british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2009 - Our people and culture issues and how we manage them


Our people and culture issues and how we manage themOur employees come from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and our business benefits from the breadth of ideas and experiences they bring. We aim to recognise individuality and encourage people to perform at their best.

Attracting, developing and retaining talent is key to our strategy of being a winning organisation. Given that recruitment can be more challenging for a tobacco business, having a strong and clearly differentiated reputation as an employer is critical to our long term business sustainability.

We are also experiencing a period of organisational change as the Group becomes a more globally integrated organisation. We know that we must support our people in developing the new capabilities required to work within different organisational structures.

In this context of change, our key priorities remain the same but the requirement to achieve them is even greater:

  • Ensuring we have a sustainable talent pipeline by attracting, developing and retaining outstanding people;
  • Creating a great place to work where people are recognised for the difference they bring and the contribution they make; and
  • Working to protect the human rights of our employees and those within our sphere of influence.

We are committed to providing equal opportunities to each prospective and current employee. Our Group Employment Principles Opens in new window state that we will not discriminate in hiring, promotion or retirement decisions on the grounds of candidates’ or employees’ race, colour, gender, age, social class, religion, smoking habits, sexual orientation, politics or disability. Rather we match the requirements of the job to the ability and potential of the individual.

Our companies are required to operate according to the Group Employment Principles, with flexibility to customise their management of employee and development issues in the ways that are most appropriate to their local business environments.

We aim for our benefits to be in line with the upper quartile of FMCG companies and we track employee satisfaction. Our tools include a biennial employee opinion survey and tracking of gender diversity and the talent pipeline.

We are committed to providing a safe working environment for all our employees. We monitor performance using the Lost Workday Case Incident Rate (LWCIR), along with the number of serious injuries and fatalities for both employees and contractors.

Human rights considerations are incorporated into both our Statement of Business Principles Opens in new window and our Employment Principles. Together these cover a wide range of workplace-related human rights, including discrimination, freedom of association, forced labour and child labour. We monitor human rights issues and identify related risks primarily through our risk management processes and internal audit controls and committees.

Human rights considerations are also incorporated into our major supply chain management programmes including our Business Enabler Survey Tool and Social Responsibility in Tobacco Production.

While we endeavour to maintain high standards in upholding human rights in our business and our supply chain, we also acknowledge the limits of our influence: human rights issues need to be primarily addressed by governments rather than by business.