Pioneering wellbeing programme wins Utility Week Award

Lanes Group plc has won a prestigious Utility Week Award for developing a ground-breaking wellbeing programme that combines digital app technology and practical help for colleagues in need.

The company, the UK’s largest independent drainage and wastewater maintenance specialist, won the Health and Safety Award in the national industry awards at a ceremony held on 10 December in London.

Lanes was also a finalist for the Utility Partner of the Year Award and received a ‘Special Mention’ from judges for its “outstanding development of partnership” in recent years.

Judges were impressed with the Wellbeing App and Practitioner Programme which allows workforce happiness to be monitored via a wellbeing app and for professional support to be provided to any colleague if it is asked for.

Lanes has developed the initiative to support its work as the sole wastewater network services maintenance partner for Thames Water.

Andy Brierley, Lanes Group Technical Director, said: “Winning this Utility Week Award reflects the hard work done by our amazing team to drive health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace every single day.

“We work as a team and care passionately about the wellbeing of every colleague. A happy workforce delivers safer and better service, which is better for us, for Thames Water and for its 15 million customers.

Utility Week Awards 2018Utility Week Awards 2018

“Receiving a Special Mention for the way we work with Thames Water as a partner was also hugely important to us, because we believe in delivering exceptional client support and value in all aspects of our service.”

The wellbeing app asked field workers how they feel every time they start a shift. If they click buttons stating they are unhappy or very unhappy, they are offered confidential support from a professional wellbeing and mental health practitioner. Office-based staff can access the same support.

Since the initiative was launched, scores of colleagues have been helped with a range of problems, including relationship breakdowns, personal debt, and depression.

Most of the issues have not been work related, but the initiative has contributed to a significant increase in workforce happiness and a 57% reduction in recruitment churn, saving £1m a year in training and recruitment costs.

Insights from programme have informed development of additional training to enhance people management skills at all levels in the organisation and an innovative careers structure called Pathway to Success.

For the Utility Partner Award, Lanes could point to initiatives that supported Thames Water’s strategic objectives, including collaboration to open the utility industry’s first 360-degree video training theatre, joint agreements that have led major productivity improvements, and full support for the water utility’s ‘Bin it – Don’t block it’ campaign against FOG, wipes and plastic waste.

Lanes employs 1,100 wastewater maintenance professionals and completes more than 1,100 jobs a day for Thames Water, delivering services that include drainage surveying, drain and sewer unblocking, wet well cleaning, tankering, sewer repairs and sewer rehabilitation.

It also delivers services to other water utilities across the UK, including Anglian Water, Severn Trent Water, Scottish Water, Northumbrian Water, and Welsh Water, has major maintenance contracts with Transport for London, and operates 22 depots serving commercial and domestic customers.

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