sophie represents the 5th generation of the Seddon family to be directly involved in company ownership.

It is from this strong sense of family that the strong moral and ethical code of conduct and employee inclusivity is derived. Within the company, this code of ethics is referred to as “The Novus Way” – a way of working that permeates every facet of the organisation, making the company credible, reliable and trustworthy.

Never more was the commitment to these values reinforced than in 2019 through the development of the Novus “Shield”. To ensure that these qualities are enacted in all areas of the business, in 2019, all Novus colleagues committed to upholding the attitudes emblemised in “The Shield” framework. Over the course of 2019, a total 250 Novus colleagues and 150 of our subcontractors attended the nationwide training roadshows.

Through the company’s commitment to its customers came the “It’s Our Job” initiative. Customer service is enshrined in the Novus pillars of conduct and that’s why as part of this campaign, the company trained every colleague throughout the business in customer service excellence, irrespective of position or role.

Every Novus team member was asked to commit to the ‘Valuing Our Customer Pledge” a promise to provide each and every customer with a great experience. Going forward, Novus are committed to being a market leader in customer experience. Feedback is always welcome and if you have any to share, please do get in touch via our online contact form.

Additionally, 2019 saw significant developments in the Health, Safety & Wellbeing policies of Novus. Headed up by new Novus recruit Adrian Honeywell, the SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environment and Quality) initiative spawned activities created with the sole aim of caring for colleagues, customers, and communities.

Internal strength in Compliance has led to our service to clients being expanded. As this work stream in particular is a present and high-profile issue in wider society, it is an area where Novus can offer additional value to clients now and in the future.

 


4.       Social Value and Corporate Social Responsibility

As a socially responsible and morally driven business, Novus are continually getting involved in social value projects throughout the UK, working with local community groups and charities nationwide. Novus are committed to becoming a leader in Corporate Social Responsibility within the sector.

In 2019, Novus fended off competition from some of the biggest names in our industry to win two prestigious awards in the shape of the CSR Initiative of the Year Award from – Construction News Talent Awards and The Community Engagement Award at the National Building Awards.

These accolades were awarded for Novus’s flagship CSR initiative: the “Big 5 Campaign”, a venture that saw 5 deserving community projects receive £20,000 each to help towards the cost of the renovation works. (see all the videos from the BIG 5 Campaign here).

In addition, December 2019 saw Novus get into the festive spirit as each site encouraged to “Give a Gift” of time and/or money to the homeless and less fortunate. Charities that tackle homelessness and poverty benefitted from the campaign, alongside care homes and various children’s charities all were the recipients of gifts from Novus colleagues.  

As charitable and social value initiatives are at the heart of operations at Novus, we will continue to work closely with our partners and local communities to help make lives better for the people who live there. Keep up-to-date with our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities by visiting the CSR section of the Novus website.

 


5.       Boosting Career Progression and Development Opportunities

In 2019, Novus worked hard to build a legacy where people can live, work, and thrive; recognising that its workforce are the lifeblood of the business. Through robust succession planning and a culture of developing talent from within, came new opportunities for colleagues to grow and progress within the business. Novus is focussed on becoming organisation that continually nurtures talent and facilitates career progression.

This tradition of talent development is showcased by the high volume of long serving colleagues who have moved into more senior roles within the business in recent times. Seven new Operations Managers were appointed alongside Steve Fitt as Senior Operations Manager, Sam Frame, Chris Murphy, and Gary Clay became Heads of Operations, and Sophie Seddon moved into a senior leadership role as Head of Client Engagement and Communications.

Additionally, Novus also proved to be competitive in the recruitment market in 2019, attracting experienced and talented individuals to fill newly created positions in the business, such as Adrian Honeywell (Head of SHEQ) and Hannah O’Brien (Marketing Communications Manager).

The performance and sustainable growth of the company has enabled Novus to invest in strengthening all areas of the business.

The employment and training of apprentices is in the DNA of the company and is seen as vitally important to the future of the business and the industry as a whole. Novus has been employing apprentices since 1938 and are renown for the quality of their training.

Last year, Novus employed 18 apprentices across a range of disciplines including Joinery and Multi-Trades. You can hear from 3 apprentices from the class of 2019 in our blog article here.

Novus is committed to becoming a great place to work and creating great teams is a key area of focus for the business. To that end, Novus launched an employee engagement survey, which was designed to garner valuable input from colleagues across all areas of the organisation.  There was a massive response that saw 74% of the total workforce give their feedback and incite improvements in areas of operation such as internal communication.

 


6.       Contract Wins

Novus remains a commercially attractive organisation as was demonstrated by some big contract wins, extensions and success stories. New contracts with Johnnie Johnson, South Derbyshire, New Forrest, NHS Boston and Lincoln, Midland Heart, Fortior Homes, Swindon Borough Council, and Unitas, along with the contract extension with Manchester University all represented significant business for the company. These examples are just a flavour of the major wins that Novus achieved in 2019, all leading contributing towards the ultimate strategic intent of the company.

The level of repeat business and customer retention was particularly pleasing, as it demonstrates our focus on nurturing client relationships and commitment to being a leader in customer experience.  

 

2019 proved to be a great year for Novus and these were some of many highlights for the business. We are hopeful that 2020 proves to be even more successful.

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PLANNING THE POST-LOCKDOWN OFFICE: WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE?

For those of us working from home at the moment, going into the office every day may already seem like a distant memory. However, with lockdown measures seemingly beginning to ease, in this article we are turning our attention to what the post-lockdown office might look like. Empty buildings As a response to Government advice, on 23rd March 2020, many offices (including Novus) closed their doors and have been stood abandoned ever since. Whilst working from home for many businesses is proving to be effective in the short term, it may not be a viable long-term option. There is little doubt that the outbreak of Covid-19 has changed how we will work and interact with colleagues within the office environment for a long time to come (perhaps even permanently). And, when office workers do eventually return, the initial deep clean and physical adaptations of the building might just be the tip of the iceberg. Segregation of the workforce To comply with social distancing, semi-permanent measures to keep employees apart are going to be first and foremost in the thinking of office planners. In an ideal scenario, workstations will be reconfigured to ensure that the minimum 2 metre gap between colleagues is maintained and hot desking will be abandoned to limit potential spread. Clearly, this could present a challenge for a number of businesses who simply lack the office space or require extensive reconfiguration in order to implement such adaptations. In these circumstances 3 solutions spring to mind: 1. Provide physical barriers between colleagues in the form of Perspex (or similar) screens akin to those seen at the checkouts of any given UK supermarket at present. The reception area will certainly need to have this feature in place regardless. 2. Set up 2m workstations and rota the workforce so that only a fraction of colleagues have access to the office at any given time. The other colleagues will continue to work from home. 3. Continue the status quo of having the workforce work from home and only use the office when a face-to-face meeting is preferred or deemed essential. Novus have extensive experience in refitting, refurbishing, and reconfiguring working office environments. We can help create physical barriers between office workstations and assist with planning, contact us today to make an enquiry >> Monitoring body temperature Novus have already successfully implemented temperature checks on construction sites and this measure looks set to become a feature of the daily office routine post-lockdown. For good reason too, as one of the main symptoms of the Covid-19 infection is a body temperature greater than 37.8 degrees Celsius, this is a simple precaution to prevent potentially infected colleagues from entering the premises. Whilst our sites have been using infra-red guns to check temperatures on arrival, some larger offices and organisations have also been considering installing thermal cameras to monitor their workforce. Sanitising regularly Permanent sanitisation fixtures at all entrances and exits are likely to become a mainstay of the new office environment. The Covid-19 prevention strategy has always been centred around keeping hands as clean as possible through regular hand washing and sanitation, so having these dispensers installed throughout the building a relative ‘no-brainer’. Employers might choose to issue their employees with their own supply of hand sanitiser at the start of every week as further encouragement to keep those hands clean. Furthermore, we could see each desk issued with cleaning supplies so that regular sanitising of phones, keyboards, and mice takes place throughout the day. Plus, sharing of stationary is obviously big no-no (bad news for pen/pencil stealers). Touchless doors and facilities As door handles provide a potential surface touch point for the spread of coronavirus, office planners might opt to replace their doors with handleless or automatic solutions where possible. Pushing the door with your body rather than your hand, removes that touch point. Additionally and particularly in high traffic areas such as the bathrooms, adaptations such as sensor activated taps will be preferred over handled models, in addition to touchless soap dispensers and hand dryers. Cross-traffic reduction measures The restriction of movement throughout the building to minimise the occurrence of close interactions should be expected. This is particularly the case for offices with narrow corridors and stairwells. One-way systems and departmental isolation (i.e. no physical contact between colleagues sitting in different departments) are likely to be measures to be introduced in many offices. Even the way we eat at work will change. Set break/lunch times and socially distanced canteens (or even the complete closure of) are changes that minimise cross-traffic in the office environment. Bringing lunch and drinks from home will be encouraged and potentially enforced by new rules and communal hot drink stations, at least for the time-being, will likely disappear. Bring a flask with your hot drink to work instead. Tighter controls on visitors and meetings Mandatory site inductions and Covid-19 safety briefings akin to those seen on Novus construction sites, are almost certainly going to be a requirement for visitors to the office. Alongside the compulsory temperature checks for every person on-site, visitors will be required to call ahead and arrange allocated appointment times. It stands to reason that; tighter scheduling controls will assist in keeping offices at safe occupancy levels. Novus can help We are committed to helping businesses and offices reopen safely as lockdown measures begin to ease. For more information about the range of services we can provide, please contact us or visit our Covid-Secure web page.

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