Blog: SME of the Year SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - PiLON

04 June 2019

Sponsored by CIOB

PiLON - delivering excellence through innovation and talent

PiLON is a main contractor with over 14 years’ experience in delivering social housing re-refurbishment projects across London and the South East. Since its the inception in 2004, the business continued to grow due to their management strategies and implemented by the leadership team. In 2018 the business had a turnover of £14m and set to grow to £19m by 2020. To ensure sustainable business growth in challenging economic times, it has been imperative that PiLON has a focused and targeted approach to delivering works for clients. 

There has also been extensive attention over the past few years on the increasingly negative effects of a bad work/life balance on mental health. So, the challenges for PiLON were: How do you navigate a difficult economic environment, one which has seen the majority of their public sector client base see reductions in their budgets and spend, and projects being cancelled? How do you develop and grow the business, how do you exceed client expectations while saving them money, and ensure the mental wellbeing of staff?

In more detail

PiLON’s success is driven by the calibre of its people. Their direct delivery model continues to be successful, aiming to offer a unique experience. All their trades people work directly for PiLON, enabling them to maintain high standards of quality and professionalism. Risk is reduced to clients through their direct delivery model, as it enables them to sufficiently resource requirements at relatively short notice, effectively and efficiently managing busy periods. Through a supportive work environment and investment in technology, staff work smarter with increased satisfaction.

Since 2016, PiLON has had an Employee and Wellbeing manager, Mihaela Moldoveanu. The mindfulness and meditation sessions introduced last year by the team were successful (attended by 75% of staff) and they have continued as a permanent ongoing benefit. Staff can attend one session per month and sessions take place during lunch breaks.

Staff are valued at PiLON, and they hope their initiatives help motivate them to do their best work. For example, they train their Resident Liason Officers (RLOs) to become Digital Champions in order to deliver digital awareness training to residents. PiLON has produced a series of ‘Digital How-to-Guides’ for residents covering everything from how to do online shopping to how to write and send an email. All their RLOs are trained in delivering the necessary digital training to residents, where residents have been given PiLON tablets. To encourage RLO engagement and participation, they are incentivised on a quarterly basis for the number of residents they have trained and are rewarded with vouchers to spend online. This initiative has enabled their RLOs to achieve greater job satisfaction because they are ‘giving something back’. For example, one of their RLOs helped an isolated older person contact friends, helping her set up a Facebook account to reconnect with people she had lost touch with - all through their free tablet they were gifted through PiLON's works.

Aiming for effective communication is embedded within PiLON’s culture. They note all staff across the business had their part to play in creating the recent growth plan for the business - extending beyond the confines of senior management. At PiLON, each head of department held focus groups with their teams to help shape the plan and feedback their collective thoughts on the strategy.

Staff are the heart of PiLON – they are 'PiLON people: Proud to be PiLON'. Many people who have left the business have returned. They aim to have a culture of empowerment and involvement running through the business – retaining talent and promoting innovative working, supported by excellent sector leading technological developments.


  • Tangible investment in the health and wellbeing of office and site-based staff by offering a range of benefits to promote better health and drive a healthy work/life balance.
  • 100% of staff have active Development and Objective Plans in place, to capture and nurture talent – creating greater job satisfaction and building company loyalty.
  • Using technology and simple changes to develop and maintain a happy, healthy workforce has resulted in delivering customer satisfaction in excess of 97% across all projects, with over 90% of clients happy to recommend their service.

For more details:

Visit PiLON

The SECBE 2019 SME of the Year Award is sponsored by CIOB.

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