Unipart Group - Unipart Workwell

The Bupa Wellbeing at Work Award, Winner (Large Company), 2016

Unipart Group has increased employee engagement, reduced absence, and built their reputation for safety through its new strategic Wellbeing programme, Unipart Workwell.

What the judges said

  • Unipart's strategic view has clear measures of success formed by a thoughtful approach to planning, from gap analysis to annual audits across a broad range of wellbeing and business topics. It demonstrates that by building a robust structure, with meaningful involvement of their people, businesses of all sizes and budgets can implement an effective wellbeing strategy.
  • A key feature is the strong alignment to Unipart's organisational culture, which values personal responsibility, ownership and is focused on continuous improvement. Step by step, tackling hurdles along the way, the company built insight and engagement to steer its activity and ensure strong buy-in at all levels in the business.
  • Unipart's programme is now also driven by Wellbeing Champions who form a steering group, which meets quarterly to respond to new challenges and opportunities. A smart way to stay on track, create engagement and to continue to infuse wellbeing into their organisational culture.

Good for society and for business

  • Over 2,000 of Unipart's employees took part in Wellbeing Events in 2015.
  • Line Managers who have received training on mental health through the Unipart Workwell programme report that it is helping them in their own lives as well as enabling them to better support their staff.
  • Unipart Workwell has helped to reduce absence levels to the equivalent of having an extra 16.5 people in the business and made an estimated saving of £330,000.
  • The company has strengthened their reputation as one of the safest companies in the world to work for, helping them to win seven British Safety Council Swords of Honour in 2015.

Unipart LogoOverview

Drawing on both internal and external evidence that employee wellbeing combined with high levels of engagement leads to greater productivity, manufacturer and logistics provider Unipart Group took a conscious approach to move beyond wellbeing initiatives in favour of a strategic programme, based on a thorough gap analysis of the group’s strengths and weaknesses.

The programme is underpinned by strong staff ownership, including a network of employee Wellbeing Champions who form a group-wide steering group, and an audit process to ensure each site is embedding wellbeing into the way it works.

Unipart Workwell encourages and supports employees, and line managers in particular, to take personal responsibility for their wellbeing, and to recognise how their actions impact on others around them. The programme is investing in staff capability to promote wellbeing, for example by starting to roll out mental health awareness training, starting with a pilot for over 100 HR professionals and managers.

Unipart Cares, the Employee Assistance Provider, has been actively promoted to staff to encourage personal responsibility for wellbeing, Since the programme launched over 2,000 individuals have participated in Wellbeing events, including:

  • Health checks 

  • Gym and fitness sessions

  • Expert presentations about heart health and cancer risks

  • Managing stress workshops

  • Stop smoking clinics 

From these events over 10 individuals have been referred to their GP due to very high blood pressure of which they were previously unaware. 

Unipart Workwell has contributed to a year on year increase in employee engagement levels, and built the company's reputation as one of the safest companies in the world to work for, helping them to win seven British Safety Council Swords of Honour in 2015.

Engaging employees with Unipart Workwell

Unipart already had a successful employee engagement strategy in place, and built on this to launch Unipart Workwell and Unipart Cares, its Employee Assistance programme. As well as establishing clear branding and visuals for the wellbeing programme the group used an email newsletter, office noticeboards, posters, leaflets, intranet, training and events to engage staff. Unipart Workwell is regularly endorsed by the Group Chief Executive in a monthly corporate video.

Giving employees a voice 

The group recognised that it is important for employees to be able to contribute to the ongoing development of Unipart Workwell. The programme is a regular Employee Forum agenda item, with discussion fed back to the Wellbeing Steering Group via local HR teams. Site Champions invite anecdotal feedback, employees are invited to respond to regular Unipart Workwell emails with ideas and comments, and feedback questionnaires are used at events.

Empowering local wellbeing champions

Unipart is a very diverse group of companies covering a wide range of activities in different sectors and different locations. The demographics across its sites are extremely variable and so the company knew that a ‘one size fits all’ approach, seen to be ‘imposed by head office’ would not work. Instead the group harnessed the enthusiasm and local knowledge of site champions and empowered them to set local priorities and tailor the programme to meet the specific needs on their sites.

What the Chair of the Judging panel said:

"Unipart’s entry is a fantastic example of how investing in health and wellbeing has a meaningful impact when aligned to the existing culture of the business. The panel was impressed by the flexible approach of Unipart’s Workwell model, which was underpinned by strong stakeholder engagement - a critical factor to success. The framework of their multi-faceted, practical and people-led strategy can be applied in many other business environments and their results are inspiring for those who want to start their own journey in this space.” - Beth Robotham,  Head of Business Development, Bupa

What Unipart Group's Chairman and Group Chief Executive said:

“In Unipart we’ve long recognised that our people are the key to our success, and for many years we’ve been pursuing a wellbeing strategy across Unipart and achieved one of the best safety records in the country, delivered a range of health awareness and wellness events across our sites and implemented a wide range of policies for looking after our people.

Through Unipart Workwell we’ve taken this a step further by encouraging and helping our people take personal responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, improve their quality and life and resilience and understand the impact of their actions and decisions on the wellbeing of others.” - John Neill Chairman and Group Chief Executive, Unipart Group