Bowker Group has placed new focus on the mental health and wellbeing of its staff with the launch of an app to help keep its employees connected.
The Lancashire-based car retail group, which has dealership sites in Blackburn, Osbaldeston and Preston, has said that it wants its workforce to “create playful experiences” with the help of its new Totem engagement platform in a bid to boost morale and foster a sense of team.
More than 20 staff have been trained to be ambassadors as access to the app is rolled out across all sites and departments.
Aimee Keane, Bowker Group’s HR manager, said: “We have employees over three sites in Lancashire.
“Especially when more of us were working from home during the pandemic, communication became even more important.
“Like other businesses we use a combination of meetings, memos and emails to keep people up to date. But what we really wanted was a simple way to give everyone a voice.
“The Totem app means that we don’t need to be in the same location to feel like we belong.
“Whether we’re working at Blackburn, Osbaldeston or Preston, we’ll all be able to share updates.
“Whether it’s hidden talents, charity challenges or personal achievements, it can all be shared and discussed in Totem to bring us all closer together.
The first invitations to make use of the Totem app were sent to Bowker Motor Group employees to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week in October.
In a matter of weeks, more than 100 employees have already signed up to contribute to online social discussions.
Keane said: “The launch on Mental Health and Wellbeing Day was no coincidence. There are real benefits to giving everyone a voice, Totem will become an important digital way we can look out for one another.
“We’ve been delighted with the way people have taken to the app.”
In a feature written to highlight the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, two advocates for mental wellbeing called on the automotive industry to address what they believe are systemic flaws in car retail culture that exacerbate anxiety and depression.
Steve Whitton and David Cain founded Menable and Automotive Minds to help address the issues dogging many in the sector.
Both agreed that greater engagement is key.
Whitton said: “I want to see the industry talking about this topic much more frequently and to get a real movement going to make it so that open and frank conversations can be had by all.
“Only then are we going to start making progress.”