Blog: People Development SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - 'The Artelia Way'

30 May 2019

Sponsored by Cheesmur Building Contractors

'The Artelia Way'

Leadership change at Artelia UK triggered ‘The Artelia Way’ - a new way of looking at people development, recruitment and succession planning, which has breathed new energy into the company over the past two years. 2016 was a difficult year for Artelia UK as they faced cut-throat competition, falling revenues and low staff morale that saw a flow of good people leave the organisation. Change was needed and that happened with the appointment of Mark Day as Managing Director in November 2016. Determined to restore pride in Artelia, Mark, who has been with the company for 18 years, and fellow Board Members, Tim Naughton and Ian Bailey, set about developing a strategy that recognised the true value of people and focused on long-term talent management to improve skills, morale and raise a new generation of potential leaders.

Fundamental to the ‘Artelia Way’ strategy is a restructured Graduate Programme, now properly recognises graduates as the future of the company and provides accredited training routes to chartership. Additionally, the senior management team has been restructured, giving increased responsibility for delivery, business development and resourcing to a valued team of project directors. Mark has made it clear that anyone can achieve at Artelia and that home-grown talent comes first when a senior vacancy arises, thereby showing people there is a clear succession pipeline. The shift in culture and the resulting return to profit has been dramatic and exciting for all Artelia Staff.

The step change was achieved by:

  • Looking at how skills needs have changed in their sectors and talking to clients about their expectations
  • Talking to their people about what personal development means to them.
  • Restructuring their Graduate Programme, following conversations with graduates, to make it more supportive of their professional pathway (RICS or APM).
  • Approaching the Association for Project Management and working with them to develop an APM Accredited Project Management Development Programme.
  • Involving people at all levels in mentoring, e.g. those who have just achieved RICS or APM Chartership.
  • Giving the under-30s a say in the company through the Young Professionals Forum.
  • Encouraging everybody to pursue professional qualifications like the APM Chartered Project Professional.
  • The Board sharing a common language around expected behaviours and encouraging people to play an active role in Artelia’s growth.
  • Making Artelia a fun place to work, with events that encourage people to make connections.

The impact has been dramatic:

  • Return to profitability in the first year, consolidated in 2018
  • Annual staff survey showing an upward trend across all metrics. There is a strong perception of having ‘opportunities to develop’ and a ‘high desire to ‘seek and pursue opportunities’.
  • 100% retention of all 2017 and 2018 Graduates. Staff turnover is down significantly from 24% in 2016 to 13% in 2018.
  • Strengthened succession pipeline: in 2018, eight graduates were promoted. This is equivalent of 73% of Graduate intake from the past three years.
  • Every single employee at Artelia participated in paid-for training in 2018, with a training investment of £91k. The budget for 2019 is over £100k, showing year-on-year growth.


Artelia has achieved a step change in its thinking and approach to people development, which involves the whole business in a partnership where everyone feels responsible for assisting colleagues to learn, grow and achieve. The result is:

  • Employees who feel recognised, supported and empowered to deliver the company’s growth targets, take on new challenges and make positive changes for the betterment of everyone at Artelia – for example through employee-led Mates in Mind Campaign, The Artelia Diversity Network, and Volunteering.
  • A turnaround in financial performance
  • Improved retention – loss of valued staff down 11% from 24% in 2016 to 13% in 2018

For more details:

Visit Artelia

The SECBE 2019 People Development Award is sponsored by Cheesmur.

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