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Balfour Beatty: “Innovation is how we ensure we remain agile”

5 minute read

An interview with the winners of the Best Use of Voice of the Employee award

At our Engage Awards ceremony in November, Balfour Beatty earned the Best Use of Voice of the Employee award for its My Contribution programme. According to their entry, the ‘My C’ programme enables employees to share their ideas to help improve the business. In an interview, the award winners discussed this programme, sharing the various roles of the ‘Team MyC’ volunteers and its impact on productivity and engagement.


Balfour Beatty is a leading international infrastructure group with 25,000 employees across the UK, US, and Hong Kong. Trusted by our customers to deliver sustainable solutions and strengthen communities, we finance, develop, build, maintain and operate the increasingly complex and critical infrastructure that supports national economies and delivers projects at the heart of local communities. 

In 2015, Balfour Beatty launched its Build to Last business transformation programme. The strategy drives continuous, measurable improvement against five goals: Lean, Expert, Trusted, Safe and Sustainable to help drive performance. Critical to the success of Build to Last is ensuring that every member of our workforce is engaged and has a personal stake in making the business stronger, through developing and supporting an ‘innovation mindset’ amongst our employees. Innovation is how we ensure we remain agile. It is part of our culture, an investment in the future of our business and helps us to continue to deliver for our customers.

My Contribution (MyC) is the channel which makes this a reality. It allows us to tap into a rich seam of creative thinking from people who understand the business better than anyone and want to make a meaningful contribution – giving every employee a voice and the empowerment to take personal action to build a better company, by sharing their ideas for improvement and collaborating with colleagues to make them happen. MyC has played a key role in helping Balfour Beatty go from strength to strength over the past eight years.


All our employees are encouraged to share their ideas that can improve how we work, from innovative processes to creating fresh and powerful technology-focused solutions which solve longstanding problems.  

MyC is supported by a network of highly engaged and passionate ’Team MyC’ volunteers from across the business, who help promote My Contribution and inspire people to think ‘outside the box’ and be ‘intrapreneurs’ or innovators within the business.  

More than 440 employees across the company have stepped forward to form ‘Team MyC’, championing and driving the programme in addition to their permanent role.

Each member of Team MyC performs one of six specific roles: 

  • MyC Business Leaders are tasked with driving value from My Contribution across their business area.
  • MyC Leads help submitters push their ideas forward, maintain momentum, communicate regularly, report progress and showcase achievements.
  • MyC Ambassadors are our advocates helping colleagues to understand what MyC is and how it works and encouraging employees to get involved and share their ideas.
  • MyC Subject Experts and MyC Decision Makers help evaluate and measure the impact ideas will potentially have and decide on what we take forward.
  • MyC Comms Leads ensure My Contribution is being effectively promoted and communicated across the business units, our functions and our projects.

Together, Team MyC are the change makers of Balfour Beatty, encouraging everyone to get involved, helping colleagues to develop and deliver their ideas, and supporting them to promote and celebrate their achievements and successes.


MyC has made a significant contribution to our Build to Last strategy. It has become a fundamental part of our culture and how we work and is helping us to build a market-leading Balfour Beatty. 

In 2019, we introduced a new approach using a Yammer (now Viva Engage) based platform in association with employee idea specialists, Sideways 6. This provided an open and transparent listening channel for real-time collaboration, crossing over functions, business units and geographic locations and bringing together experts from across our business to crowd-source ideas, innovate and problem solve. With MyC on Viva Engage, people can share their ideas from any device, wherever they are and whenever inspiration strikes.

Since 2019, we’ve received more than 13,200 ideas and delivered more than 3,140 solutions that are positively impacting the strength of Balfour Beatty, and critically, the experience of our employees.

My Contribution has positively impacted all our Build to Last pillars – Lean, Expert, Trusted, Safe and Sustainable. We have generated more than £64 million of cost savings, £9 million of cash, 464,000 hours of time saved, and 1,470 ideas delivered in the Better Place to Work category that have helped us improve inclusivity, health and wellbeing, safety, and create a more sustainable business.  

We’ve seen a consistent year-on-year rise in employee engagement. 73% of employees feel they can share ideas to improve the company (up from 66% in 2019), and our overall employee engagement index has increased from 63% to 81%.


When it comes to identifying ways to improve our business, the best people to ask are our people.

Our senior teams must own My Contribution and be listening leaders to encourage participation.

It must be easy for people to get involved and it must feel safe to do so – employees need to know their ideas will be listened to and fairly considered and assessed.

Every idea must be acknowledged, and feedback provided so employees understand that the idea has been appreciated and fully considered.

Not every idea can be taken forward and even good ideas will need fine-tuning and further development.  

There are no bad ideas – even where an idea itself is not successful, it can become part of another idea or can stimulate discussion about a different way of solving the same problem.

Ideas being taken forward must be implemented swiftly and celebrated to ensure people feel their ideas are valued, to maintain momentum and to encourage others to submit their own ideas.

There must be some form of recognition. Those who have made a difference by taking part should be acknowledged and given full credit.

Employees need regular reminders and encouragement as well as examples of successful ideas to inspire them to have their own. 

Since 2015, My Contribution has helped transform Balfour Beatty into an industry leader. Through the efforts of our employees, it has become part of our DNA and represents what it means to work at Balfour Beatty.


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