Health and Wellbeing is crucial to unlocking people’s full potential. As a vital enabler to innovation, productivity and engagement, Health and Wellbeing is also key to achieving Network Rail’s safety and sustainability goals.
Network Rail’s Health & Wellbeing strategy sets out its aim to significantly improve the management of employee health and wellbeing, for the organisation itself and its delivery partners: “A railway fit for the future needs a workforce fit for the future.”
Network Rail is committed to:
- Managing a healthy workplace
- Providing opportunities to promote wellbeing
- Developing a supportive culture of wellbeing
- Providing guidance, competencies, policies and processes.
Health and Wellbeing
The Thameslink Programme’s Health and Wellbeing group was formed to drive alignment between corporate-level, IP-level and programme-level Health and Wellbeing initiatives and outcomes.
The objectives of the group were to:
- Review Health and Wellbeing data and trends to identify areas for improvement
- Jointly develop, agree and review IP-level Health and Wellbeing improvement plans, targets and KPIs
- Jointly develop, agree and review IP-level Health and Wellbeing interventions, events and communications campaigns
- Share knowledge, experiences, innovation, best practice and lessons learned
- Work safely and challenge unsafe behaviours
- Champion and be the voice of Health and Wellbeing within the Thameslink Programme
- Lead Health and Wellbeing improvement plans and other initiatives
- Gain the necessary senior management buy-in and funding for the implementation of Health and Wellbeing interventions in the programme
- Develop and cascade Health and Wellbeing communications across the Thameslink Programme.
Volunteering is recognised as a good way to become more involved in the community, to acquire new skills and experiences, and develop invaluable life skills. Network Rail provides every employee with five days volunteer leave per year.
In addition to benefitting the given organisation, volunteering also has various personal benefits:
- Making a Difference – Volunteering has a positive effect on people and communities
- Taking on a Challenge – Volunteering can help individuals challenge themselves and set personal goals and achievements
- Meeting Friends – Volunteering is an excellent way to meet new people and make new friends
- Gaining New Skills – Volunteering enables people to gain experience and adopt new skills
- Gaining Confidence – Volunteering offers the opportunity to try something new and have a sense of achievement.
“An engaged employee at Network Rail speaks highly of the organisation to their friends and family and would recommend it as a place to work. They are committed to working towards a better railway for a better Britain with safety at the forefront of their minds and see a clear link between the work they do and the organisation’s goals. As a result, they are not only willing to go the extra mile to get their job done out of passion for the railway and do so out of a sense of commitment to Network Rail and its behaviours as an organisation.” Network Rail Health and Wellbeing Strategy
Network Rail runs a bi-annual employee opinion survey called Your Voice. The survey provides an opportunity for everyone to have their say about what it feels like to be working at Network Rail.
“We believe your voice really matters. Be it about your job, your wellbeing, safety, or training needs – your feedback has the potential to make life at work better every day. So, it’s good to talk, but it’s even better to listen, and teams that turn that into action are the most engaged across our workforce.” Network Rail Health and Wellbeing Strategy
The Thameslink Programme participated in Your Voice, scoring 71% in 2015 and 73% in 2017.
The Thameslink Programme recognised that a healthy working environment is one that nurtures resilience by empowering and inspiring individuals to discover and maximise their own levels of resilience. As the programme moved towards a time of change as it drew towards a close, resilience training organisation 7Futures were engaged to lead a series of resilience workshops to help employees cope through this challenging period and beyond.
Workshops explored how individuals can work intelligently with their autonomic nervous system to achieve greater resilience, tolerance to stress, long-term mental and physical wellbeing and enhanced enjoyment. The sessions aimed to provide people with tools and techniques to apply in their professional and personal lives at a practical level.
The workshops received consistently positive feedback from delegates. In 2018 a total of 114 employees took part in the sessions, accounting for 54% of the total workforce.
“Of all the training I’ve done with Network Rail this was the most interesting and, I feel, the most important. I’ve recommended the course to colleagues and mentioned it to friends outside of the organisation. It’s one of the initiatives that make people think Network Rail is a great place to work.” Resilience workshop delegate
Diversity & Inclusion
Network Rail’s vision is to be an open, diverse and inclusive organisation. This makes us more receptive to new ideas, creativity and innovation, and supports our aim to be a more transparent and accessible organisation. When everyone is better engaged and able to fully contribute to our business, we will improve safety, performance and value.
The Thameslink Programme’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) team was a voluntary group of people sharing a passion for equality, empathy and inclusion. Its aim was to better embed, and further enhance, people’s appreciation and understanding of the value that Network Rail places in its people. It was responsible for driving Network Rail’s Diversity & Inclusion Strategy – ‘Everyone’ – across the Thameslink Programme.
The mission statement of the team was: “To create a better work life for all Thameslink Programme staff”. In line with the wider Thameslink Programme culture the team was collaborative, consisting of members from all levels of the organisation and particularly with programme partners Siemens and Balfour Beatty. It was chaired by the Major Programme Director, Simon Blanchflower.
The team undertook the following actions:
- Held periodic D&I awareness briefings, featured in every Health & Safety cascade with selected topics from a local D&I calendar containing all subjects and themes relating to D&I
- Established of a “diversi-tree” stand in the staff restaurant with details of the ethnic and national backgrounds of people working on the programme
- Implemented its own engagement survey that enabled root cause analysis and honed into areas of improvement such as bullying and harassment
- Up-skilled the Thameslink Programme executive team, in partnership with Network Rail’s central D&I team
- Delivered D&I champion training sessions for senior managers.
- Introduced the “Coffee Roulette” initiative, inspired by partner Siemens, which connected different people in the organisation through a random selection process (regardless of seniority or role) and supported inclusivity through networking.
The team also delivered other one-off awareness-raising activities, including:
- Facilitating a live session of the D&I mandatory e-learning, to foster healthy debates and signposting to internal support tools and networks
- Hosting a World Food Day event to celebrate the culinary delights from around the world donated by Thameslink Programme employees, with all proceeding going to charity
- Establishing the “post a prayer” initiative where anyone going through a particularly tough time, in need of thoughts or prayers, could request this anonymously and a prayer would be said for them at the multi faith prayer group meeting
- Promoting National Autism Week, including sharing policy advice
- Raising funds for the National Autistic Society.