Wastewater specialist shows it cares with new feeling app

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Wastewater specialist Lanes Group has created a ground-breaking digital app that asks its people: ‘How are you feeling today?’

The new feeling app gives the opportunity for five responses, from very unhappy to very happy, and asks colleagues if they want help with any concerns.

If they select ‘Yes’, the app sends an alert to the appropriate line manager to see what support can be offered.

The feeling app has been created by Lanes Utilities, Thames Water’s wastewater network services maintenance partner.

Lanes Utilities Director Andy Brierley said: “We want to let our teams know we care about their wellbeing, because that reflects our values as a business.

“We also see staff wellbeing as being integral to workplace safety and the way customers experience our service.

“People who are happy, engaged and focussed on their work are more likely to work safely, and deliver excellent customer service. So, we expect the feeling app to make a significant contribution to our operational success.”

Lanes Utilities is a leader in the use of Cloud and digital technology to manage its operations. The feeling app is the latest extension of this forward-thinking use of technology.

Wastewater engineers are prompted to respond to the app as they log on to a digital workplace operating system on their mobile phones at the start of every shift.

Since the app was introduced in November 2016, the number of engineers indicating they are ‘very unhappy’ has fallen from 8% to less than 1%.

In that time, senior managers have helped colleagues with a range of concerns, including financial problems, family relationships, conflicts with colleagues at work, and dissatisfaction with career opportunities.

Analysis of the app data indicates that people are largely responding honestly to the feeling app’s daily questions, something supported by anecdotal evidence.

Lanes Utilities Health and Safety Advisor Kris Taylor said: “People are used to communicating with smart phones, so using an app in this way doesn’t feel unusual.

“Its long-term value will depend on how it helps build trust, and a sense of genuine wellbeing. However, the initial response from people has been positive and promising.”

Thames Water has welcomed the feeling app, which Lanes Utilities now aims to extend it to office-based colleagues.

Andy Brierley said: “Early data from the app confirms that people are happy or unhappy while at work for lots of reasons, many of them nothing to do with the workplace.

“It also making clear that experienced and valued colleagues are making decisions to leave us based on issues that we can resolve if we know about them soon enough.

“If our feeling app helps us create a happier, more stable workforce, that is better for us as a business, it’s better for our people, and it’s better for Thames Water and their customers.”

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