Reflecting on 2023

19th December 2023

Human resources • News

Investing in our people means better outcomes for everyone

The start of 2023 was a tough one! 2022 had been an incredibly difficult year for the business. The fallout of COVID-19, cost of living crisis, the war in Ukraine and subsequent energy crisis, etc., etc., had finally caught up with us all and it was challenging. That said, we all know that growth and success are never linear… There are always bumps in the road.

The BIG focus for 2023 was stability, both for our team and our finances. We had to invest in our people and systems, get our ducks in a row, to ensure we were performing at the highest level, be effective with our resources; and all the while, making sure our team’s well-being was constantly monitored.

This would allow us to deliver a high-quality service to our customers and maintain our brilliant culture.

At Ground & Water, we believe in the philosophy of Kaizen, the Japanese term for continuous improvement. Hence, training and development was top of the agenda for all our team members.

From internal and external CPDs, to training courses, taking on mentoring duties, to presenting webinars and in-person CPD sessions for our customers; our team has been immersed in learning, developing and mastering their skills. Watch out for more webinars on technical topics in the New Year.

Leading by example

With no formal business training, Ground & Water co-founder Dipalee Jukes was accepted onto the prestigious Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Programme, which is partnered with Oxford University. She undertook an intensive three-month business course, equivalent to a mini MBA!

The outcome..? A clear focus on business goals and purpose, learning the art of business strategy and a three-year business growth plan to take Ground & Water to the next level.

Dipalee’s fellow co-founder, Francis Williams, has commenced a part time PhD in Chalk Risk Assessment with Southampton University, which will bring an exceptional level of technical expertise into the business. The aim is to provide further guidance, re-assurance and value in the risk assessment and detection of hidden geological risks.

The business has also invested in its HR Coordinator, who is currently completing their CIPD Level 5. This ensures our people first approach is maintained, as we grow and develop the team.

Business for good

Photography by Steve Dunlop

Dipalee has celebrated a few professional wins this year. She was a finalist in the ‘Woman in Construction’ at the South East Construction Awards; won an award at the House of Lords for being an ‘Inspirational Business Woman in STEM & Construction’; was a finalist for Diversity & Inclusion at the London Construction Awards; and most recently won the ‘Entrepreneur for Good’ award at the Everywoman Awards.

These nominations and awards demonstrate the passion and commitment the company and its founders have for genuinely being a business for good and wanting to inspire more women and women of colour into the industry.

Our team is at the forefront of everything we do. We understand that by looking after them and our company culture, they will look after our customers.

In July we had a team away day, where we explored our place in the world, our purpose, and the problems we were there to solve. We unpacked the UN SDGs, ESGs and mapped our own culture canvas.

This work is going to lead to some big announcements in 2024, so watch this space…!

We asked the team what their highlights of 2023 were, and they came up with the short ditty below. Please try and sing along to the “12 days of Christmas” tune:

In the last week before Christmas we look back on 2023…

  • 12 months of drilling
  • 11 counties drilled in (by Rig Astley  and not including the London Boroughs)
  • 10 employees with 3 years plus service
  • 9 is the average NPS score (sort of!)
  • 8 team pot lunches
  • 7 missed park runs (Roger)
  • 6 months of over winter groundwater monitoring
  • 5 Groundie team awards
  • 4 times a finalist (Dipalee)
  • 3 new joiners
  • 2 couples engaged
  • 1 baby bouncing

And a new dog and a G&W dog walk.

Other wins, both big and small:
  • Signing workplace menopause pledge
  • Wrike implementation
  • PFAS expertise in-house
  • Mental Health First Aiders
  • Bronze Constructionline accreditation
  • Payroll brought in house
  • Team day in July – G&W Olympics, Groundie awards
  • Babies, first houses, new team members, big work anniversaries and marriage engagements
  • Natasha – Loughborough University presentation on behalf of WES – Women in Engineering Society.
  • Basements webinar and the AGS Basement Working Group.

Our thanks to one and all


Ground & Water started out as a kitchen table business and has grown to a team of 19. We believe this has been a combination of opportunity, luck and sheer hard work and persistence, never giving up.

In September we celebrated 14 years in business, which was a huge milestone. The Insolvency Service says that only one in three small businesses last for more than 10 years and ONS data shows only 10% survive beyond 15 years; so we are re-assured we are doing something right.



We have big ambitions over the next three years, so will be busy getting to work on the three-year growth plan. We haven’t reached the milestones we have, without the support of our clients. We thank you all, wish you all the greetings of the season and a successful and prosperous 2024.

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At Ground & Water we like the bigger picture. Our regularly updated blog highlights and discusses the industry’s challenges and issues. It provides you with insights into innovation, how we are constantly changing and adapting to provide you class leading, cost effective, services and how through investing in our team, we are delivering on our promises. And it’s a great read!

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