Linking wellbeing data to business outcomes strengthens impetus for BP's programme

Over the last 12 months the coronavirus pandemic dominated our lives just at the time BP was also going through considerable change as a company. We had a new CEO, reshaped leadership teams at every level and had a new strategy.  

Linking wellbeing data to business outcomes strengthens impetus for BP's programme

Our new purpose is reimagining energy for people and our planet; and as part of this we aim to improve people’s lives. This makes wellbeing a unifying priority for us. To gauge where we stood, we reviewed our wellbeing plan, ran employee focus groups to look at expectations, and defined a framework and strategy for our future state.  

We have much data relating to the wellbeing of our workforce and have aligned wellbeing metrics with business outcomes such as safety and attrition. This has enabled us to demonstrate to leaders how improving wellbeing is associated with better business outcomes. This visibility has brought added impetus to our programmes.  

Thanks to these well-established metrics, we have also been able to closely monitor employee wellbeing during the pandemic and the most significant transformation in BP’s history. Our data showed us that well over half of our employees were anxious and stressed and a significant proportion were finding their workloads unmanageable.  

Our multi-layered response has included our most senior leaders taking every opportunity to actively listen and respond to employee concerns. We have enabled around 2,000 employees to attend mental health and resilience training. We also introduced new training for leaders on mental health and managing uncertainty, with around 1,000 employees completing this last year. In addition to the training, we have seen huge interest in our global employee assistance programme, with utilisation having increased by around 150% since 2018.  

The appetite from employees for mental health support was clearly shown when we launched another product last year – a company-paid subscription for employees and their families to Headspace. More than 11,000 employees worldwide have signed up in just a few months, which is remarkable. This includes our CEO, who openly talks about his experiences with Headspace, helping us build momentum for the wellbeing agenda among senior leaders.  

So, what’s next? We’re now pushing our leaders to use our data to understand the positive impact they can make on people’s wellbeing more deeply by fostering psychologically safe workplaces, identifying hot spots where wellbeing is dropping, and putting in place early interventions for the benefit of individuals and the business alike. 

The author is Richard Heron, chief medical officer and vice president for health and wellbeing, BP. 

This article also features in our Employee Wellbeing Research 2021.   

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