One-to Watch Award - Business In The Community
Corporate Responsibility

One-to Watch Award

Dowds Group’s CSR journey started with the aim of tackling the worrying levels of mental health issues within the construction industry. A Health Matters Committee, chaired by Managing Director James Dowds, was established in 2018 with the aim improving the physical and mental wellbeing of staff.


As a direct result, staff are happier, more engaged, and more productive, which led Dowd’s Group to widen its scope of CR activities, increasing the benefits for the business and the community.

From humble beginnings, a series of ad hoc initiatives, Dowds Group now has a strategic CSR plan with targets and metrics and has employed a dedicated CSR Coordinator.

Dowds Group’s CSR programme is centred around five key areas:

  • Employee Engagement and Retention – providing a more rounded offering to staff in terms of employment conditions, benefits, and opportunities for personal growth
  • Employee Wellbeing – Looking after the physical and mental health of its staff
  • Diversity & Inclusion – producing policies and processes that embrace diversity and inclusive employment, particularly regarding gender bias in construction
  • Responsible Business – tackling the impact that the organisation’s operations have on the environment and the communities where it operates
  • Training & Development – upskilling its team and addressing the construction industry skills shortage

What Dowds Group did

  • Over 15000 staff hours dedicated to CSR activities
  • £25,000 donated to charities in 2020/2021
  • One full-time staff member dedicated to CSR activities
  • Family-friendly and flexible working policies
  • 11 qualified mental health first aiders
  • £250,000 spent on staff training and developed a Training & Development Plan centred on leadership training, upskilling, soft skills training, personal development, and apprenticeships
  • Converted to hybrid company cars, implemented sustainable procurement policies and switched to green energy providers to cut carbon emissions
  • Supported 12 charities through awareness campaigns and donations
  • Ran three employee physical health challenges
  • Pro-actively encourage females to consider a career at Dowds through careers fairs and targeted promotional material, to help address gender bias in the construction industry

Impacts and Outcomes

  • Dowds Group achieved a record turnover of £62million in 2020, an increase of 50% on 2019/2020
  • Developed a 2026 strategy with a vision of to be the employer and partner of choice and a defined purpose to build a better future for staff, customers, and the wider community
  • Dowds Group is a better employer offering a comprehensive training plan, flexible working and generous family-friendly policies which has resulted in low employee turnover rates and ability to retain key staff
  • Fundraising and work on critical NHS projects has enhanced the Dowds brand and increased appeal as a contract partner
  • Developing a ‘Road to Zero’ five-year plan to improve environmental performance
  • Staff members supported through the Health Matters programme, opening conversation on health issues and breaking down the stigma of ill-mental health

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The Judges said

A passionate, people-focussed company which has the inspiration and the measurements to really drive themselves forward on CSR.

Submission was filled with purpose and passion. They are committed to delivering an exceptional strategy and delivery plan which embeds the company culture to create impact and results.

Dowds is one-to-watch and with more encouragement can become a standout leader in their sector, supporting other companies to get on board and deliver measurable impact in a short timeframe.