Herbosch-Kiere Marine Contractors Ltd is an established marine construction company in the UK. They were quick to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic, having already successfully integrated a variety of digital tools into their team’s daily working lives to foster better communication.
Given this head start, Herbosch-Kiere’s managing director, Allister Humby, in collaboration with other staff, set themselves a huge challenge for 2022 to deliver a vast number of strategic business improvements.
Their main goal was to create a positive culture of wellbeing that encompassed 6 key areas: 1) Physical, 2) Mental, 3) Emotional, 4) Professional, 5) Social, and 6) Environmental. This tied in closely with their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives to promote sustainability in the community and environment.
Their wellbeing mission is simple, but designed to have a massive impact on their workforce:
To create an environment which promotes a state of wellbeing and allows employees to develop, flourish, and achieve their full potential for the benefit of themselves and our organisation.
Step 1: Understanding people’s needs
It was a challenging task and without a blueprint for success, no one knew quite where to start. After all, creating a positive culture of wellbeing requires significant planning, research, and dedication.
Allister knew that gaining insight into how employees currently felt would be key. They had found it challenging to gather feedback efficiently in the past and needed a better way of establishing which areas required improvement.
That’s where WeThrive came in, and it was the stepping stone to delivering meaningful change. The psychological surveys allowed them to gather both employee engagement and wellbeing data and were completely tailored to their specific needs.
Diana, one of Herbosch-Kiere’s wellbeing champions, notes:
Wellbeing and communication were the two areas we felt we could improve on and WeThrive definitely helped us with tackling both.
Step 2: Diving into the results
Employee engagement survey
After receiving the results from both the mental health & wellbeing survey and the employee engagement survey, Herbosch-Kiere were able to identify patterns in their dashboard and heatmap. Their WeThrive action plans provided insights into the steps they could take to improve these areas, so they got to work quickly.
Lower scores in ‘knowledge’ indicated that employees felt additional information or training could support their work. Herbosch-Kiere used this insight to provide more opportunities for professional development by introducing staff training plans focused on the specific areas where employees wanted support.
For example, some people indicated they found client meetings nerve-racking. This inspired Herbosch-Kiere to work with an external negotiation specialist to develop a negotiation training day to teach their employees valuable skills in this area.
Headspace was also a concern for some of Herbosch-Kiere’s employees, who felt that they didn’t always have enough time to clear their heads. So, they introduced mandatory breaks to allow sufficient time for reflection to resolve this. These breaks have been added to everyone’s calendars to ensure the time is not overwritten with meetings or other work. They have also provided their staff with free access to mental health professionals and online headspace improvement materials.
Mental health and wellbeing survey
After diving into their mental health survey results, they noticed some striking patterns and designed several initiatives to tackle the drivers of poor wellbeing.
Transparency with their people was crucial. Herbosch-Kiere created and circulated a digital ‘wellbeing pack’ which contained the details of all their initiatives in one place – this included information on everything from their regular social activities to flexible working practises.
They now also have a certified Mental Health First Aider to act as the first point of contact for anyone with mental health-related concerns and to ensure any potential warning signs are promptly identified.
With a slightly lower score in the ‘Connection’ area of the survey, Herbosch-Kiere ensured employee recognition initiatives were put in place so their people would feel appreciated and valued. This ensured everyone was thanked for a job well done, and positive feedback was provided privately in one-to-one meetings and publicly on social media.
They also launched an internal monthly newsletter to keep everyone updated on the latest company events, activities, and news. This has since really helped to foster a better connection and improved communication with the UK staff and the overseas parent company employees.
They also went a step beyond this. A priority driver was ‘emotional connection’ so they identified what their people cared about and teamed up with several organisations to deliver charity initiatives for teams to participate in. Going hand-in-hand with their CSR mission of promoting sustainability in the community and environment, they invited employees to volunteer days at a local dog shelter and beach clean-ups in collaboration with their clients.
Whilst physical health had a higher score overall, there was a fairly wide disparity between the highest and lowest scores. Therefore, Herbosch-Kiere covered all bases by offering private health care plans and a bike-to-work scheme to ensure everyone could stay fit and healthy.
Step 3: Monitor and track improvements
These changes have already made a world of difference, with Herbosch-Kiere achieving an impressive 14% improvement in engagement between their first and latest surveys.
We’re very much aware that a happy workforce is at the core of our company’s success and impacts everything from retention to overall business performance, so wellbeing will remain a key focus. We like how WeThrive sheds light on opportunities as well as vulnerabilities, so we plan to continue distributing the surveys regularly to help identify any potential risks and address them quickly.
The surveys also confirm that our latest initiatives are working. Our current recruitment drive will result in the team expanding, so we hope to see everything we’ve put in place benefit our current and new employees alike.
2023 and beyond
Corporate sustainability remains at the forefront of Herbosch-Kiere’s mind, focusing on environmental, economic, and social initiatives. They aim to get everyone involved more socially by participating in team charity events. They are in the process of selecting their Charity of the Year for 2023 and indicate this will be a charity linked to ocean protection and sustainability.
Allister and the rest of the team will continue to focus on business improvements for the remainder of the year and implement new, innovative changes as they grow in line with emerging data.
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