We maintain regular dialogue with our key stakeholders so that we can take account of their views and act with regard to their interests. Detailed below are the ways in which the Group as a whole engages with our stakeholders and more information can be found in the governance report which describes how the board engages with its direct stakeholders: the Group's shareholders, employees and funders.

Our key stakeholders

Our culture

We believe that a healthy corporate culture is vital to the creation and protection of long-term value and the success of our business model is driven by our culture, which is founded on our core values: safety, customer focus, integrity and commitment.

Our culture is characterised by a respect for our talented people, a desire to deliver the best possible outcomes for our colleagues, clients and partners, the encouragement of openness and transparency, a collaborative approach towards working with our customers and our supply chain, and a regard for the value we can bring to local communities and the environment. All new employees receive a formal induction and are made aware of our core values and culture.

We believe that in our recruitment, performance management and reward, we support and encourage behaviours consistent with the Group's purpose, values, strategy and culture. These principles are driven by the board and embedded in the culture and operations of all Group companies.

Information on our performance against our safety, health, environmental and people objectives can be found in our 2020 'building a sustainable business' report.

During the COVID-19 outbreak we have seen the value to the business of our culture, and our people really came to the fore to enable us to continue to carry on trading as normally as possible. We are holding regular video conference calls with the executive team and the board and we are regularly communicating with those working from home. During this period, we issued regular communications with advice on working from home including how to cope with certain mental health issues arising from the crisis itself, as well as information on the practicalities of working from home.

Our shareholders

Our executive directors communicate regularly with institutional investors and analysts and all shareholders are invited to the Group's annual general meeting. Our non-executive directors are also available to meet with shareholders. The Group's website provides an important resource for communications to all stakeholders, with a specific section dedicated to investors. The Group provides regular updates on financial performance and significant events using a regulatory information service and responds to queries received from shareholders.

Our people

We keep our employees informed of our financial performance through newsletters, emails, an intranet and briefing sessions, and let them know of any external factors and significant events that might have an impact on them. During the COVID-19 outbreak in particular, we communicated regularly with our staff and specifically launched a dedicated online information hub relating to the crisis through our intranet platform. We offer share plans to employees (including the opportunity to save for three years under our SAYE scheme) to encourage them to engage with business performance and progress.

Each Group company updates its employees on business goals, market conditions and company performance. Business-specific employee roadshows are held throughout the year and employees are invited to give their views and provide feedback on a range of topics.

During the year, non-executive directors met with employees through our director site safety programme. We held our inaugural Severfield Safety First Awards in November 2019 where we were able to celebrate with colleagues key safety-related achievements and initiatives throughout the year. This event gave colleagues the opportunity to share ideas and experiences with colleagues from different roles and regions across the Group. We regularly analyse employee feedback and communicate the results to employees together with the actions to be undertaken in response.

Our suppliers and subcontractors

We develop long-term relationships with our supply chain and work with them to achieve the best results for our clients. Most of our suppliers are signed up to Group-wide agreements. We have a structured timetable of senior contact with suppliers of strategic importance and hold regular meetings with suppliers, covering a broad range of topics including identifying and managing any incidents of modern slavery. We have a comprehensive Group-wide supplier accreditation process which involves reviewing and scoring supplier performance on criteria such as quality and safety and providing them with constructive feedback. Subcontractors who achieve preferred status benefit from long-term relationships and repeat work. Our policy is to treat, and pay our supply chain fairly and we are a member of the Prompt Payment Code which means over 95 per cent of our suppliers and subcontractors are paid within 60 days.

Our clients and partners

Our proven ability to work collaboratively and innovatively with clients is fundamental to our success and is critical to securing new work. This involves early contract engagement with clients, anticipating the issues they face, providing problem-solving solutions and delivering the best results to balance time, cost and quality objectives, whilst ensuring that risk and reward are appropriately shared.

Our aim is to secure work where possible through partnerships, framework arrangements or repeat business. We nurture long-term relationships with our clients and partners, which can be achieved by taking the time to understand their priorities and then delivering on their project goals.

On completion, clients are asked for feedback on their experience in face-to-face interviews using detailed questionnaires. The results are shared and analysed, in order to drive further improvements. We are recognised for our collaborative approach and positive engagement and are regularly involved in early contract engagement with clients to ensure greater clarity around scope, programme and cost which, in combination, reduces delivery risk for all parties.

Local communities

Engagement with the wide range of communities in which the Group operates is recognised as an important part of the delivery of our projects and is referenced where appropriate in reports to the board throughout the year. Our directors have taken up opportunities to learn more about engagement with community stakeholders on specific projects through our programme of site visits.

Through social and charitable committees within each business and through the Severfield Foundation we get involved with and raise money for local events, such as school or college talks or careers fairs, or supporting local charities. More details of the work of the Severfield Foundation can be found in Business integrity.