Established in 2007, Northern Ireland Water (NIW) is a government-owned company, supplying 575 million litres of safe drinking water and treating 340 million litres of wastewater for almost 2 million people every day.
NI Water is one of Northern Ireland’s largest employers, employing 1349 professional and skilled employees. Every aspect of life in Northern Ireland depends on the provision of clean drinking water and management of wastewater to safeguard health, underpin economic growth, and protect the environment.
What NI Water did
NIW’s wellbeing strategy recognises that employees thrive in an environment where they are valued and supported. This strategy is championed at the highest levels of the organisation through its Chairman, CEO and EC who are highly visible in promoting and supporting a culture of inclusive wellbeing.
Health and wellbeing has a dedicated budget and investment in resources has been made, including a Health and Wellbeing Manager and a full time dedicated Employee Support Officer who is available to NIW staff 24/7.
A variety of channels are used to gather feedback and involve employees in the design of their health and wellbeing programmes, and NIW carry out quarterly pulse surveys.
NIW has undertaken extensive benchmarking with leading corporate H&WB experts and best practice organisations.
NIW has a number of health-related policies, services and innovative initiatives to support the development of a positive, healthy and motivated workforce, including hybrid working, reasonable adjustments and childcare vouchers
NIW’s holistic approach is about supporting individuals to look after their own health and is closely aligned to tackling the main causes of absence in NIW i.e. mental health, musculoskeletal injury and blood/cardiovascular related illness through offering a range of associated benefits and programs in these areas, including:
- Monthly guest speakers on a range of mental health topics
- Free physiotherapy
- One-to-one health checks
- Back care sessions
- Smoking cessation programme
- Healthy eating programme
- Programs to support physical/mental health e.g. virtual gym, activity challenge, hobby buddy network, volunteering opportunities etc.
Four Seasonal Campaigns – Winter Wellness, Spring Forward, Summer Sizzler and Abundant Autumn – are a response to surveys and absence data, and support health across all aspects of life with a healthy dose of fun, family and social activities.
Impacts and Outcomes
- Improved attendance at 96.7%, exceeding annual attendance target
- Increased engagement levels, response rate to the pulse survey is 70%
- 100% return to work rate post-maternity
- 80% of employees who attended ‘Smoking Cessation Programme’ stopped smoking
- Over 200 employees volunteered to join initiatives working closely with young people and charity groups
- Low turnover in 2020/21 at 4%
- Uptake in flexible working
- Uptake in counselling services
- Reduction in stress-related absences
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The Judges said
NI Water delivered a brilliant, passionate presentation that enthralled the judges. They were also able to demonstrate how their Wellbeing strategy cut across different sectors increasing connectivity and engagement levels. The numerous initiatives and activities was eclectic and vast.