At Northumbrian Water we want to be the best at what we do and that includes being a great place to work. A programme of activity we’ve developed around that aspiration has already achieved some impressive results and is helping us make even more improvements.

Being a great place to work means being an organisation we’re all proud to work for, where we all feel trusted and valued and where we all have great overall employee experience.

Our Great Place to Work programme has been designed around four areas of development where we can have impact on these objectives. They’re called: My Voice, My Manager, Our Values and Our Shared Story.

Benchmarking where our people feel we are doing well and where we need to improve is crucial to the success of the programme.

Roadshow discussions and a full employee survey returned some really positive feedback in the spring of 2017. Our employee engagement index, for example, achieved its highest score yet – a much higher rate than the average for the utilities sector.

An action plan is now in place to pick up any areas highlighted by the survey as being in need of improvement and we’ll be checking in again shortly with employees to chart progress.

How we are making improvements

My Voice

What our people said: Feedback focused on the need for more communication both within and between teams. Some employees felt they were listened to but were not kept informed of what happened to their suggestion or feedback.

What we did: Lots of teams reviewed the way they communicate. One team now organised a weekly ‘let’s talk’ call across all teams. Another has changed the format of its usual meeting, while a third has introduced more frequent team meetings, with team leaders getting out and about more to speak to colleagues. Our second Invest Quest event also recently launched to encourage people to share their working smarter ideas.

My Manager

What our people said: Employees told us they’d like to see more of their manager and leaders, and sometimes feel like there should be more time for managers to offer support.

What we did: Some managers have weekly ‘huddles’ to provide updates and answer questions, while others are planning programmes of frequent site visits. At a company-wide level, senior managers are taking part in our Extraordinary Leaders programme to help them be the best they can be.

Our Values

What our people said: Our people are really clear about our vision, our values and our way – everything we think, feel, say and do at Northumbrian Water. In some teams there was feedback about managing pressure and work-life balance.

What we did: Working patterns and shift rotas are being considered to identify improvements to ways of working. Some examples include teams making rotas available further in advance to help employees to plan their work, as well as trying to roster people’s two days off together.

Our Shared Story

What our people said: Most people said they feel connected to our national vision, and the majority understand how their role fits in.

What we did: We continue to update colleagues by sharing information on our company performance. The Water Directorate also recently held away days to continue the discussion on the part they play in helping us achieve our vision.

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