By Emily Gabrielsen

Health and Wellbeing Manager

There is no health without mental health – and as attitudes shift, a huge number of us know it’s just as important as physical wellbeing.

That’s exactly what we believe at Centrica.

While we still have a way to go, our recent recognitions from the CCLA and Great British Wellbeing Awards indicate that we’re on the right track. 

So let’s take a look at how we’re looking after our people so they can look after themselves.

Understanding the Challenge

Now more than ever is an important time for us all to look after our mental health and wellbeing. 

I know that the last few years have been incredibly tough on everyone – myself included. And, the recent cost of living crisis has also had profound impacts with research finding:

  • 30% of adults in the UK have poorer quality sleep
  • 12% are exercising less often
  • 23% aren’t meeting up with friends as much as they used to

These can have a devastating impact for people - but it’s not just circumstance that causes poor wellbeing. 

Many people live with long-term conditions that affect them both physically and mentally every day. These people equally need the right support in place.

That’s why we’ve ramped up our Health and Wellbeing strategy, ensuring all of our colleagues have the tools and resources they need to fulfil their potential.

Building the support required

We want our colleagues to be happy, energised and able to bring their whole selves to work. One size doesn’t fit all – which is why we offer holistic wellbeing benefits that value everyone’s differences, and make these accessible to colleagues and their families.

Pride Parade

We want our colleagues to bring their whole selves to work.

Providing a strong suite of support

Our people need access to the right tools and resources at the right time, so that they can seek proactive and reactive help whenever needed. 

I’m proud to see our suite of wellbeing support range from access to expert advice and a 24/7 phone line, to ensuring the same healthcare cover is offered to all colleagues regardless of seniority. 

We also have a 100+ network of colleague Mental Health First Aiders offering confidential support, so our colleagues can have open conversations about their wellbeing.

Creating a more inclusive and supportive culture

We’re working to ensure health and wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do – and that starts with building an open and inclusive workplace. 

This means having a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, training colleagues to act with integrity, and encouraging our senior leaders to talk openly about their own experiences. I believe this is key to eliminating stigma. 

Last but not least, as part of our People & Planet Plan, we’re taking action on our D&I goals to ensure we reflect the full diversity of our communities by 2030 - a key part of making sure we have a truly inclusive culture and business.

Iwd Women

Building an open and inclusive workplace.

Listening and acting on feedback

I strongly believe that the best way to help each other is through talking, listening and acting on feedback.

We host a range of sessions – from ‘straight talking’ with leaders to find out how their colleagues feel, to setting up focus groups with our diversity networks to see how we can make Centrica more inclusive. As well as this, our colleague survey is in place to help us understand what we’re doing well and what we can improve on every quarter.

We’re also committed to consulting with colleagues on key decisions, with an aim to reach an outcome that works for all.

This kind of engagement resulted in the introduction of a funded healthcare plan for all.

Measuring the impact

So far, our Health and Wellbeing strategy is making a positive impact on colleagues:

  • Mental health incidence rate 133 per 100,00 workers - below the national average
  • 70,000 positive interventions made as an outcome of MyHealth package
  • Absence reduced from 12 days to 10 days in 2022 through good management practices and our suite of support
  • 58% of colleagues who engaged with our psychological support reporting an improvement in their condition

It’s great to see organisations outside the business noticing our progress!

For leadership on mental health, we’ve been recognised as one of four Tier 1 companies in the CCLA Investment Management Mental Health Benchmark, alongside HSBC, Experian and Serco Group. 

We’ve also been awarded a Great British Workplace Wellbeing Series Awards for Best Wellbeing in the Workplace Strategy: Large Organisation. 

There’s still a lot of work to be done – but seeing our colleagues thrive, and being recognised for our efforts, is a great sign of what’s to come.

Final Countdown

Equipping colleagues for the long-term

The landscape is constantly changing, and we know that we need to be flexible to keep up.

But no matter what happens, we’ll continue:

  • Implementing colleague feedback and creating an inclusive culture
  • Educating each other on why wellbeing is important 
  • Evolving our support during the cost of living crisis
  • Upskilling our leaders to have more meaningful conversations with their team 

In the meantime, let’s keep breaking down the stigma through open conversations. Whether that’s with your manager or your colleague, I know personally that these chats can make things so much better, enhancing and saving lives.

I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!