Hafren Dyfrdwy: The Importance of Fair Work - Business in the Community

Hafren Dyfrdwy: The Importance of Fair Work

Implementing Fair Work practices at Hafren Dyfrdwy has seen positive outcomes, such as increased employee satisfaction and happiness.

Water and wastewater company Hafren Dyfrdwy, part of the Severn Trent Group, serves over 100,000 households and business across communities in Mid and North-east Wales. As a supplier of an essential public service, it is committed to better services, a healthier environment and even more help for customers struggling to pay.

Kellie Emery, HR Business Partner and Change Lead, has been with the company for nearly five years. In that time, Kellie has witnessed the business change and grow its Fair Work practices in the interest of improving its employee offering.

The Importance of Fair Work

Fair Work practices ensure that employees are fairly rewarded, heard and represented, secure and able to progress in a healthy, inclusive working environment where rights are respected. These key pillars are very important to Hafren Dyfrdwy as an organisation, Kellie elaborates: “Without our employees, the business wouldn’t be what it is today, so we always want to make sure they’re fairly rewarded for their work and actions, as well as feel that Hafren Dyfrdwy is a safe and fair place to work.”

How Hafren Dyfrdwy Implement Fair Work Practices

Ensuring employees have a voice within a business is essential no matter the industry or sector. Listening to your employees’ thoughts and opinions can help to inform or update policies and can boost overall morale and job satisfaction. Hafren Dyfrdwy utilise several methods to make sure its employees are heard, the most effective resource being an employee engagement survey called “Quest.” Kellie explains: “We hold the survey bi-annually and it’s hosted by an external provider to protect anonymity. The overall score for Hafren Dyfrdwy is currently 8.8, which places it in the top quartile of all UK businesses and in the top 5% of energy and utility companies globally. The score is up by 0.1 from the previous year and it’s 0.5 above the “true benchmark” which adjusts for a number of demographic factors, providing a unique benchmark to compare with similar teams.”

The results from the employee survey show that employees are happy to work with and for the company, and the positive increase in results from the previous year, as well as being in the top 5% of energy and utility companies globally, speaks for itself.

One of the reasons employees are so content with their jobs is because of the provision of leading learning and development opportunities to every employee across all departments and branches. Kellie elaborates: “We have a fantastic purpose-built Academy that opened in 2021 for all companies across the Severn Trent Group which is the result of a £10m investment. We provide learning and development across five learning streams; Operations, Leadership & Management, Professional Development & Skills, Engineering and Customer. We are also proud to be an accredited apprenticeship provider, helping young people find a pathway into the industry.”

With opportunities such as these, employees can grow alongside the business, developing their skills and helping to retain talent. In turn, this benefits not only the employees, but also customers as new thought processes and ways of thinking are taught, meaning new innovations and ideas are continuously being brought to the table to improve the business. Ensuring employees are heard, as well as included, at all relevant levels creates a safe and inclusive working environment, allowing employees to flourish and be their best selves.

Another pillar of Fair Work that is important to the business is the ability to offer Flexible Working to those that need it. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, flexible/hybrid working has become a checkbox for many workers across the world, with many people opting to move companies if flexible working is not offered. But Hafren Dyfrdwy saw the importance of bringing their employees back together to work collaboratively, not to mention more than half of their business is operational and employees performed their frontline tasks throughout the pandemic. Their flexible working policy is in place to support employees to work in collaboration with their line manager to find solutions which balance both their personal and professional needs.

In addition to their Quest survey, the business also measure inclusivity within the workplace. Kellie explains: “We currently hold a score of 9.1 out of a total of 10 which we’re extremely proud of and are working towards further increasing this score. We also share diversity and inclusion advisory groups covering LGBTQ+, ethnicity, disability and women in STEM and Ops; all of which are embedded within the organisation and deliver fantastic work amongst our colleagues, including the celebration of multiple religious events, awareness periods throughout the year such as Pride and Black History Month, and awareness training on topics such as neurodiversity in the workplace.”

Employee legal rights are a necessity, making appropriate policies essential for every, topic and situation to help employees to feel safe and confident in the formal processes if an issue arises. Hafren Dyfrdwy has over 80 employment policies in place covering the company’s stance and employees’ legal rights across a variety of subjects, from working time through to flexible working. Kellie adds: “In addition to this, we have 11 Supportive Guides, providing support to employees and leaders on topics such as prayer time, neurodiversity, financial wellbeing, menopause and workplace adjustments. We have a team dedicated to employee policy queries to ensure all employees and leaders are provided with the clarification and support they need.” Employees are made aware of these Supportive Guides and are taught how to raise a concern or query, and it is ensured that all policies are up to date with the latest legislation.

There are a few different ways to be a competitive employer and improve your employment offering. One way the business achieves this is through being an accredited real Living Wage employer, which means they are committed to paying all employees and their supply chain a wage based on today’s cost of living.

The company also holds employee roadshows where all leaders and employees are reminded of the benefits that are available. Some examples include free 24/7 virtual GP appointments for employees, their partners and dependents, as well as access to a range of financial wellbeing tools, calculators and advice. Being able to offer employees these benefits allows them to see how much they mean to the organisation; they are not just a number, they are a member of the team and deserve fair reward for their time and dedication.

The Outcomes of Being a Fair Work Employer

As a result of implementing Fair Work practices, Hafren Dyfrdwy has seen positive outcomes, such as increased employee satisfaction and happiness through a fair work-life balance, inclusive working environment and having equal opportunities to learn and grow alongside the company. Business in the Community’s (BITC) campaigns focused on workplace wellbeing and inclusive recruitment have helped with some of these improvements by providing inspiration to help update existing policies and create new ones in line with employee feedback. Hafren Dyfrdwy will continue to utilise BITC resources and services to further enhance and improve their Fair Work offering.

For some businesses, it can seem quite intimidating starting the Fair Work journey as there are lot of different elements to it. But Kellie advises: “Just take it one step at a time, figure out what processes you already have in place that align with the Fair Work pillars and then work on the areas you need to improve upon.”