Like many businesses during the height of the Covid crisis, Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) was faced with a critical challenge. Tasked with the essential work of keeping water flowing to customers during one of the hottest summers on record while in the middle of a pandemic, the HR team knew it needed to bolster its wellbeing provisions.
NWG had offered a basic wellbeing package that was focused on face-to-face connections and events, but this was not sufficiently connected for the post-Covid landscape – 45 per cent of the firm’s workforce had been working from home since the first lockdown – nor was it suitable for the high levels of concurrent use the team was expecting. NWG also correctly predicted lockdown restrictions would be back in place for much of the winter period, so knew action needed to be taken.
The solution was Living Well, a digital service that is available 24/7 and accessible from any device – perfectly suited to the organisation’s predominantly male operational staff, many of whom are shift workers. The service is split into three primary areas of wellness – mind, body and social – and as well as incorporating existing services, new programmes and content were developed and are being continually refreshed.
Building support from within the business was key to the project’s success, including from the CEO Heidi Mottram, who ran a weekly ‘Heidi live’ event that the judges applauded for enabling NWG “to gain real-time feedback from staff and be very agile and responsive to emerging issues”.
More than three-quarters of colleagues (77 per cent) have engaged with Living Well, and the team sees engagement coming from both work and personal devices and on all days of the week. On top of this, nearly all people managers (92 per cent) have accessed the manager’s Covid portal, while almost 2,500 employees have accessed the site’s Covid Hub since November 2020.
The judges said: “We feel that you were the winner in this category because your approach included all best practice dimensions – senior leadership, insight-driven, employee engagement and an evolving strategy. Additionally, we felt that the unique way you have engaged your workforce with wellbeing through aligning with hygge principles is progressive.”