Creating a benefits package that works for employees in the traffic management business is tricky, due to the high risks jobs involved. According to insurance companies, traffic workers are up there with fighter pilots in terms of the risk to life.
Chevron expected its help with life assurance would be the most warmly received part of the package, but it turns out that the add-on wellbeing benefits have gone down a storm and the company is now rolling them out across the entire group.
We spoke to Darren Gagan, Group Head of People, at Chevron Traffic Management Group to find out more…
Tell us about your new benefits package and what you’ve prioritised and why?
What we found was that our road workers were quoted inflated prices for life assurance due to the nature of the work they do.
When we talked to our employees about the benefits programme, what they said they really needed was help getting life insurance due to this inflation.
So, that’s what we did. We, as a company, got life insurance for our employees, which launched in May.
Obviously we hope they never have to access it but it gives our employees peace of mind that if something happens, their family has financial security.
As part of this cover, we also got the add-ons of 24/7 GP appointments for the employee and everyone in their family, and the same for physiotherapy sessions.
As well as that, they can now also access a wellbeing coach who can help them look at all aspects of their life from financial to physical health and puts together a wellbeing plan that’s tailor made around their lifestyle and commitments.
What’s the reaction been to these benefits?
The most successful and popular benefit has definitely been the fact that people can now have access to a GP 24/7 at no cost to them apart from the prescription.
This is also great for the business because it saves people having to take time off to go to the GP.
It’s great for them, too, because in theory they can get a doctor’s appointment at 3am, when they’re working out on the roads, as many of our employees work at night. So they make the most of their time too.
It’s as simple as downloading an app and accessing a list of times a GP is available. Or, for those that aren’t tech savvy, they can make a phone call instead.
The same is true with the physiotherapy appointments, which are important given the majority of our workforce is very physical. They’re video based which means employees can access the appointments while at work if that suits them.
It’s much quicker than waiting for a referral to come through via the NHS, so our colleagues see these benefits as really tangible, valuable benefits.
You’re now rolling the programme out further, is that right?
Yes, we introduced it initially to the main business but we’ve got another seven subsidiaries in the UK and we are rolling it out to them over the course of October, November and December. So it’s very new, but the feedback we’ve had so far has been really good.
What results have you seen so far?
It’s too early for results but clearly we’re looking to reduce our staff turnover. Exit interviews have told us that one of the reasons in the past that people was because benefits, such as the ones we have introduced, were not readily available. We’re now one of the first companies in this industry to offer benefits like this. It’s a real plus from a recruitment point of view too.
What’s been the biggest challenge in this new benefits programme?
Getting employees to download the new app on to their phones. They often think they’re then giving us access to everything on their phone, which is not the case. So, the challenge is getting people to understand what you’re trying to do for them and the benefits of downloading apps.
We also have a separate benefits programme known as “Fill your Boots”. This is a distinctly different programme to the “Help@hand benefit” programme and offers multiple discounts at all the major UK retailers. On average this year our team members have saved an average of over £600 each by using the platform.
Collaboration is key to how you work at Chevron. Tell me more about that….
Wellbeing sits with our ESG team and the CEO has been very clear that we need to make sure different functions are communicating well with each other so there’s no duplication.
We also work very closely with our marketing teams to externally promote what we do, and what benefits are available. We’ve put videos together, for example, of people talking about the different benefits that they’ve been able to access. We don’t work in silos, we have a very joined-up approach.
What have you learned about collaboration most?
Be transparent about what you’re doing. Don’t look to take the glory for anything, focus on the employees and enabling them to feel the benefit. We’re lucky in our teams; nobody is looking to try and be ‘better’ than anyone else and there’s a strong sense we’re all working for the common good.
Ah, one of our most read articles is about taming the ego! What advice do you have on that, and not falling into the trap of glory hunting?
Well, it helps that our teams, in particular the Heads of Department, are not looking for individual praise and we work together to promote the benefits for the good of our workforce .
All the teams create all the content and push the case studies forward, for example, so the marketing team can work their wonderful social media magic.
Similarly, a lot of what we do feeds into the social value benefit the company brings, related directly to ESG.
What’s your top tip for good collaboration?
Be clear on what you’re trying to achieve and identify what would be the potential blockers. Ask: what is it we need to do to be able to get to the promised land?!
Also, don’t go saying ‘oh, I’ve fallen out with another senior team member’. As we’d say, ‘have a straightener!’ I also have a saying ‘Your ego aint your amigo!’. That’s to say, talk about it openly and sort it out. The company very much has the ethos of ‘we’re in this together’.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing other people be a success because of my intervention and seeing them grow.
I’ve got a fabulous team and I recruited all of them on attitude. Yes, I needed some experience and qualifications, but the attitude is the most important of the mix for me.
What kind of qualities are you looking for, that you think we need in HR now, especially when it comes to the wellbeing agenda?
The understanding that people come in all shapes and sizes. People have good days and bad days.
I say to my team don’t treat people how you want to be treated; treat them how they want to be treated. I’m looking for people who understand what makes people tick and act accordingly.
It’s really important that you individualise what motivates somebody because it’s different from person to person.
What’s your biggest wellbeing challenge currently?
The cost of living crisis. We’ve really tried to provide information and benefits that support people and we’ve invested heavily in mental health first aiders this year because we employ predominantly men (85%), who don’t talk about their mental health so openly. We’ve also got an awareness campaign around testicular cancer which aims to give them informaiton in the language they would use called ‘Let’s talk bollocks’.
Another challenge which relates to diversity is trying to attract women to our industry because the majority of our work is done at night, which is not the best time if you’re a main carer and got kids.
What the next step for you on the wellbeing agenda?
We are on the cusp at looking at how we can do more for our neurodivergent colleagues. Looking at how we attract and support them. This comes with unique challenges as, for example, some neurodivergent people see coloured signs differently from their neurotypical colleagues.
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