BT offers HR consultancy to share best practice

BT has launched an HR consultancy service to help spread best-practice, having increased productivity by 20% and reduced absenteeism by more than one-third in the past six years.

The Sustainable Workforce Assessment will allow employers to work with BT’s HR team to learn new ways of improving staff welfare and engagement while cutting costs.

BT’s HR function cut absenteeism at its contact centres by a over third, from 6% to 2.4%, while 11,000 workers who took up flexible working opportunities now work 20% more productively than office-based staff.

The telecommunications giant has also encouraged three quarters of its long-term absentees to return to work, compared to a national average of 25%, and has achieved an 80% reduction in medical retirements through flexible working, and stress managmenet and mental health programmes.

Val Wathen, change and organisation development consultant at BT, told Personnel Today: “We looked at our own record and felt we had achieved a lot in terms of creating a more sustainable workforce at BT and we could therefore help other companies to do the same.”

One of the key ways BT improved productivity and reduced its absence rate was through a range of flexible working options. Older workers and those with caring demands were specifically targeted for flexible working.

BT offered them more flexible roles and hours, enabled them to move to less demanding roles and offered staged retirement.

Christine Moore, head of BT people consulting, said: “Creating a work-life balance for employees was key to BT’s people policy. By developing a range of options to help older workers BT has saved around £60m in recruitment costs [over the past four years] and has retained valuable talent.”

By offering flexible working arrangements to new parents BT’s HR function has also persuaded 97% of new mothers to return to work – twice the national average – saving BT £6m a year in recruitment costs.

The company’s flexible working ‘work anywhere solution’ has also enabled BT to save £600m a year in property costs.

Wathen said: “Some of the things we have achieved over the Past few years have given us much hands-on experience. The Sustainable Workforce Assessment will provide companies with access to HR practitioners who have dealt with all the issues personally rather than just theoretically.”

To deliver the advice on creating sustainable workforces the BT HR professionals will consult executives and the staff to deliver programmes which match the needs of both.

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