The impact of GIRI training - three members share their views

9 Jul 21

The rollout and impact of GIRI training courses on team working and project outcomes was the focus of three presentations by GIRI member companies at the recent members’ meeting.

These training courses help embed a culture of quality and ‘right first time’, engaging staff in the pursuit of zero error. Three of the companies who have chosen to deliver GIRI training widely, explained the extent of their programme, why they chose the particular training course, what they hope it will achieve, and the challenges of implementing it during the pandemic.

Supervisory & management skills

Milena Davis, academy manager at VINCI Construction UK, focused on the Supervisory & Management Skills course, which is currently being rolled out to staff in Taylor Woodrow, the company’s civil engineering division. Taylor Woodrow promotes ‘right first time’ internally and wanted to further enhance its quality culture; having partnered with GIRI during the pilot programme, subsequently decided to roll the training out across the business.

We want to deliver it to 150 team members and 50 members of our supply chain, so last year we successfully applied for CITB funding and created a training plan to deliver modules one and two for supervisors and managers,” explained Milena. 

The plan to start in January 2021 was delayed due to pandemic restrictions, given that Taylor Woodrow wanted to deliver the course face-to-face.

“Module one is being delivered now, and will be followed by module two in a few months,” said Milena. “Members of our senior leadership team have joined the sessions and the roll out has gone very well. We carried out a quality culture survey ahead of the training and this will be repeated once it is complete along with GIRI’s post-training survey to look at how the training has helped enhance our commitment to quality.” 

Training across interfaces

Bouygues UK senior manager Rastislav Blaha revealed that the company has incorporated GIRI’s training programme as part of its quality strategy and is rolling out all three courses across five specific projects, selected based on their size, maturity, and location. Bouygues also ran a quality survey early in the programme and will run a second at the end of the programme to measure the impact.

All the training has been delivered remotely using Zoom. “This has worked very well with the leadership and interfaces streams,” said Rastislav. “We have supported all the training with 90-minute ‘learning that matters’ and 60-minute ‘conversations that matter’ sessions once a month to talk and share best practice.”

Bouygues started with the leadership training, which is being delivered in two full-day sessions six months apart. This is followed by the interfaces training course, the first module of which has so far been delivered across all five projects.

Remote delivery created some logistical challenges, but there were also significant advantages. “Delivery in this way simulates the virtual environment in which we have had to work for the last year and a half. Many of our conversations with our supply chain take place in this virtual environment, and the Lego exercise in particular brings home the communication challenges and the importance of getting the right message across, so it was very useful,” Rastislav revealed.

The target participants for this course are some of the busiest people on site, so the key is to get senior leadership and site managers involved, to encourage people to attend, he said.

Although the rollout is only partway through, Rastislav said that the programme has helped to make quality and zero error key themes within the business. “We have seen some great discussions, in the training and afterwards. It encourages open conversations and sharing of experiences; the behavioural aspect enables this very effectively. We can discuss what we have done wrong, but also what we have done right and what should be replicated across our projects.”


Lynden Howarth from Galliford Try closed the training discussion with a presentation focussed on GIRI’s leadership training.

“There are four cornerstones to this course,” he explained. “The first is communication, understanding how this affects teams and how it can lead to or avoid error. The second is behaviour – we need to understand why behaviour can impact whether we prevent or create error.

“The third cornerstone is challenging optimism bias – our inbuilt belief that everything will be ok. This training teaches us how to remove those rose-tinted glasses and take a realistic view, leading to the ‘Get it Wrong’ exercise or ‘pre-mortem’ which seeks to identify all the things that could go wrong and what the impact would be. This exercise helps us to understand what went wrong, why, and come up with an action plan for the project before it actually starts.”

Galliford Try has been a member of GIRI for four years and was involved in the testing phase for the training, delivering 12 leadership courses to 104 delegates. Lynden said that the company is now in the phase of embedding the GIRI principles into selected projects and to support this has delivered three additional leadership courses, all remotely.

He highlighted an example of how the training had been used to benefit a specific project, which involved the top-down construction of a road bridge with 200 piles that were subsequently excavated to create an underpass.

“A leadership module for this project in September 2019 identified piling as a potential issue,” he recalled. “Issues with piling on a previous project had caused significant delays and additional costs so we wanted to avoid that happening again. Fast forward a few months to the second phase of the project - by this time we had the piling subcontractor onboard and they came along to the workshop. They really engaged with the process, and the result is that we put 213 piles in, we had no issues with the piling, the excavation has gone really well, and the project is on time.

“We wanted to make sure we didn’t repeat a problem and we used GIRI training to engage with our supply chain so that we didn’t end up in that situation again – and we didn’t.”

Find out more about GIRI training here or watch our short video here.



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