We have invited our 2017 Womenspire Award Winners to reflect on their success. Welsh Water won our “Employer of the Year” Award, here is their story, told by Linda Williams, HR Director…
Linda Williams, HR Director
What did it feel like to win?
It was a fantastic achievement to win and such a great boost to the many people who have worked hard over recent years to make Dwr Cymru Welsh Water a better place to work for everyone. For a company of our size – we’re the fifth-largest in Wales – and one working in one of the traditionally more male-dominated industries, embracing and leading change can be challenging and something that all our 3200 colleagues need to buy into. So to be named as Employer of the Year in the awards represented a big validation of the work we’ve done in recent years – and shows we’re on the right track, even if there’s a lot of work still ahead of us.
What has happened since the awards?
We have been building on the work we’ve been doing to educate our colleagues on how to build a welcoming and inclusive place for women to work. The whole business has contributed to our Welsh Water 2050 Plan – our long-term strategy to build a sustainable successful business. With an ageing workforce we need to have strong succession and development plans to ensure we have the skills we need to be successful in the future. A big part of that is emphasising that there is no job at Welsh Water that women cannot do through our graduate and apprenticeship recruitment drive. Our What Are You Made Of? campaign focused on targeting women to apply for roles they may not ordinarily think are open to them – and features a number of strong and inspiring women at the heart of the campaign. The campaign saw a 42% increase year-on-year in the number of women applying for graduate and apprentice roles at Welsh Water, which is really encouraging for the future. We have also extended the number of events and opportunities for women to both celebrate our achievements internally, but also learn from one another. This has involved mentoring sessions for women to learn from senior colleagues, events to discuss how we can make a more inclusive environment for women to thrive, as well as sessions for girls of school age to hear from inspiring women working in STEM careers at Welsh Water.
What did you think of the Womenspire Awards event?
It was a truly inspiring evening to be around so many groups and individuals who are doing such great work to make workplaces accessible and inclusive for women across Wales. Everyone there was not just there to celebrate the amazing achievements of women across the country, but also to learn from one another about how we can best advance the opportunities for women in the workplace in future. It’s a great opportunity to get out and speak to other businesses and women who are providing more opportunities to women, and making sure more women than ever are supported to take them.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of nominating a woman or business for an award?
For Welsh Water, we rely on attracting the best people to work here and build their careers with us to deliver excellent customer service. Ensuring we are attracting the widest range of talent for our many and varied roles is essential to achieving this. As a not-for-profit company, our customers are at the heart of everything we do – so the people that work here are our best ambassadors to our customers. Being named Employer of the Year shows acknowledged the efforts of everyone across the company in making Welsh Water a place where everyone can be themselves and where women in particular are recognised and valued and can enjoy successful careers. Such an endorsement means a great deal to us – so we’d encourage any organisation or individual who is making a difference in advancing this cause to apply.