Motability Operations

Creating a coordinated approach to encourage a supportive mental health environment

Motability Operations Ltd is the organisation that brings the Motability Scheme to over 640,000 people with disabilities.  As the UK’s leading car scheme for disabled people, they offer a wide choice of cars, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, scooters and powered wheelchairs to meet customers’ individual needs. The company employs 1250 people across three offices in the UK including a Customer Contact Centre team.

The issue

As a Disability Confident Employer, there were pockets of mental health knowledge and excellence across many parts of the organisation, but there was a desire to consolidate the approach and create consistency across all teams and departments. It was recognised that by increasing the focus on mental health and building skills and confidence in this area, there would be a positive impact for employees, customers and their broader communities.

The answer

The HR Team at Motability Operations commissioned Mental Health at Work to undertake an analytical and diagnostic consultancy review of how it’s structures, systems, skills and shared values supported employee mental health. Our report and recommendations helped the company to evolve its strategic approach to supporting knowledge, competence, and confidence around mental health. 

The solution

Motability Operations are passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion and had long recognised the intersectionality of mental health to the wider D&I agenda. The company were keen to build the confidence and skills of its Leaders to manage mental health and pro-actively check-in and open-up conversations with team members as part of a preventative approach. To also consider the resources and skills required to support a successful return to work after a period of absence due to mental illness.  Maintaining a supportive and open culture where employees feel safe to talk about mental health and are connected. 

Mental Health at Work created a tailored programme of learning, rolled out from 2020, which reached some 226 Managers and Coaches.  To further embed conversations about mental health into the organisation, and offer a confidential, expert listener and signposter for any employee at the point of need, we trained a further network of 65 MHaW Mental Health Allies® (A ratio of 1 Mental Health Ally to every 20 employees). The volunteer Allies were recruited from every department and represent all levels within the business, so that there is “someone for everyone” to talk to.  These activist and risk-watchers to the mental health agenda have been successful in keeping the topic alive across the company, working in partnership with HR to ensure that resources, policies, learning opportunities and employee benefits evolve to meet the changing needs of their people.  The HR team at Motability Operations set up an Allies Group which meet quarterly, to review impact and discuss opportunities to complement the work of the existing Diversity Network Groups. They also schedule a monthly check-in for all Allies to give them the opportunity to download and maintain peer support.  

In 2022, we were delighted to work in partnership with some of the MHaW Mental Health Allies® to run an all-staff webinar to promote well-being at Motability Operations. We continue to ensure that the skills and knowledge of the Allies remain fresh, by delivering a programme of Masterclasses and updates.

The impact

Our programmes at Motability Operations saw 92% of attendees feed-back that the training was relevant at a professional and personal level and participants indicated an increased confidence in holding conversations about mental health. Several departments are now using wellbeing “check-ins” as a regular feature of their team meetings, recognising the benefit of scheduling non-work-related discussions to encourage openness and trust.

There has been an increased awareness of EAP and a subsequent rise in utilisation rate. The company have also seen an increase in open declaration of movement away from mental health on sickness absence reporting, indicating greater psychological safety. 

Motability Operations Allies have monitored the themes that employees are contacting them to talk about and this has helped HR to provide some targeted investment to widen their well-being offering, to trigger policy review and to provide further intelligence around future training needs.

The proof

In June 2022 Motability Operations received external recognition of their laudable investment in creating a workplace where mental health is a priority. They won the This Can Happen Award for the Best HR/D&I/Wellbeing Team of the Year against robust competition. 

“Winning the TCH award is very much a shared award with Mental Health at Work. We could not have achieved this without so many people’s support and passion at Mental Health at Work. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you all and your never-ending stream of ideas keeps our light shining bright. We are excited for the future, and we are always keen to be looking for ways to make progress and most importantly make a difference for our employees.

Belinda Carley, HR Manager  

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