Higgins Concrete cements mental health support into core business

April 21, 2021 4:07 pm

Higgins Concrete has put employee welfare at the front and centre of its business, partnering with Mentemia to incorporate mental health and wellbeing into day-to-day operations – and publicising it through the livery of two blue Hino mixers.

Mentemia is a mental health and wellbeing programme fronted by rugby legend and mental health ambassador, Sir John Kirwan, and health psychology specialist and clinical lead, Dr Fiona Crichton. The programme creates a platform for individuals and businesses to focus on maintaining and improving mental health through a range of tools and techniques accessed via an app. For Higgins Concrete, putting the mental health of its employees on a par with their physical health and wellbeing is a no-brainer.

“We tragically lost a staff member during the Covid-19 lockdown and that really underlined the importance of offering support to staff across both their work and home environments,” said central region manager, Aaron Currie. “So we introduced the Mentemia programme into the business, giving all staff access to the full range of support it offers.”

In the two months since its introduction, the programme has made it okay to talk about mental health, according to Currie. He has noticed a new openness between staff members as Mentemia is integrated into training and day-to-day operations.

“We’ve seen more willingness to talk. It’s slowly starting to push the stigma away. Everyone has exactly the same level of access to the app – it’s for everyone. As a business, we recognise that managers can’t work unless staff do their jobs, we don’t see anyone as more or less important – we’re all after the same end result.”

By decking out a new Hino mini mixer in the Mentemia blue livery, Higgins has purposefully chosen a truck that will pass through the hands of multiple drivers, changing every four to six months. “The small mixer requires a class 2 licence, providing an entry point for young drivers to progress towards their class 4. This helps to get new staff into our thinking and culture around mental health from the get-go,” commented Currie.

The two blue concrete mixers join an increasingly colourful fleet, alongside the existing pink Hino mixer that hit the road last year in support of Child Cancer.

“The truck left Hino in green and Higgins turned it pink for child cancer,” said Hino NZ Manawatu sales engineer, Tony Pedley. “I’m really proud of my involvement with Higgins. I get a lot of joy seeing the finished product and the fleet as a whole. The charitable involvement just adds another layer of feel-good.”

The Higgins fleet currently features at least 60 Hino mixers, plus Hino truck and trailer units, water carts, and smaller tip trucks. Eighty-five percent of the trucks in the Higgins fleet are Hino.

“They are a well-suited truck for the concrete industry in terms of their size and power-to-weight ratio,” Currie continued. “The Hino team are great people to work with, they get the trucks in when we need them and keep us aware of new technology as it’s developed. Hino is very responsive to our needs as a business.

“Hino trucks are really reliable, but if they go wrong the team gets the trucks back on the road pretty quickly – they really understand our business and go that extra mile.”