Creating an awesome place to work
We’re a team of 6500 employees based across 120 locations, each play their part to provide clean water and waste water removal to over 4.3 million homes and business across the heart of the UK.
Each year our team members take part in Quest, our employee engagement survey.
In 2019 we changed our engagement survey provider. We included some of the questions from our old provider so we could compare the progress we've made over the previous 12 months.
Following our Quest survey for 2019, our engagement score stands at 71%, up 9% on 2018. That score places us in the top 5% of global utilities companies, and 13% ahead of the average of our UK utilities peers.
In 2019 we were ranked 3rd in the Hampton-Alexander review of FTSE100 women in leadership, with 43.9% of our senior leadership being women.
We’re also one of only 12 FTSE350 companies with a female CEO, Liv Garfield, who in 2018 won the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year award.
These women represent the next generation of female leaders and show that having strong role models in leadership positions really makes a difference, not just for us but the sector as a whole - inspiring current employees as well as demonstrating an inclusive culture to potential employees.
Each year we produce our gender pay gap report, showing the difference between the average hourly pay for men and women across all ages, roles and levels of the business.
In 2019 we published our Skills Tap report, written in partnership with the Social Mobility Pledge. The report details how we have put apprenticeships at the heart of our long-term business strategy.
In a bid to support people from all backgrounds, we visit schools to talk about our education programmes, graduate and apprenticeship schemes, in areas of low social mobility. We aim to encourage young people from areas where opportunities are less readily available to work for us and in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics industries.
These areas of reduced opportunities as know as social mobility cold spots.
A third of the nation’s social mobility cold spots are in the communities we serve, so we have a great chance to make a real difference and create opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be there.
All our training, promotion and career development processes are in place for all our employees to access, regardless of their race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, race, sexual-orientation, age or disability.
We're passionate about putting customers at the heart of everything we do. We want our workforce to be reflective of the communities we serve, so creating an inclusive environment is very important to us.
The provision of occupational health programmes is of crucial importance to Severn Trent with the aim of keeping our employees fit, healthy and well, including an employee assistance program.
We are fully committed to supporting applications made by people with disabilities, and make reasonable adjustments to their environment where possible, to create a workplace that suits their needs.
If any employee becomes disabled during their time with us, we will re-train that employee and make reasonable adjustments to their work environment where possible, to keep them in employment with us.
We have set up a working group who will be focusing on the practical steps we can make to ensure we are removing barriers from the recruitment process and career progression.
We aim to embed best practice in our approach to improving Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation as we create a truly diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone can reach their full potential.
The provision of occupational health programmes, including an employee assistance program, is of crucial importance to us and our desire to keep our employees fit, healthy and well.
Our commitment to attracting talented people, whatever their background or circumstances, means that we support those with a disability or health condition by providing equipment and adjustments to ensure they can reach their full potential.
If any employee becomes disabled during their time with us, we will re-train them and make reasonable adjustments to their work environment, where possible, to keep them in employment with us.
We have signed up to the Government's Disability Confident Scheme and have formed a disability working group with representatives from across the organisation, who come together to highlight opportunities to create an accessible and inclusive environment for our colleagues.
We value diverse thinking and an inclusive culture. We know that diverse teams are more innovative, consider a broader range of options, make more informed decisions and drive better outcomes for the business.
There is a well-established LGBTQ+ network here who work with the leadership teams across the organisation to drive an inclusive culture that we're proud of.
Since 2017, the network has worked in partnership with Stonewall to become a diversity champion, updating our policies and procedures to be more inclusive.
We've introduced LGBTQ+ messages to our Twitter and Facebook channels, which has enabled us to show our support to customers and wider communities, sharing photos, videos and posts of our team members attending Pride events all over our region and openly celebrating Pride in our offices.
We understand everyone’s needs are different, so we have a flexible benefits platform which allows our employees to select which benefits work best for them.
To help our employees with childcare commitments, we offer tax savings on childcare vouchers, flexible working, and the option to buy or sell up to a week of extra annual leave.
All this is underpinned by maternity, paternity, adoption and career break polices which go to above and beyond the statutory requirements.
The mental and physical wellbeing of all of our employees is very important to us so we provide an Employee Assistance Programme –a free and confidential support service designed to give employees unlimited access to information, advice and emotional support –income protection and personal accident cover.
In addition, employees can select a range of healthcare benefits from our Lifestyle platform including, cycle to work schemes, discounted gym membership and our Healthcare Cash Plan which provides a range of health insurance options for employees and their family members, as well as a 24 hour virtual GP service.
With up to two paid volunteering days and charitable giving through payroll, we support our employees in giving something back to our communities too.
We have a strong partnership across three trade union groups; Unison, GMB and Unite, and we come together to discuss the areas that are most important and impactful for the majority of the workforce. An important function of the Company and Business Forum covers collective bargaining between the Company and its recognised Trade Unions.
Any agreements which require substantive changes in pay and other conditions of employment are referred to the Company Forum for approval. This function covers all employees excluding middle and senior managers and all employees of Severn Trent Business Services, approximately 91% of employees in total.
We recognise the right of all employees to Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining. We actively seek to promote positive co-operation between employees, our management team and recognised Trade Unions, ensuring all groups are represented in any major change initiative.
We meet with our Trade Unions on a quarterly basis at the Employee Forum, and see mutual benefit in sharing information with our colleagues and seek their feedback and suggestions.
We believe this fosters a common understanding of business needs and helps to deliver joint solutions with a shared agenda of making our business successful.
As well as enabling time to attend these forums we are also very supportive in providing Company time for Trade Union reps to support individual employees through difficult situations such as disciplinary, grievance, performance and prolonged period of absences. Externally we enable attendance at trade union conferences, membership recruitment activities and dedicated training for new representatives.
Our Employee Forum provides an invaluable opportunity for engagement with the whole workforce to ensure workforce views are taken into account.
To enable workforce matters to be considered at Board level, Non-Executive Directors regularly attend the Company Forum.
In 2019, the Company Forum has supported the expansion of female showers at operational sites, disability passports, dying to work charter and modernised laundry facilities on waste related sites.
Unison complemented our workforce engagement activity at their conference earlier this year. 24% of our employees have told us that they choose to contribute to recognised trade unions (GMB, Unite, Unison) through their salary. Actual membership figures cannot be confirmed as employees can also choose to pay their union membership via direct debit.
We also ensure we help all employees keep an eye on the future.
We offer a market-leading defined contribution pension scheme and double contributions that our employees make, up to a maximum of 15% of salary, regardless of their level or seniority.
As our people approach retirement we provide education and support to help them plan for the next stage of their lives.
Many of our employees are also shareholders.
We offer employees the opportunity to participate in our Sharesavescheme.
Nearly 70% of our employees are active participants in our Sharesave scheme which gives employees an opportunity to save up to £500 per month over three to five years, with the option to buy Severn Trent Plc shares at a discounted rate at the end of the period.
Owning a stake in the company encourages employee engagement and reinforces our strong performance culture. The scheme enables employees to share in our long-term success and aligns participants with external shareholder interests.
We want to recruit the brightest and best new talent and give our teams the opportunity to develop and thrive within our business.
The New Talent strategy
Our New Talent strategy determines that our intake numbers each year are based on workforce planning activity.
This approach means that we can offer permanent opportunities to those on our New Talent Programmes, as well as ensuring we are investing in the skills we need for the future.
A large organisation like us always wants new faces and bright ideas. Each year our workforce needs change as we experience retirements, turnover, and future skills requirements.
This means that our intake numbers per year change rather than having a standard intake, so that we can react to business changes and new programmes can be introduced based on skills requirements.
This helps to ensure we can be responsive to new opportunities, and introduce new development and training programmes when necessary.
We provide learning support for internal candidates who want to complete professional qualifications to support their development, including higher national diplomas, higher national certificates, degrees and masters level programmes.
We hold Employability Programmes to support local youngsters with their employability skills, as well as learning about the career opportunities we have at Severn Trent.
These include workshops around CV writing, presentation skills, interview skills and personal brand, as well as activities that gave the individuals a better understanding of their own strengths and how these can link to careers.
This is a great way for us to get people from various backgrounds interested in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics industry, with the aim of bringing fresh ideas and perspectives to an area that has previously lacked diversity.
In 2019, a total of 24 people attended our employability programme events, with 58% of attendees being female.
Many who attended the events found them useful:
“Overall it was a superb experience which broadened my knowledge of careers and apprenticeships in the water industry, allowed me to engage in a professional, real business environment like Severn Trent and has given me beneficial advice for my future career.”
Diversity amongst graduates
|2019||20||7 (35%)||5 (25%)||15 (71%)|
|2018||42||16 (38%)||12 (29%|
|2017||35||14 (40%)||12 (34%)|
|2016||38||15 (39%)||7 (18%)|
Diversity amongst undergraduates
|Undergraduates - 2019||4||1 (25%)||0 (0%)|
|Undergraduates 12 month - 2019
||12||4 (33%)||3 (25%)|
|Undergraduates Summer - 2018
||6||6 (100%)||1 (20%)|
|Undergraduates 12 month - 2018
||17||4 (23%)||6 (35%)|
|Undergraduates Summer - 2017||7||3 (43%)||2 (29%)|
|Undergraduates 12 month - 2017||14||5 (36%)||2 (14%)|
Diversity amongst apprentices
cold spot area
|Apprentices - 2019||28||8 (29%)||3 (11%)||8 (28%)|
|Apprentices - 2018
||28||9 (32%)||5 (17%)|
|Apprentices - 2017
||68*||10 (15%)||10 (15%)|
|Apprentices - 2016
||78||7 (9%)||6 (8%)|
|Apprentices - 2015
||28||0 (0%)||4 (14%)|
|Apprentices - 2014
||17||1 (6%)||0 (0%)|
|Apprentices - 2013||17||3 (18%)||0 (0%)|
Learning and Development
At Severn Trent our people are our most valuable asset. To achieve our strategy we need to ensure they have the right knowledge, skills and behaviours.
We place a high priority on developing our people to be brilliant at what they do, today and in the future.
Developing the most technical skilled workforce in the industry
Our ambition is to have the most technically skilled workforce in the industry, and we have recently announced plans to invest £10m in a new Technical Training Academy in Coventry.
“Investing in training is good for our business because it helps us to be more technically competent…it’s also good for our colleagues, because it gives them a platform for growth, promotion and more rewarding careers –and it’s good for local communities and industry too because it improves the skills base across the Midlands.”
Chief Executive’s Review, Severn Trent Plc, 2018, Annual Report and Accounts
|*Average number of training days per employer||3.18||3.04||2.78|
|Total number of training days
Employees with performance management completed by internal deadline
We now offer a pre-retirement course that helps our employees plan for a life outside Severn Trent.
The course covers a range of topics including how to adapt to a different lifestyle, financial planning, Severn Trent pensions, state entitlements, planning your estate and a personal action plan.
Health, safety and wellbeing
We believe passionately that no-one should be hurt or become unwell by what we do, whether that’s colleagues, customers or contractors.
Aiming for Goal Zero
Health, Safety and Wellbeing is embedded within everything we do and is critical to the success of our business. Our vision is that no one gets hurt or is made unwell by what we do, so we have set a goal of reaching zero lost time incidents.
Protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone we work with, including the communities in which we work, is one of our core responsibilities.
We are committed to achieving an environment and culture which is incident free and we will continue to raise the standard of health, safety and wellbeing in order to achieve our vision.
That’s why we’re committed to investing in the wellbeing of our colleagues to help them provide the best service they can, and making sure that no-one –that that’s our colleagues, supply chain partners, customers and the communities we work within –is hurt or made unwell by our work.
To incentivise best practice, 8% of our company-wide bonus is linked to health and safety performance, ensuring every member of staff has an investment in making sure we do things the right way.
Health and safety
As one of the risks that affects a huge section of our employees, driving has been a particular focus of our health and safety training and awareness recently.
Whether it’s driving to and from work, making journeys between meetings at different Severn Trent sites, collecting or delivering sludge, visiting customers, going up and down motorways or narrow country lanes, our number one priority is making sure everyone is safe in vehicles.
Our employees drive 1.5million miles in our fleet vehicles each month, and there were 383 driving related incidents in 2018. By analysing 3 years of data, we found 3 areas to focus on.
- Rear-end collisions
- Roundabouts and junctions
We went out around the company, delivering roadshows, running parking challenges and mileage competitions, speaking to employees all over the business to help raise awareness of safe driving techniques.
Health and safety in our supply chain
We work with many contractors across a variety of activities. Our core activities are in major construction and asset repair and maintenance.
Many of our higher risk activities are in these areas and we work in collaboration with our contractors to jointly understand and improve health, safety and wellbeing.
Through collaboration at director level across our supply chain, we have achieved extremely low Lost Time Incident rates in our supply chain of less than 0.10 LTIs per 100,000 hours worked in 2016/2017 and 2017/2018.
We hold monthly health, safety and wellbeing meetings with our core suppliers and agree clear targets for the year ahead. Each quarter all leaders, from team and site managers through to area managers, attend health, safety and wellbeing sessions to drive significant physical and behavioural improvements.
Over our current reporting period (2015 onwards) there have been zero contractor fatalities.
Our LTI performance