Dr Steve Iley Chief Medical Officer at JLR on why health and wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility

Health and wellbeing are embedded in Jaguar Land Rover’s culture, and we have a well-established ‘mind, body, life’ approach.

Dr Steve Iley Chief Medical Officer at JLR on why health and wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility

The impact of COVID-19 will be a key discussion topic for the employer panel on Wednesday 23rd September at the virtual Employee Wellbeing Congress. Join Dame Carol Black; Paul Farmer, chief executive at Mind; Vish Buldawoo, VP – global benefits and wellbeing at Centrica; and Nicola Wells, global director reward at Unilever as they discuss the legacy of COVID-19.

But COVID-19 has affected employees’ health and our wellbeing practices throughout our global network of factories. We have used an evidence-based approach to learn from experience and applied the learnings as the pandemic moved round the world.

In May 2020, we reopened our Solihull factory in the UK and built our first Range Rover under socially-distanced conditions. We took a ‘day in the life’ approach to employees’ health and wellbeing, thinking about what would be in their minds coming back to work, from arriving on-site and during their time at work to when they went home.

Before returning to work, both Jaguar Land Rover and the employee signed a charter to commit to a new way of working in the COVID-19 environment. We assessed all of our workers to see if they were vulnerable, and to understand other needs, such as childcare. Then we could agree if it was appropriate for an employee to return to work.

On every worker’s first day back, they were welcomed in the car park by their senior manager, who explained what would happen during the day and talked through changes in the factory. Being met by someone that employees know and trust is really important.

We also defined processes such as hand-washing and temperature checking and offered every employee a reusable face visor, which we also produce and deliver to key workers across the UK. If needed, we could also carry out employer-referred testing with the NHS.

Good communication has been vital. We take a multi-modal approach, combining emails, videos, podcasts and face-to-face briefings. However, two of our most effective means of sharing information are our ‘Your JLR’ app, and wellbeing website. These are open source, so anyone, including non-JLR employees, can access them.

The pandemic hasn’t changed our fundamental view on employee health and wellbeing. But it has shown that it is everyone’s responsibility, and also reinforced our CEO’s vision of Jaguar Land Rover as being one family. The UK team supported its colleagues in China with video messages in January, and vice versa when the pandemic reached the UK.

COVID-19 has accelerated our development of digital wellbeing. Health surveillance and checks can now be carried out remotely, for example, rather than face-to-face. It has also changed some of the information that employees share with us, as well as the types of health surveillance that we carry out. For example, people would have had no reason to tell us about certain medical conditions in the past because it wasn’t relevant to their job. Now, that same information might be essential to ensure that we can protect them.

A pandemic was a known risk for us but planning only takes you so far. You have to evolve as the situation changes. We will watch, evolve and learn increasingly efficient processes for the future, monitoring metrics locally and globally. That will inform any changes we make for the longer term.

The author is Dr Steve Iley Chief Medical Officer Jaguar Land Rover.

This article is featured in REBA’s Employee Wellbeing research 2020, in partnership with AXA PPP healthcare.

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