National Grid: Working Well - Highly Commended 2011

Bupa Workwell Award 2011
Highly Commended 2011

National Grid has developed a four year strategy to provide a work environment where employees can flourish, improving health, engagement and wellbeing for themselves, their families and the organisation. The strategy has resulted in a significant reduction in sickness absence, saving the organisation £8.9 million over two years and increased employee engagement ratings by 8% in their annual employee survey with 95% of employees completing the survey.

Impacts

The four year strategy has three aims: to engage employees through education and encouraging personal ownership of health and wellbeing; address the business issues through specialist support programmes; and to use processes and outputs from the programmes to enable business to target and manage health and wellbeing.  The strategy is supported by the Group Executive Risk and Safety Committee, having replaced 'health and safety' policy with a 'wellbeing' policy from the CEO in 2009, this has helped integrate a culture of wellness throughout the organisation.

National Grid have created impact, with their wellbeing initiatives, across the organisation aligning the strategy to the BITC Workwell Model:

Better physical and psychological health:

All employees have access to Occupational Health (health surveillance, case management and wellbeing screenings), cardiovascular risk assessment services, and stress management and resilience support. This has resulted in:

  • 61% of employees  electing health screening
  • 57% of employees tracking health metrics via kiosks
  • 30% of employees engaging in lifestyle changes programme

Better Specialist Support:

National Grid has tried to address the issues of musculoskeletal ill health through improved treatment and proactive training.  This includes fast track physiotherapy advice and treatment, functional restoration – physical and psychological treatment to help return employees to work, and active case management to manage absence and support returning to work.  These are all communicated through:

  • Global mental wellbeing standard
  • Intranet site
  • Elearning – employees and managers
  • 20 stress management and 20 resilience workshops for main office sites

Better Relationships & Better work

National Grid aim to create a supportive, engaging work environment that promotes communication and social connections.  This is done through:

  • Flexible working policy
  • Further education policy
  • Family provisions policies
  • Support networks – employee lead networks – families at work, women in networks, faith at work, pride, one
  • Flexible benefits options
  • Inclusion and diversity policies
  • Volunteering opportunities

The challenges for National Grid have been trying to gain access and engage with their remote, field based, workforce, and addressing mental health issues in a male dominated field. The remote workforce challenge has been overcome through combining health screening with occupational screening using mobile vehicles helping to intervene early and to provide the specialist support that is needed.  The organisation has also designed field focussed health and wellbeing stand down days allowing everyone to get involved. Because National Grid is a male dominated workforce, it has been found that addressing physical health first and then introducing mental health issues afterwards results in better engagement.

An important way in which the organisation includes employees across the organisation is through the online lifestyle challenge programmes offered and a specific tool kit on the intranet addressing fatigue management.  This is used to educate staff on all aspects of shift working, which is a challenge for the business.

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Impact

Business Benefits

  • sickness reduction has resulted in £8.9 million savings over 2 years (2008 - March 2011)
  • the reduction in absence days has equated to 35,000 absence days over 2008 until March 2011
  • an increase of 8% of employees taking part in the annual employee survey, with 95% of employees now completing the survey

Employee Benefits

  • 61% of employees are electing to have health screenings
  • 57% of employees are tracking their health metrics via kiosks