Energy and services firm Centrica employs around 30,000 people in the UK. Of these, roughly one-third are engineers, one-third work in its call centres, and the remaining third are in management and support roles.
Its health strategy has evolved considerably since 1812, when it launched as the Gas Light and Coke Company. The nature of the Centrica’s work means employee safety has always been important, with events such as the formation of Corgi, a gas scheme registrar, in 1968 helping to shape its approach.
While maintaining high safety standards remains the organisation’s top priority, there are additional challenges, says David House, deputy group human resources director at Centrica. “Our engineers have a very physical role, which means musculoskeletal problems can be an issue,” he says. “Back in 2013, we launched workshops, a helpline and an online musculoskeletal toolkit to support them.”
Employee wellbeing has also become an important part of its strategy. Initiatives have included health and wellbeing fairs, walking and weight-loss challenges, and its Carers Network, which was launched in 2005 to support those employees with caring responsibilities.
The latest strategy, which launched in 2016, takes its approach forward another significant step. “We were trying to manage health and wellbeing in silos across the [organisation],” says House. “This could be effective but results were often very localised. To address this, we launched an integrated health hub with a single point of contact for all health services.”
Through this, employee health can be managed much more effectively. For example, when an employee registers a period of sickness absence, the details collected will trigger any relevant support.
This integration also enables it to collect data more intelligently. “This gives us much better insight into the health issues affecting our employees,” adds House. “With this, we can target our wellbeing investment much more effectively.”