Hydrock: Empowering people through Job Coaching - Business in the Community

Hydrock: Empowering people through Job Coaching

How Hydrock, which is now part of Stantec, used Business in the Community’s (BITC) flagship job coaching programme to fulfil its promises to its people and communities.

Hydrock is now a part of Stantec, a global leader in sustainable design and engineering. Hydrock is a leading integrated engineering design, energy, and sustainability consultancy. The organisation’s mission is to bring sustainable solutions to major infrastructure projects and landmark buildings across the UK.

Hydrock’s Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) and overall sustainability strategy is based around the Five Capitals model of sustainability which translates into its people, communities, projects, operations, and the planet. The organisation cares about creating opportunities for its people, delivering long-term value to society, and minimising the impact its work has on the environment.

Business in the Community’s (BITC) flagship job coaching programme is designed to encourage businesses across the UK to support jobseekers by providing them with six free 60-90 minute coaching sessions. 53% of the participants who completed the programme either gained employment or decided to pursue further education or training. Hydrock felt that the programme was a great opportunity to fulfil its promises to its people and its communities.

It is hugely valuable to the business to be able to include our participation in Job Coaching in our bid submissions and subsequent contract delivery. It is the single highest value hourly activity we could participate in.

Tilly, Senior ESG and Social Value Consultant, Hydrock

Reflections from Hydrock’s job coaches

Nine Hydrock employees have joined the programme since the start of 2023, including Tilly and her colleague Simón. Becoming a job coach gave them both a means to explore coaching and mentoring for their own professional development while giving something back to the community.

Tilly’s story

Tilly is Hydrock’s Senior ESG & Social Value Consultant. She joined Hydrock as an early careers coordinator, supporting young people with their career progression. Since then, she has progressed in her own career and is keen to extend support to those who experience greater challenges in finding their place in the world of employment. As a relatively new manager herself, Tilly also welcomed the development opportunity that being a job coach presents.

Looking back over her experience and first steps into the programme, she admits to feeling slightly daunted when signing up for the three-hour online training session. Yet on joining she was immediately inspired by the enthusiastic welcome from the facilitator. She found the whole session “really excellent”, although she doubted whether she would ever use the coaching support pack once she’d left the training session.

This changed when she started her coaching. Her client was very positive and enthusiastic, and they immediately started to discuss goals. Through discussion they refined them, so they were tangible and realistic.

But recognising that things are not always as they seem initially, Tilly decided not to rush forward too quickly and instead followed the slow and structured approach that was suggested in the support materials. She took the time to get to know her client and their circumstances and demonstrated empathy and understanding of the mental and emotional challenges that jobseekers often face.

Together they recognised that focusing on building confidence was going to be important. Taking this time gave the client space to consider their circumstances and take action to ensure they were well-prepared mentally and emotionally for their job search.

Tilly describes how powerful learning about ‘assumed knowledge’ through the programme was: “It blew my mind – I had no idea this was a thing!” she says, referring to the knowledge and know-how about the recruitment process that employers might expect a candidate to possess. This ‘assumed knowledge,’ such as understanding specific terminology or what should be included on a CV or job application, can create a barrier for an otherwise promising candidate.

After only a short time as a coach, Tilly noticed herself applying her new coaching skills in day-to-day interactions with colleagues.

Simón’s story

Simón is Hydrock’s Technical Development Director in fire safety engineering, as well as an accomplished engineer. Simón has worked, studied, and lived in different countries and English is his second language, so he understands what it is like to face difficulties presented by these differences.

Mentors have played an important part in shaping his career over several years and an internal training course for managers two years ago gave him the specific trigger to explore the role of mentoring from the other side. For Simón, working with a client who faced the overwhelming challenges of settling her family in a new country and re-establishing her career, helped him shift his perspective. He sees the process as deep learning which has enriched his perspective on management as being a two-way process.

As I listened to her, I realised it was less about what I think and more about listening to her and what she thinks.

Simón, Technical Development Director, Hydrock

He feels he has personally fulfilled his own goals for volunteering on the programme. He has seen growth in his skillset and in his teaching and mentoring. This has helped him in the design and delivery of technical development programmes for fire safety engineers.

Professional development opportunity in the workplace

As an employer, it is important for Hydrock to create the ideal environment for intellectual stimulation and enjoyment at work through new experiences. The organisation curates a range of programmes with emphasis on soft skills such as emotional intelligence, leadership styles, coaching, teamwork and building relationships for employees wherever they are on their journey, from early career to senior leadership.

Tilly and Simón’s participation was a practical development opportunity, as well as contributing to social value – a multiple win for Hydrock.

Take action

  • Interested in being part of a UK-wide mobilisation of businesses, the largest network of purposeful leaders transforming lives and helping our planet and communities thrive? Find out more here.
  • Already part of the BITC network and interested in this opportunity to achieve social impact through employee volunteering? Register your interest in our Job Coaching programme.