As one of the largest New Zealand companies on the NZX, and New Zealand’s largest distributor of electricity and gas, Vector sees it as their responsibility to step up and lead the charge on workplace wellbeing, health and safety, diversity and inclusion, and environmental leadership.
Vector reached out to the team at Umbrella Wellbeing early on in their journey, knowing Umbrella’s strong reputation for scientific rigour and practical help, and quickly established how to work together. Now, as Vector’s Complete Wellbeing Partner, the team at Umbrella has been working with Vector every step of the way, for the last 18 months, towards stronger mental health at work and a wellbeing strategy that really works.
“The specialist skills of the Umbrella team mean that we have great confidence in the wellbeing strategy we have developed together… We also know that there will be bumps in the road and we have partners in Umbrella to help us navigate our way through challenges along the way, learn and move forward.”
Through comprehensive assessments and evaluation (Umbrella’s Psychosocial Risk Assessment and Wellbeing Assessment), they gathered the data needed to inform the development of a robust wellbeing strategy. This opened the door to Umbrella’s team of registered psychologists who have supported Vector’s people directly through group sessions and short wellbeing training.
Here’s how Umbrella and Vector have rolled up their sleeves to build a workforce that is resilient, supported and striving to thrive – and what they are doing next.
What does employee wellbeing mean to Vector?
Vector is leading the transformation of the energy sector to create a new energy future; by supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our people, there is an opportunity for transformation and new futures of work, too. We want to foster a more engaged and productive workforce with a greater sense of meaning and purpose, in and outside of the workplace. The Vector team wants to play a part in supporting the good health and wellbeing of our people and our communities. Our belief is wellbeing is multi-dimensional, that there are many things that impact on how we feel, and how we feel impacts on what we achieve both at work and outside of work. We want to support our people to live better lives by working to address what our people need to support their mental health and wellbeing.
What are Vector’s goals for building employee wellbeing?
Our goal is to equip our staff with knowledge and tools to navigate the changing pace and nature of the working environment to create positive change. We want this mahi to be led by our people, rather than imposed from the top and not hitting the mark.
We want our people to know that their wellbeing is a priority for Vector. Mental health and wellbeing isn’t a project with an end date and so we want to be constantly reviewing and evolving our approach. Creating a culture where staff feel included and trusted, have strong working relationships, and can lead a healthy and meaningful life is the ultimate aim.
What motivated you to partner with a workplace wellbeing provider like Umbrella?
We knew that we had a lot of good things happening in the business in terms of wellbeing but the “glue” and the strategy was missing. With good intentions, we had a lot of initiatives but were not being as disciplined as we wanted to be around evaluating and making sure we were addressing real needs or gaps. We have a diverse workforce across a range of dimensions, so we are determined not to revert to a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
Why have you chosen the Umbrella team as your Complete Wellbeing Partner?
We knew of Umbrella’s reputation and, after first working together, felt we had a real cultural alignment and they “got” us. We wanted the rigour and science that Umbrella has, coupled with a pragmatic, roll-up-our-sleeves attitude. And it is “our” sleeves—we see this as a partnership between Umbrella and Vector, every step of the way.
What work have you done together with the team at Umbrella so far on your journey?
Kate has been amazing in helping us pull together what we had, what we were doing and where we wanted to go. We now have a comprehensive wellbeing strategy for Vector along with a 1- and 3-year implementation plan of how we can really embed our strategy and wellbeing. We have data behind our strategy from the Wellbeing Assessment and psychosocial risk assessment, so we know that our strategy aligns with what our people need. We can’t wait to redo the Wellbeing Assessment with our people to see how our strategy is going and if it’s truly helping our people.
What is the biggest challenge in your organisation when comes to supporting employee wellbeing?
One of our biggest challenges was knowing where to start. Then what to stop, determining what was adding value and improving wellbeing for our diverse workforce.
How does Umbrella’s support help you reach your employee wellbeing goals?
The specialist skills of the Umbrella team mean that we have great confidence in the wellbeing strategy we have developed together that supports our people, teams and the organisation to achieve our goals, create a high performing and resilient culture. We also know that there will be bumps in the road and we have partners in Umbrella to help us navigate our way through challenges along the way, learn and move forward.
What are your next priorities when it comes to supporting your people’s wellbeing and mental health?
We are focused on getting the strategy up and running and getting alongside our people to further develop the implementation plan.
What is your advice to business leaders who have just started their wellbeing journey and want to do good for their people?
Just start, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to wellbeing, as all people and businesses are different. Get your people involved in the process – no-one has all the answers, so co-create together. At Vector, we believe that mental health and wellbeing is something that businesses can collaborate and be generous about sharing the wins, the learnings and, dare we say it – the failures. It’s in the interests of us all to contribute to a workforce that is resilient, supported and striving to thrive.
Umbrella Wellbeing and Vector are excited to continue with their partnership towards a thriving workforce – navigating the ups and downs, and celebrating the wins, together. Building on the good work that’s already underway, they’re looking forward to the next stage: embedding wellbeing into Vector’s organisational DNA, and continuously evolving to meet the needs of their diverse workforce.
If you’re interested in learning more about Umbrella’s Complete Wellbeing Partnership and how it works in practice, you can read more by clicking here.