Creating a happy and healthy workforce

By Charley Maher

I created a vision for ‘Health & Wellbeing’ for my business a year ago and since then, my team have exceeded my expectations in terms of what we have achieved.

BWBSL is jointly owned by Wessex Water and Bristol Water and are responsible for the customer journey for their 1.5 m customers across the South West.   Their customers rely on BWBSL to provide them with an efficient and helpful service.

I knew that people were core to the success of the business and wanted to ensure that my team of 380 people were not only focused on providing an excellent service experience to customers but I also wanted to create initiatives to support a healthy and happy team to enable brilliant employee engagement.

Our health and wellbeing initiatives over the last year have touched everyone across the business.  Each month is themed and a key objective for the H&W charter is to ensure that my entire team are happy and healthy at work. Mental health is high on my agenda too.  Interestingly, I was really pleased to read that ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ in 2016 focused on highlighting the impact of relationships on our mental health. The charity has asked people to commit to maintaining good relationships with friends, family and colleagues, which they believe is fundamental to our health and happiness.

We took this objective to a different level at BWBSL and set about creating stronger relationships in the workplace both within teams and cross-functionally.  New working groups and project teams were set up to pilot and launch the monthly health and wellbeing initiatives and in our recent employee engagement survey, there was overwhelming feedback from team members talking about improved relationships at work and how well team members support and help each other more than ever.  I also asked my learning and development team to design and launch a mental health awareness training programme, making it available to all team members.  This has received great feedback and increased levels of empathy demonstrated across the business.

The last year has been full of great achievements, in 2015 the business won ‘Best Place to Work’ at the UK Customer Experience Awards and earlier this year we were recognised with a total of four awards at the UK Employee Experience Awards, however, a happy and healthy, engaged team is by far the best achievement of all.

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