Housebuilding organisation Redrow Homes, which has 2,374 staff members in the UK, has had an employee assistance programme (EAP) as part of its benefits package for the past 10 years. On 1 October 2018, it took the next step in ensuring the wellbeing of all of those under the organisation’s umbrella by making the programme available to its sub-contractors as well.
Celia Williams, engagement manager at Redrow Homes, says: “Under our valuing people and partners objectives, working closely with sub-contractors is really important so that when they come onto our site they feel like they’re an extension of Redrow.”
In addition to making the programme available to a wider range of workers, the organisation put it through a re-brand, partly to boost engagement and awareness, and partly to ensure that it was able to present a simple, clear concept to both employees and sub-contractors.
The programme, now called ‘My Life’, provides a confidential, 24-hour helpline and an online health hub, which allows access to wide-ranging resources to help employees with any issue, including those around housing, bereavement, adoption, finance and mental health. Individuals are also able to confidentially refer their colleagues for call-backs, to ensure that those who are struggling but might not think to reach out have the chance to use the programme.
My Life is promoted at induction, appraisals and on posters around the organisation’s various sites. In the weeks following its roll-out for sub-contractors, Redrow Homes will be distributing updated posters, as well as wallet cards. It is also using talks from local managers, videos on the organisation’s intranet and specific case studies from those who have used the service.
“People have different personal issues at different times, so it is just a case of educating them on the wide range that’s available to them,” says Williams.
Communication about My Life is also integrated into the organisation’s wellbeing calendar, which was launched following a campaign that ran at the beginning of 2018. This used health kiosks around Redrow Homes’ sites to take in data on everything from financial to physical health.
The information gathered was used to inform a monthly calendar of awareness and call to action campaigns covering all avenues of health. During these initiatives, says Williams, the assistance programme is regularly touted as one of the important resources available to individuals.
Through 2017 and 2018, Redrow Homes has seen the usage of its EAP double, from 3% to 6%, and Williams reports that there will be a continued effort to build awareness and further improve take-up.
“Next year we will be embarking on a mental health campaign, and again that’s really key,” she explains. “Although we will be training mental health first aiders and giving awareness training to managers and employees, the My Life portal and helpline will be the first call to action.
“We’ve got a diverse workforce and we have lots of site workers who are generally in a male-dominated industry, so we need to be making sure we destigmatise mental health, breaking down the barriers around asking for support.”