People At The Centre Of Sustainable Growth

Over the past five decades, Sarah has maintained deliberate and strategic growth. This growth has been built on the foundation that if a business is made up of skilled, well-developed people, it will foster a well-developed and sustainable business. A business with longevity. With the right people and the right core structures in place, Sarah continues to deliver excellence for its clients.

From delivering the $52 Million Carmelite Aged Care Facility and $80 Million Minda Masterplan Development in 2018 to most recently successfully securing the $230 Million South Australian Schools PPP project; over recent years, Sarah has taken deliberate and strategic steps to increase its capability in the size and complexity of the projects it delivers.

Building a framework for developing the best people

For Adrian Esplin, winning the PPP job is the outcome of four years of foundational work. “We’ve created a structure at Sarah that can support, mentor, empower and develop the right people. For a business that has around 170 on the ground staff, you need the structures in place to organise resources in the right way, that will not only train them but also help sustain them” Adrian explains.

“One of the key strategies for me over the past three to four years has been bolstering our senior management strength. Since I initially started at Sarah, we now have a much more robust and sustainable senior management structure” says Adrian.

Attracting and retaining future talent

Alongside the improved management structure, Sarah has also successfully implemented Graduate, Site Supervisor and Safety Officer Training Programs.

Adrian takes a big picture approach to developing a Graduate Program at Sarah. “For me it’s about sustaining the industry. We need to take more of an establishment view, a view of the greater good; we can’t always be picking off the tree. Sometimes you’ve got to fertilise it, water it and grow it for the greater good of the industry. Developing graduates regardless of if they will stay at Sarah, will always reward the industry as a whole, like nurturing plants because you end up with more fruit,” explains Adrian.

With the success of the Graduate Program, the Site Supervisor Program was then developed. “The new program has been a resounding success,” says Adrian. “Participants include a range of people from different backgrounds, typically from a trade background but wanting to do something different. They’ve been in the industry but not as a building foreperson or supervisor. So at the end of 18 months in the program, many have benefited from significant professional development and are now working as Site Supervisors.”

There’s also no shortage of replacement participants in Sarah programs either. HR Manager, Stefan Popovic, explains:

“We know people love working at Sarah, because we get so many referrals from our staff. We don’t need to run an internal referral program; people just really enjoy the culture and opportunities we provide. Our strong referral network coupled with our increasing reputation as an employer of choice in the industry, means that we are constantly meeting with capable and talented individuals, looking to get involved.”

“This provides us with a unique opportunity to blend career progression and development with the onboarding of new talent into the business, the outcome of which is more jobs for South Australians. A great outcome for all,”  explains Stefan.

Future Focused Career Fulfilment

Ongoing learning and development is high on Sarah’s agenda, says Stefan. “We run graduate, trainee supervisor and trainee safety officer programs for those looking at getting into the construction industry. We also run a professional development series and training calendar for existing staff, aimed at knowledge sharing and addressing common areas of interest.”

“Wherever possible, we look at ways for our senior employees to pass on their knowledge to those just starting out in their careers.” The unique Sarah Constructions culture is at the heart of this supportive and collaborative learning environment.

“Our culture is our source of competitive advantage,” says Stefan. “It’s underpinned by our values and our belief that relationships are key to a successful construction business. We make sure that all new employees share in this belief before they join us and we continue to embed these values throughout the employment lifecycle. It starts with the way we treat each other, our clients and our contractors. This begins at the top and is championed at all levels of the organisation.”

Sarah’s Management team is committed to the ongoing development of Sarah’s people and, in turn, the strategic sustainability of the business. Adrian Esplin explains, “that’s one of the biggest drivers for me. I’m motivated by thinking, what do I need to be putting in place now so that in three years, our people can be having as much professional development and career fulfilment as they are now?”

If you’re looking to take that next step in your career, contact the Sarah HR team today at hr@sarah.com.au.

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