How we view employees and the environment we work in has evolved. So has the awareness and understanding of organisations as to how important people’s wellbeing is and how this adds value to their places of work. Louise Ward, HSEQ Director Siemens Mobility, shares with Allen & York what wellbeing means to Siemens and the importance of wellbeing in the workplace.
What does wellbeing mean to Siemens?
Our people are right at the heart of our business. They are essential to everything that we do, so we want to do everything that we can to ensure that they are fit, well, engaged and supported. We want our people to enjoy coming to work, to feel fulfilled and engaged in their job and to go home fit, well, happy and ready to enjoy their lives outside of work.
Why is having a wellbeing strategy important to Siemens?
Trained and competent people are in short supply in our industry, and we have an aging workforce, but competent people essential to our business, so it is absolutely vital for us to have a framework in place that promotes the health and wellbeing of our workforce in order to safeguard our future.
What advice would you give to organisations looking to improve the wellbeing of their employees?
Adopt exactly the same process that you would use for safety. Analyse your health and wellbeing risks and design suitable control strategies. There’s no point having fruit in the tea point and a cycle to work scheme if all your staff operate remotely and have company cars!! Understand your risk profile and engage with your people to find a wellbeing strategy that will be fully effective. (Some practical tips here: www.amazon.co.uk/Organised-Wellbeing-Practical-Lessons-Excellence-ebook/dp/B07JK9BG46)
What are the biggest challenges for implementing a wellbeing programme into an organisation?
In short – Britishness!! To be effective we need to get over our inhibitions about discussing health and wellbeing matters. The more we talk about these things the easier it will get and the better we will be able to support each other. A great many issues can be dealt with through simple conversation and peer to per support, but it’s also important to have a framework of professional support to call on for more serious and complex issues.
How do you see wellbeing developing in the next 5 years?
This is very much the issue of our time. The workforce is shrinking, the world of work is changing and the pace of life is increasing. Health and wellbeing now are where safety was 20 years ago and I would anticipate a similar trajectory of change over the next few years.
Louise Ward is a Chartered Health and Safety Practitioner with over 20 years experience. Her career has spanned a range of business sectors and high profile companies including British Nuclear Fuels, News International. BP, JP MorganChase, the Engineering Employers Federation, the Civil Service, Network Rail, Thames Water, and the British Safety Council. She is now Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Director for Siemens Mobility, overseeing rail and traffic management operations across the UK.
As well as being a practicing health and safety specialist, Louise has been involved in the development of legislation, guidance material and regulatory policy. She has a particular interest in professional development and supports a number of initiatives in this area. She is a visiting lecturer at Middlesex University and a member of a trailblazer group developing degree level apprenticeships. Louise writes regularly for the trade press, and recently co-authored a handbook about wellbeing which has been published by Routledge.