Why Alstom integrated the health and wellbeing competencies framework?

Alstom already had a leadership framework in place. In order to drive a more preventative approach to health and wellbeing they wanted line managers to better understand how leadership styles impact the wellbeing of their teams.

Results from their annual employee engagement survey highlighted several areas for improvement relating to leadership and health and wellbeing. They recognised the need to provide a more positive environment where employees felt comfortable to talk about mental health and learnt how it can be impacted by the relationship and support offered by managers.

Alstom incorporated RSSB’s health and wellbeing competency and behaviour framework in briefings and workshops for line managers through a programme called Leading Mindfully. The framework enabled them to emphasise the important role line managers play in employee wellbeing and strengthen leadership capability to protect and support their team’s health.

How Alstom used the framework?

In their first step, Alstom mapped health and wellbeing competencies to their existing leadership framework, considered areas of overlap and decided where the competencies could be integrated most effectively. The mapping exercise identified the need to position health and wellbeing competencies and behaviours as supplementary to their globally accepted leadership framework at a local level.

They involved stakeholders from different UK functions in various discussions including Talent, Learning and Development and Occupational Health. The discussions focussed on using the competencies to enhance leadership skills, encourage line managers to take responsibility for wellbeing initiatives and drive awareness of Alstom’s leadership framework.

Alstom initially considered focusing on new managers, however they quickly recognised the need to raise awareness and capability of all managers. The programme was launched during the mid-year review cycle, which involves managers and employees discussing performance and evaluating competencies. This was an ideal time to brief managers on the requirements of the process while informing them on how to effectively lead employees with a focus on wellbeing.

What steps were taken to implement the competencies?

Alstom launched the Leading Mindfully programme alongside their annual performance management process. They ran a separate briefing and workshop on health and wellbeing focussing on competencies and behaviours. All line managers were encouraged to attend these sessions and additional Leading Mindfully resources were provided through the company’s intranet.

A survey was prepared for these sessions using RSSB’s self-assessment checklist with a focus on promoting personal reflection around current capabilities and challenges. This was used to engage managers and encourage them to explore their leadership level. It also provided a baseline for current competency and a point for comparison for the following year.

The survey was later made available on the intranet to continue gathering data and identify the lowest and highest rated competencies for future line management development.

What were the challenges and learnings?

Planning and leadership commitment

It was important to spend time at the outset planning, identifying and engaging the right people in the business to drive change. This initiative was not simply added to the health and wellbeing agenda as cross-functional leadership was required to drive positive changes in employee behaviour and culture.

Engaging line managers

There was a clear link between the framework and Alstom’s professional development and career planning for managers. So, it was important for this initiative not to be seen as a tick-box exercise within the performance management cycle and for it to create awareness of and improve capability to support health and wellbeing. Finding the right hook and using the right language was really important. The name of the programme, ‘Leading Mindfully’ provided branding that was relatable and had an identity consistent with the engagement survey.

Interaction and participation

Rich information was captured through real time self-assessments using Microsoft Teams poll functionality. The data collected was later analysed and translated into an engaging format for the audience. The platform also helped lead discussions, as it was possible for participants to benchmark themselves against their peers.

What was the impact on employees and the company?

Initial feedback showed there was a positive interest in upskilling, so Alstom plans to hold monthly sessions to widen the reach of the competencies. The longer-term impact will be measured via the annual engagement survey, wellbeing risk assessments, occupational health referrals, absence levels, and recruitment and retention rates.

The programme helped increase engagement in health and wellbeing so that it can be managed in a more preventative way and encourage greater line management responsibility for wellbeing. The Health and Wellbeing Competency Framework has been key in the enhancement of this programme and adding value for managers.

What are the next steps?

Plans have already been put in place to provide further briefings and content over the year to ensure a wide reach and continued engagement. Alstom plans to use the feedback from the survey to identify training needs for managers. Additionally, individuals will be encouraged to use the results of the self-assessment to build personal development plans. Alstom also plans to provide line managers with a survey they can share with their teams to encourage anonymous feedback.

Alstom sees the development of health and wellbeing capabilities as part of a broader behavioural change within the organisation’s whole business strategy. They are working to identify the enablers of change to continue to drive this forward.