british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2010 - Creating a great place to work

Skip Data Fast Track Navigation

Data fast track

Sustainability Report 2010

We know that people do not stay in jobs just because of the pay or promotion opportunities. Employees want a supportive culture where their views are listened to.

Creating a great place to work

Our latest ‘Your Voice’ employee opinion survey was conducted in 2010. All employees were invited to participate and 90 per cent did so.

Since the last survey in 2008, British American Tobacco has begun a period of organisational change. The survey results help us gauge how employees feel about the way those changes are managed. We also use the survey to assess employee engagement.

The high-level results are shown in the Your Voice chart. In all 11 categories, employee opinion of British American Tobacco was more positive than the benchmark for businesses in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector. We either maintained or improved on our 2008 scores in eight of the 11 categories:

  • 89 per cent of respondents are proud to be associated with our organisation (2008: 87 per cent);
  • 84 per cent believe strongly in the goals and objectives of their business unit (2008: 83 per cent); and
  • 83 per cent would recommend British American Tobacco as a good place to work (2008: 82 per cent).

However, the survey also told us that, while business communication generally is thought to have improved, communication on organisational changes could be clearer. This lack of clarity has caused anxiety for some employees. Gaps were also identified in the area of people leadership and we did not compare as favourably against the FMCG benchmark for work-life balance.

Results of the survey were communicated to employees in late 2010 and in 2011 we will work with them to address the issues raised.

We know that conducting the survey every two years cannot provide as immediate a picture as we would like of how employees are responding to business changes. Therefore, in 2011, we plan to explore how we could conduct more regular pulse checks of employee opinion.

Managing change

We have developed plans to help our employees remain engaged and motivated through organisational change. These plans focus on four areas:

  • Ensuring employee issues are integrated into organisational change proposals;
  • Ensuring good communication around change;
  • Developing line managers’ skills to support their teams; and
  • Equipping all employees to deal successfully with change.

It is important for our employees to understand that, while our organisation is changing, our culture is not. To help define this culture, we have developed a set of core values that build upon our previous guiding principles and were shaped through a series of employee focus groups.

External allegations

In 2007, a complaint against our company in Malaysia alleging the reclassification of roles to reduce union membership during an organisational restructure was made by the Malaysian Trade Union Congress on behalf of the British American Tobacco Employees' Union, to the UK OECD National Contact Point (UK NCP).

In December 2010, the UK NCP determined it would not investigate the main allegation of reclassification of roles to reduce union membership, as to do so would require examination of the merits of legal decisions made by Malaysian authorities. This would have the risk of reaching different conclusions from those of the authorities and could put British American Tobacco Malaysia in a situation where it might face a conflict between the UK NCP's conclusions and that of local laws. However, the UK NCP examined a secondary allegation of insufficient consultation prior to the restructure and has concluded that British American Tobacco Malaysia breached a provision in the OECD Guidelines.

The UK NCP has recommended that British American Tobacco Malaysia include a process on consulting and informing its employees on matters of mutual concern before key decisions are made on those matters and to provide an update to the UK NCP by June 2011. We remain convinced that our Malaysian subsidiary fully complied with local legal requirements as well as our own Group Employment Principles.

Employee health and safety

There were 29 serious injuries in 2010, involving 25 employees and four contractors. Of these, four were fatalities (three employees and one contractor), compared to three in 2009 (all employees). One was the result of a fall from height and the three others resulted from vehicle accidents. We greatly regret this loss of life and we systematically review every major incident to identify any ways in which we can prevent a recurrence.

We monitor our Lost Workday Case Incident Rate (LWCIR), along with the number of serious injuries and fatalities for both employees and contractors. The Group’s LWCIR in 2010 was 0.27, an improvement on 0.37 in 2009. However, this was largely the result of the acquisition in Indonesia significantly increasing the total hours worked for the Group. Excluding Indonesia the Group’s LWCIR is 0.38 - a small increase from 2009. Our actual number of lost workday cases increased to 212 compared to 206 in 2009, while 62 per cent of our sites were accident free in 2010.

The highest proportions of injuries were vehicle-related at 25 per cent (25 per cent in 2009), manual activity at 25 per cent (20 per cent in 2009) and slips and trips at 21 per cent (22 per cent in 2009). Entrapment accidents decreased to 9 per cent compared to 12 per cent in 2009.

We have developed a scorecard that is being used by our Trade Marketing & Distribution teams to monitor vehicle-related injuries. Risk assessments and root cause analyses are being used at our manufacturing sites, to help find engineering solutions to safety hazards, including entrapment accidents.

See the health and safety data charts.

We are committed to providing a safe working environment for our employees and contractors. We have updated our health and safety strategy to focus on management accountability and individual responsibility. In 2011, we will extend this to focus on using a risk-based approach to develop targeted programmes to reduce the main causes of accidents and serious injuries. This will include:

  • Encouraging dialogue between managers, employees and business partners to promote involvement in developing workplace precautions;
  • Launching awareness campaigns aimed at reducing certain types of accidents;
  • Enhancing skills and training for both our Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) employees and management to help them work in partnership to drive improvements in our EHS management system;
  • Improving our internal audit process to ensure that our risk controls and management systems remain fit for purpose; and
  • Extending the scope of our reporting to provide additional information to assist us in further shaping and developing our priorities in health and safety and optimising our occupational services to support employees to return to work following an accident.

Our programmes to protect and promote health at work continue to be a priority area of our strategy. These include initiatives to prevent work-related illnesses and significant endemic diseases, including programmes focused on HIV/AIDS which you can read about below.

Significant endemic diseases and HIV/AIDS programmes

In many parts of the world, local health services struggle to provide an adequate service and diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, hepatitis and significant bowel infection are responsible for notable levels of death and disability.

Our Significant Endemic Disease programme aims to reduce the impact of such diseases on employees, their families and communities. It includes disease measurement and a range of interventions such as vaccination, peer education, water purification, nutrition and personal hygiene. We are a member of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Opens in new window, an alliance of international businesses committed to expanding and improving the business response to these diseases and in 2010, our companies ran our Significant Endemic Disease programmes in 21 countries, with a considerable focus on HIV/AIDS in Africa and Middle East and Asia-Pacific. We prioritise prevention programmes on the most prevalent diseases and, when AIDS is prevalent in a country, prevention of AIDS takes priority.

For example, our company in South Africa runs an HIV/AIDS programme for its employees and their families which focuses on education, voluntary testing and counselling, and providing care and support to affected employees.

The focus was broadened in 2006 into an integrated wellbeing programme, based on personal lifestyle choices. This shift helped position HIV/AIDS as a serious and chronic but manageable disease, as opposed to a stigmatised one, and helped employees and their families to understand that by being part of the programme, they would be better able to manage their risk.

You can read more about this in our Sustainability Report 2009 Opens in new window.

Creating a great place to work: what’s next?

We will develop action plans with our employees in response to our opinion survey and examine the feasibility of more regular checks of employee views. Our updated health and safety strategy will be rolled out in 2011.

Related infomation


Comment from
Ernst & Young LLP

Through our review of British American Tobacco data we have seen an increase in vehicle-related injuries in recent years. In 2009, a programme aimed at reducing these injuries in the Trade Marketing & Distribution teams was launched and, in 2010, a scorecard has been developed to monitor vehicle-related injuries and identify areas for improvement. In future, it will be important that the effectiveness of these activities in reducing the number of incidents is reported.