That does not mean just ensuring their physical wellbeing. There was a time when a company simply had to ensure people left work in the same condition in which they arrived.
For an employer to be truly responsible today, companies are also contributing to their people’s mental, social and financial wellbeing.
This total approach to employee wellbeing was underscored by Business in the Community (BITC) when launching a refresh of WorkWell, their framework to support the strategic intent to embed wellbeing into an organisation’s culture.
“Evidence on what works has strengthened and concepts of wellbeing have become more holistic. It is now recognised that wellbeing at work is shaped by a much broader range of factors, from sleep to financial stress,” said Dr Fiona Adshead, Independent Wellbeing, Sustainability and Public Health Advisor to BITC
As an employer of over 7,000 people, Unipart highly values the engagement of our employees.
At the centre of our approach has been The Unipart Way, our philosophy of working which encourages everyone to solve problems at their own level. Through The Unipart Way, we have consistently driven a culture of safe working, increased productivity and job satisfaction.
This was recognised with the award of an unprecedented 13 British Safety Council Swords of Honour in a single year bringing our total number of Swords of Honour to over 50.
Unipart WorkWell strategy
Using the BITC WorkWell framework and internal analysis by our HR function, we established our employee wellbeing strategy ‘Unipart WorkWell’.
The strategy aims to improve the health and wellbeing of our people in three areas: encouraging them to take personal responsibility for their own health, supporting line managers to understand the impact of their actions on the wellbeing of others, and mitigating factors that could have a negative, or potentially negative, effect on wellbeing.
We launched the strategy with distinctive Unipart WorkWell designs and visuals to give a consistent feel of the brand across our sites in the UK. Crucially, we appointed a Wellbeing Champion at each of those sites as a conduit to channel information.
In addition, regular Unipart WorkWell emails keep employees up to date with links to dedicated areas of our website and intranet site.
A key element of the strategy is Unipart Cares, our employee assistance programme, which provides confidential, impartial advice from a third party.
Since its launch, many employees have used Unipart Cares for information on a wide variety of topics include health, legal and financial advice.
In addition to the support given by Unipart Cares we’ve been embedding mental health training into line manager development and other programmes.
Sleep and finances
More recently our strategy has turned to two new areas: sleep and finances.
Between 10 and 20 per cent of the working population are suffering from insomnia which can have a detrimental effect on both their productivity and focus during the day, as well as on mood, relationships and the ability to concentrate.
Through our online Unipart WorkWell channels and the Unipart internal video news programme, Grapevine, we have promoted the use of a digital sleep improvement programme called Sleepio, which has been designed for people who are suffering from insomnia, or chronic difficulties with either falling asleep, waking up too early or waking up feeling unrefreshed.
Sleepio is available to all NHS patients in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Greater London. This is just one example of how, through collaborative partnerships and good communications, our employee wellbeing strategy benefits from services already existing in the community.
Poor financial wellbeing can have an impact on a person’s health. As part of Unipart WorkWell, we have shared regular communication on many aspects of financial wellbeing, such as promoting debt management services available through Unipart Cares and promoting education on savings and loans through a carefully-selected partner, Salary Finance.
We arrange site level informal ‘lunch and learn’ education sessions on topics such as ‘Financial Wellbeing for Women’, ‘Financial Wellbeing for Millennials’ and ‘Wills and Inheritance’.
Positive business outcomes
Unipart WorkWell has contributed to positive business outcomes in many areas.
Employee engagement has increased, and hours lost due to absence have dropped significantly, with an estimated saving of £330,000. Overall, since the introduction of Unipart WorkWell in 2015, we have calculated a return on investment of 400 per cent.
But this is by no means the end of the journey. Unipart is continually seeking innovative ways to bring a more holistic and responsible approach to the wellbeing of our employees.