In an ever-increasingly automated and technological world, it can be too easy to overlook the importance of people and the vital roles they play in securing a business’ future success.

 

Innovation starts with a person having a good idea. Technology – including state-of-the-art software and machinery – is then used to turn this idea into reality. Without the initial human inspiration, this technology, however efficient and intuitive, is entirely redundant.

 

This is one of the core reasons that Sika UK continues to invest in the development of its people.  

As a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see video), we are constantly looking at ways to improve the wide range of bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing and protecting products and systems we supply to the building and automotive sectors and industry.

 

We have invested heavily in our facilities – spending more than £3 million alone in creating a new Research and Development centre at our Preston site in recent years – and continue to invest to upgrade and expand our infrastructure where required.

 

Yet we also know that having state-of-the-art laboratories is not enough to maintain our leading position in the development and production of chemical-based products. We also invest in our people to ensure we have the skills and expertise to deliver innovative solutions to real-life challenges set by our customers, and push the boundaries of what is possible.  

It makes me proud to say that on this front we are having huge success.

 

At Sika UK, we are living our commitment to people development. We understand that people who are competent, capable and confident are generally happier in their roles, and therefore more productive. This is why we place so much emphasis on supporting all of our employees with learning and training.

 

From a range of structured activities, such as apprenticeships, industrial placements and internships, to providing sales training to all sales recruits within the first six months of employment, to non-role based training, such as our well-being course, exploring resilience, stress and the pressures of working in a changing environment, we have courses and activities that fit a wide variety of 21st century needs of any employee.

For the past three years we’ve also been providing leadership development, aimed initially at those in middle and senior management roles. Last year, we evolved this to address the needs of front line management and some others in key roles. Next year, we will customise this content to the wider population as we believe that leadership skills are for everyone.

 

On the professional development front, we’re also working closely with the Institute of Roofing and other professional bodies to discuss certifications and qualifications – ensuring they are as relevant and fit for purpose as possible.

 

Beyond all this, what I’m most proud of is how Sika UK has universally adopted a recognised approach to development – the 70:20:10 model. We have embraced learning as you go rather than relying solely on classroom training. In numbers, we provide focused classroom training (the 10 per cent).  

 

We have trained all our people managers in coaching skills so they can fully support the coaching and mentoring of their teams (the 20 per cent), and we have a framework and appetite to take learning out of the classroom and channel it towards work-directed learning activities (the 70 per cent), all of which allows for diversity and flexibility in learning.  

This approach is paying dividends. Our staff are able to put new skills and knowledge into their everyday behaviours, enabling them to push themselves further and increase their capabilities.

 

We’re also reaping the rewards – our people are growing and so is the business. We believe that the ongoing development of our people will ensure we are best placed to deliver the ongoing development of our products and business as a whole.

 

To find out more about the impact Sika are making every day, visit http://gbr.sika.com/en/group/about-us/sika-everyday.html