british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2009 - Creating the right environment


We are experiencing a period of organisational change across British American Tobacco. Our most recent ‘Your Voice’ employee opinion survey, carried out across the Group in 2008, showed that in all 11 categories, employee opinion of British American Tobacco was statistically more positive than the norm for FMCG businesses benchmarked by Towers Watson. The high level results can be viewed on Opens in new window. However, we also heard that:

  • Many people were struggling to cope with change in the organisation;
  • Some people were unhappy with what feels like continuous reorganisation; and
  • Many were being challenged to work in new ways for which they did not yet feel suitably equipped, including working in virtual teams, cross-functionally, or at a distance with fewer face-to-face meetings.

Creating the right environmentWe recognise the need to provide extra support to our employees during this time of change. In 2009, therefore, we strengthened our approaches to employee engagement and delivered against the action plans that had been designed to address the issues highlighted by the survey.

Progress on ‘Your Voice’ action plans

Throughout the Group, we have shared survey results with employees and sought further input at focus group sessions. Based on this, we have created global, regional and area action plans to address areas of concern. Some of these actions include the following:


What ‘Your Voice’ results told them
An opportunity for improvement was identified by the ‘Your Voice’ scores in the reward and recognition category. Better communication and sharing of successes was needed, along with more recognition for these successes.

What actions have been taken
A recognition board was established to provide consistent and transparent communication and engagement at Talent Review Meetings. The business also worked to build employees’ leadership skills with a particular focus on diversity and support for female employees.


What ‘Your Voice’ results told them
Gaps were identified relating to developing talent.

What actions have been taken
Souza Cruz, our subsidiary is Brazil, has implemented three main processes for non-management employees:

  • A new training programme ‘Executive Development’;
  • Career, development and performance management for all non-management levels; and
  • A robust internal recruitment process to fill management vacancies with non-management employees.

What ‘Your Voice’ results told them
Imperial Tobacco Canada's 'Your Voice' results showed that the company needed to do a better job of managing growth and change by improving the way it plans and communicates change.

What actions have been taken
A two-day Change Management workshop was developed. To date, 135 employees have participated in 10 workshops. The goal is for all senior leaders and managers to attend so that the principles of change management are embedded in the business.


What ‘Your Voice’ results told them
A quarter to one-third of the company’s employees didn’t think their line managers provided sufficient feedback, coaching and discussion of career development opportunities.

What actions have been taken
A Team Leadership Development Workshop, facilitated by senior managers, has been rolled out to help ensure that line managers play an active coaching role.

Employee health and safety

The Group’s Lost Workday Case Incident Rate (LWCIR) in 2009 was 0.37, an improvement on 0.40 in 2008, largely due to initiatives to reduce injuries in both our European regions. The highest proportions of injuries were vehicle-related at 25 per cent (17.3 per cent in 2008), slips and trips at 22 per cent (26.6 per cent in 2008) and manual activity at 20 per cent (21 per cent in 2008). Entrapment accidents increased to 12 per cent compared to 9.8 per cent in 2008.

There were 28 cases of serious injury or fatality in 2009, involving 22 employees and six contractors. Of the 28 incidents, three were fatalities (all employees), compared to three fatal incidents in 2008 (one employee and two contractors). Of the 2009 fatalities, one was the result of an attack during a robbery and two others resulted from vehicle accidents. We greatly regret this loss of life. We systematically review every major incident to identify any action that can be taken to improve the health and safety of our people and those we work with.

Over recent years, we have seen an increase in vehicle-related injuries and, in 2009, we began development of a programme aimed at reducing these injuries in our Trade Marketing & Distribution teams. We have established an agreed approach which will assess current performance and provide a baseline for future work.


Creating the right environment: what’s next?

We will conduct the next global employee opinion survey in 2010. In the meantime, we will continue to address the issues identified in the 2008 survey and we will be formulating plans to help employees to deal successfully with change. Health and safety will continue to be a priority and we will focus on reducing vehicle-related injuries.