British Gas is the biggest energy supplier in the UK, servicing 12 million homes and supporting around 500,000 businesses with gas and electricity. The company employs approximately 30,000 people in the UK, with a substantial workforce out on the road attending service calls at customer’s homes on a daily basis
With such a large workforce spread across the country – many working in isolation – British Gas was facing several challenges in regards to mental health and wellbeing.
- The British Gas field teams are predominantly Male and between the ages of 18-55, a demographic proven much more vulnerable to undiagnosed mental health issues; Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women, only 36% of referrals to IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) are men.
- The nature of field work can be very isolating which can compound any existing mental health concerns. Higher levels of isolation had been noticed within teams.
Rob Harris, Customer Delivery Director at Centrica (parent company of British Gas) commented “What our team does can be pretty isolating on a day-to-day basis, the majority of our staff are driving around in vans alone from customer to customer.
“From a leadership perspective you don’t get to see your team that often. One of the key things we hear from our team is that they struggle with this sense of isolation and the lack of connectivity, it’s been a big thing for us to attempt to manage in terms of their wellbeing.”
To help stem growing issues and improve feelings of isolation, British Gas was looking for a solution to bring their people closer and empower them to speak up to their managers when wellbeing issues feel insurmountable. This is where GoVox came in.
Rob added: “The solution GoVox has is just so simple. It just creates that greater level of connectivity. It helps the leadership understand who needs a quick chat, when they need it, support them with what has bothered them and really understand their feelings.
“It’s easier for people as a way in rather than picking up the phone. It gives the leadership team a real opportunity to check in with those who need it most. For me, it’s about who opens the door, if the manager opens the door it’s far easier to talk, because your manager is calling you knowing the context around how you are and your situation. What it has done is remove a whole load of barriers for our colleagues.”
Now GoVox has been deployed across field teams, leadership has already started noticing a difference.
Rob commented: “Far more people are coming forward with issues. The level of connectivity is much greater than it has been. People’s sense of support is much, much higher. We’ve just run a pulse survey and we found that what we’re doing has improved the connectivity between line managers and employees massively.
“Before GoVox we had an online notice board and chat functions – but they were not localised or specific to team or line management. We actually had a really big gap there, we didn’t have a way of knowing exactly how an individual was feeling. The GoVox system is really simple but it’s very effective and intuitive.”
GoVox has also been able to help British Gas support their employees through the Covid-19 crisis too. Rob added: “At the moment some of our people are feeling very anxious. We’re still going into hundreds of thousands of homes on a monthly basis, with that there are a lot of concerns and anxieties. We’ve been in touch with our teams all the time making sure we’re providing support for those who need it the most.”
“The solution GoVox has is just so simple. It just creates that greater level of connectivity you need. It helps the leadership understand who needs a quick chat, when they need it, support them through their issue and really understand their feelings. It gives the leadership team a real opportunity to check in with those who need it most. What it has done is remove a whole load of barriers for our people. They can now have those conversations with their manager they may have been too nervous to initiate.”
Rob Harris, Customer Delivery Director at Centrica