National Grid: prioritising people
How National Grid developed a psychological safety tool to measure and assess key hot spot risks relating to workplace stress.
About the company
National Grid is the largest electricity transmission and distribution business in the UK. It also has US operations across New England and New York.
National Grid, a company with a key focus on supporting employee health and wellbeing, has developed a tool to combat the lack of insights and metrics regarding psychological safety and wellbeing in the workplace. This tool aims to treat psychological safety as integral to physical safety and has been growing in capability since its development in 2015-2016.
For organisations, there has been an ongoing issue when it comes to raising the profile of psychological safety to compare with physical safety. The two are interlinked as an individual’s thoughts and feelings can impact safety behaviours within the workplace. However, physical safety has been more visible and historically it has been prioritised over psychological safety. Moreover, the lack of insights and metrics for psychological safety has made it difficult to understand the risks that employees may face in terms of work-related stress and psychological safety.
What the company did
National Grid’s Psychological Lead developed the tool based on the HSE Management Standards. The process of assessing stress risk existed but was time-consuming to translate into business intelligence that could be readily used by team leaders to act on identified risks. The tool feeds off the annual employee engagement survey and provides key insights and metrics across all HSE Management Standards (Demands, Control, Support, Relationships, Role and Change) with an additional wellbeing metric. Year on year it has grown in capability, helping National Grid work towards external commitments on reporting on mental health as an organisation (Mental Health at Work Commitment, Standard 3/6), as well as raising the profile of psychological safety.
The tool has enabled National Grid to provide previously absent insights and data to the business in highlighting the business areas with the highest psychological risk. This has enabled early and proactive interventions to be put into place, either via individual or team stress risk assessments, to dig deeper into the reasoning behind specific scores. The tool has been adopted by the US arm of the business over the last two years, and National Grid has over 23,000 employees taking part in the annual organisational stress risk assessment which feeds the tool. This allows National Grid to have a fantastic, detailed oversight and risk understanding regarding psychological wellbeing. It also supports its DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) agenda as it has enhanced the tool to allow work-related stress risk assessment by specific DEI areas such gender, ethnicity and age.
Our stress risk tool has been critical in planning and creating a proactive way to manage the health and wellbeing of our colleagues at National Grid. Early interventions have helped aid and support business areas in helping their people perform their best.Thomas Blakey, UK Health and Wellbeing Lead
National Grid’s tool for psychological wellbeing has been a success in providing insights and metrics for psychological safety in the workplace. The tool has enabled early and proactive interventions to be put in place and has helped National Grid work towards external commitments on reporting on mental health. By treating psychological safety on the same footing as physical safety, National Grid is creating a healthier and safer work environment for employees.
Impacts and outcomes
- National Grid’s stress risk tool helped with identifying negative workplace behaviours to allow for early intervention.
- It developed insights and metrics to work towards creating parity between psychological and psychological safety.
- The provision of metrics has led to an improvement year on year in managing employees’ health and wellbeing. In 2022 – 2023 we have seen an increase of 6 per cent in positive responses across stress dimensions.
The importance of holistic health and wellbeing strategies
This case study is part of the suite featured in our report, Prioritising People: unlock the value of a thriving workforce. Download the report to understand the Economic Value Proposition (EVP) for placing employee wellbeing at the heart of your organisation. Learn how this can positively impact business, families and society and how to select a portfolio of health and wellbeing investments.
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