Wastewater utility solutions provider and drainage specialists Lanes Group employs around 2,200 people across the UK. Many of its employees are in skilled manual roles, such as its jetting and excavation engineers, and the vast majority, around 87%, are male. “We have had some issues with mental health,” says Debi Bell, head of HR at Lanes Group. “It can be very difficult to get men to open up about these types of problems.”
Keen to support them and remove the stigmas around mental health, the employer has adopted a variety of different initiatives. These include a wellbeing app, which asks employees how they feel at the start of every shift, giving them options from very happy to very unhappy. If an employee says they’re unhappy, an independent wellbeing practitioner will give them a call to see if they need any additional support. “It’s helped some of our employees but it’s also changed the way they think about mental health,” says Bell.
Alongside the app, the organisation has around a dozen mental health first aiders. These were introduced around three years ago, to raise the profile of mental health and give employees another option to access help if they were struggling.
It also recently added a package of wellbeing support through its death-in-service provider, Canada Life. This includes a wellbeing app, online GP and 24-hour mental health support.
As well as providing a range of options for accessing support, the organisation is also aware that employees’ working arrangements can make a big difference to their mental wellbeing. “Within our depots, if people work well together, we’ll always try to pair them up as a team as this helps to create a supportive culture,” says Bell. “This, and all the initiatives we’ve introduced, means that employees are definitely more open about their mental health now.”