Heron Bros. build back better…

The Lens Bitesize is a series of micro episodes from BITC UK featuring senior leaders from the business community. In each episode, Business in the Community host, Nick Corrigan, asks his guests about their responses to the COVID crisis and what can be done to future proof businesses, making them more responsible and equipped to deal with challenges, great and small.

Our guest today is Shauna Young who is the Corporate Responsibility Manager from Heron Bros. Shauna has worked in the construction industry for over 10 years and has a background in surveying, finance, and economics. She recently received her Construction Manager Chartership with CIOB and is a qualified Community Development Practitioner and a Mental Health First Aider. Shauna uses her qualifications and experience to develop and implement Heron Bros responsible business practices.


Listen to the Lens


Nick Corrigan: Welcome to the Lens Bitesize, with me Nick Corrigan. This is a bite size version of the Business in the Community Lens podcast. In this series I interview a business leader to find out how they have responded to the pandemic over the last weeks and months. My guest today is Shauna Young, CSR Manager at Heron Bros. Welcome Shauna.

Shauna Young: Hi Nick, thank you for having me today.

Nick Corrigan: Remind us what does Heron Bros do?

Shauna Young: Heron Bros is a leading construction and property development firm. We deliver landmark projects across the UK and Ireland. We are an SME and employ around 250 people.

Nick Corrigan: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen at Heron Bros?

Shauna Young: We have introduced a new communication hub dedicated to COVID-19. Our Managing Director Martin O’Kane has delivered regular live webinars and company updates personally to all staff and our supply Chain. This has resulted in increased communication across all levels of the business and our wider stakeholders. This is something that will continue post COVID-19, as we’ve seen that there is a huge appetite for information and regular company news that we issue to all of our stakeholders.

Nick Corrigan: That is brilliant, as it is one of the biggest challenges in a sector like construction where you have office and site based staff, communication is always a challenge. Do you think this is something you’ll be able to keep after the pandemic when things calm down?

Shauna Young: Feedback from our employees, supply chain as well as other stakeholders that we previously would have had difficulty reaching has been fantastic! So, yes we recognise that this is a change, silver lining should I say, to COVID-19.

Nick Corrigan: Yep, Brilliant.  Is there anything else in terms of the way you’ve worked that you don’t think you would have done before?

Shauna Young: Communication has been key to us during this whole process. From the outset we launched the “Make Things Better” competition for all of our staff. We’ve always tried to deliver innovative practises within the day to day running of the business. We have always promoted people to push their innovative ideas forward. People are often so busy with their day to day that they don’t have time to think about how to make their own jobs better!  No one knows their own job better than they do! So our employees are in the best position to help us deliver new operating and safety procedures for their safe and timely return.

Nick Corrigan: Wow! You asked what the best way was for them?

Shauna Young: What would be best for their job and help them, not only just during COVID-19 and safety procedures, but all areas of their work. We have received over 300 ideas from our staff.  We employ around 250 people so that’s more than one idea per employee. We received some very simple ideas, but sometimes the simple ideas are the best. Ideas such as site zone’s and maximum capacity to allow for better delivery of our projects, portable hand sanitizing workstations that could be easily moved around sites, or in our own office depending on the number of people within that area at that time.

Nick Corrigan: Great, they are such good ideas and they are things that you’ve already implemented or started to implement?

Shauna Young: Yes, we’ve just started re-opening our construction sites and our main head office. We are about two weeks in and trialling all of these ideas. So yeah, they are working good at the minute.

Nick Corrigan: What kind of feedback have you had from people who were given the opportunity to contribute and can now see their contributions happening?

Shauna Young: It has been fantastic! Through our Communication Hub, it has allowed individuals to be part of the delivery of the operational procedures. They feel they can chat openly through our Communication Hub and team, which means we get better feedback and engagement now. Individuals feel part of the whole Heron Bros COVID delivery team.

Nick Corrigan: Oh Brilliant. It’s been lovely speaking to you Shauna and I think it’s really interesting to hear how a company like yours can actually get better communications across all levels, as it’s one of the biggest challenges. So, thank you so much for joining us

Shauna Young: You are welcome and thank you for having me.

Nick Corrigan: Thank you for listening to this Bitesize Lens. To listen to previous episodes and read about how the most responsible businesses in the UK reacting right now please visit www.bitc.org.uk