The Bupa Health and Wellbeing Award: Kier Group

Finalist for Business in the Community’s Bupa Health and Wellbeing Award 2019.

Kier: Health and wellbeing strategy prioritises mental health of employees

  • 250 employees now trained to recognise mental health issues
  • 81 per cent of wellbeing referrals seen within ten days

As you might expect for a company that constructs and maintains buildings, safety is paramount. But for Kier Group, which operates across a range of UK sectors including bioscience, energy, property, health and highways, keeping people safe is only one aspect of making sure people are fit and healthy for work. 

“Work is increasingly complex, time pressured, mobile, requiring new skills and technology to get the job done,” says Kirsty Bashforth, a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Kier Board Safety, Health and Environment Committee. 

“The world of work, and the workplace, is undergoing rapid change. Employees expect more from their employers too – they want to work for a responsible business that actively addresses their wellbeing.”

Kirsty Bashforth, Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Kier Board Safety, Health and Environment Committee, Kier Group 

The health and wellbeing strategy is now fundamental to Kier, whose workforce includes an ageing male-dominated manual workforce, young apprentices and office-based staff. Health and wellbeing performance targets are now embedded across the company, with progress being monitored as part of day-to-day activities. 

The aim is to continue reducing the cost of sickness absence, and ensure that all staff comply with ‘fitness for work’ criteria. There is a big focus on mental health because, on average, 100 people a month are absent because of mental health issues. Now, some 250 employees are now trained to recognise issues, sensitively approach people, and offer support.  

At an operational level, innovations such as Robocut, a remote-control grass cutter for highways verges, is minimising exposure to traffic and vibrations. Vans now have slide-out racks to prevent workers leaning in to access equipment. In the office, there are standing desks. So far, Kier’s strategy has seen the percentage of wellbeing referrals seen within ten days jumping from 78 per cent in 2017, to 81 per cent in 2018. Overall, the number of referrals has fallen from 1,823 to 1,640 in the same timeframe. 

Information in this impact story has been supplied by Kier Group.

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