british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2010 - Engaging with stakeholders

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Sustainability Report 2010

Employees’ expectations of the organisations they work for have been changing and navigating an approach to employee engagement that satisfies both employee and employer is challenging. However, staying ahead of other companies in understanding and responding to evolving expectations enables us to attract the best employees, build an exceptional workforce and create competitive advantage.

Engaging with stakeholders

Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that engaged and motivated employees are more productive, take less time off and are inclined to stay with a company for longer.

In 2010, we met with employees, human resources professionals and academics in a stakeholder dialogue session to explore the apparent contradiction between the needs of business in today’s tough economic climate and the changing expectations that employees have of their employers. We wanted to explore how these two trends could be aligned to create a more sustainable organisation.

Throughout the session it became clear that our approach to wellbeing, namely better understanding and improving the way our employees respond to work pressures, could play a role in enhancing business results.

The principles that emerged included:

  • Command and control management styles are no longer effective. Instead, managers should act as team facilitators, with responsibilities devolved to lower levels.
  • Similarly, in managing change, senior leaders should outline their vision and devolve responsibility for the detailed implementation to those most affected.
  • Employees want to be treated as individuals with different career aspirations and training needs. Employers should make training available but give employees more flexibility and control in managing their career development.

Engaging with stakeholders: what’s next?

In 2011, we will review our approach to employee wellbeing to establish how it can contribute to improved employee engagement.

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Stakeholder comment

The key to successful employee engagement is involving people at all levels in both the design and the implementation of organisational changes. The more people you can get on board the better.
Organisational change consultant at our stakeholder dialogue session