Skipton Properties Case Study

31 Aug
by Suzie Business Owner & Senior HRBP

Skipton Properties Limited (SPL) has been a client of Breathing Space HR since June 2018.

They, like many construction companies are a family run business, but they stand out from the crowd as it’s headed up by sisters Sarah and Caroline and was founded by their father who set it up in 1986.

SPL approached BSHR to develop their people management, having previously had HR support from a specialist employment solicitor on a reactive basis.

The leaders wished to expand their people management capabilities and ensure that managers were fully supported in dealing with employee issues in a proactive way.

Employment Documentation

BSHR worked with the leadership team to develop an employee handbook and contract of employment which was fit for purpose, but also to ensure that all staff had a signed copy of their employment contract on file.

Designing a clear employee handbook, bespoke to the needs of the company and the construction industry, enabled managers to be more consistent and it gave managers and employees clarity on what is acceptable and not acceptable with the business.

Managers and employees were also clear on the various allowances, employee entitlements and benefits which SPL have for their employees.

Compliance with Right to Work Checks

Working closely with the office manager supported by BSHR a “Right to Work” audit was carried out to ensure that Skipton Properties were legally compliant.

Employee Engagement

SPL wanted to benchmark how employees felt about working for the business.  BSHR supported the Managing Director, creating a survey to help understand and gauge employee engagement levels within the workplace.

Using the feedback from the employees, BSHR have worked with the SLT to form an Employee Engagement Team who meet regularly with the Managing Director and who all work towards specific actions from the feedback provided by the employees.

An interim (temperature check) survey is scheduled to be sent to all employees so that the effects of the actions of the Employee Engagement Team can be measured.

Recruitment & Retention

Due to the tough employment market, onboarding surveys and exit interviews are now being used to help understand how new recruits have found their onboarding experience and why employees leave the company.

BSHR introduced the ‘9 box grid’ to help identify the key roles within Skipton Properties that would be a risk should the role holder leave the company.  We used the analysis to gather further information on the ‘key role’ positions by conducting Stay Interviews to help understand how the employees currently feel about their role.

All the information gathered will enable SPL and BSHR to develop a specific recruitment strategy.

Job descriptions

Every organisation should design job descriptions to ensure that roles are clearly defined and that the activities required in an organisation are carried out effectively without duplication or gaps and to the required standards.

Working with the Office Manager and other managers, Job Descriptions are kept up to date and are fit for purpose. All roles within the company have a job description and regular audits are carried out to ensure the right person has the right job description, to cover potential role movement  (expansion or changes ) within the company.

Dealing with Poor Performance and Conduct

A key concern when dealing with poor performance or conduct on a construction site is that the responsibility falls to site managers and supervisors who often conduct any formal discussions verbally without any follow up in writing to the individuals or any case file notes.

This creates a liability for the business.   If the conduct or poor performance continues, any escalation into disciplinary action is difficult as there is no evidence of a conversation or discussion having taken place, which would weaken the employer’s case should it be challenged legally.

BSHR are in the process of coaching site managers and supervisors to create written notes for discussions and BSHR provides follow-up HR admin support, confirming in writing (from SPL to the employee) the discussion, including the issues raised, any solutions discussed and the consequences of further poor conduct or performance.

Succession Planning/New Approach to Performance Management

The use of the ‘9 box grid’ also helped identify up and coming talent as part of the Performance Management Review.

BSHR worked with the Managing Director on a fresh approach to performance management, by designing bespoke forms and producing a Manager and Employee Guide To Performance Management.  This was launched in 2022 with the first lot of check ins (performance management meetings) with employees carried out in Q1, the new approach was communicated and objectives set for the year ahead.  This is still in the early stages but the indications are that its working well.


BSHR have recommended implementing an HRIS, which will help collate data, reducing paper wastage, help with GDPR and make reporting more accurate. This is under review, with the aim to increase efficiency.


As an industry, construction is renowned for high staff turnover etc.  However Skipton Properties have embraced HR strategy by bringing in corporate standard HR principles to support their people and engaged well with us which is a great foundation to employee retention and making Skipton Properties a great place to work.

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