british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2011 - Viewpoint from an employee in South Africa

 
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Sustainability Report 2011
Employees see that the company cares about its people and about the country and that makes it a great place to work. Mokgethi Daniel Mokone, Human Resources Service Centre Officer, British American Tobacco South Africa

I have worked for British American Tobacco South Africa for over 30 years. More than 20 of those years have been in human resources.

It sounds like a cliché, but to its employees British American Tobacco South Africa really doesn’t feel like an ordinary company. I think there is an understanding that the company’s ultimate success depends on its people. They’re the company’s lifeblood and that view is embraced at all levels of the business.

I think focusing on becoming an employer of choice and highlighting our strengths as an employer has helped us attract and retain talented people.

Becoming an employer of choice is partly about giving employees a better work-life balance and greater control. So, for example, we introduced a greater range of flexible working options and we’ve provided an integrated wellbeing programme. We’ve also developed a coaching culture so that employees can get the help they need to develop their skills, rather than relying on classroom training to tell people what they need.

My own advancement through the company – from the factory floor up through office roles into the human resources department – has shown how, if you want to develop and progress, all the opportunities are there. I’ve been supported at every stage of my career and have been inspired by seeing the rise in Black professionals in the company.

It amazes me now to think how different a country South Africa was when I first started in the company; we were at the height of apartheid. Redressing these inequalities has been a big challenge for the whole country and businesses have an important part to play in this. 

We have a clear approach to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE). I really believe this is not about paying lip service to the Government’s B-BBEE strategy. It’s something that the company really believes in and is strongly committed to. After all, the rise in the Black middle class in South Africa presents a real opportunity for us to recruit talented professionals.

And I think employees see this commitment – not just to B-BBEE, but to all our sustainability issues and to our continued business success. They see that the company cares about its people and about the country and that makes it a great place to work.

Mokgethi Daniel Mokone, Human Resources Service Centre Officer, British American Tobacco South Africa
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