BT HR director says OBE will help raise profile of profession

BT’s HR director Caroline Waters, who was recently awarded an OBE in the New Year’s honours list, has described the award as a “good thing” which will raise the industry’s profile.

Waters, director of people and policy at the telecommunications giant, was awarded the title for her services to diversity and equal opportunities.

She told Personnel Today: “Any recognition of the role HR has to play in industry is a good thing.”

Over the past year, the firm has scooped countless awards for its equality and diversity policies, including the Employers Forum on Disability’s top employer for diversity; the most race-friendly organisation to work for by equality campaign group Race for Opportunity; and in August 2009 the firm was recognised by The International Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in its Equality Index as ‘the most gay-friendly organisation in the world’.

Waters told Personnel Today: “All of those things are evidence of the depth of our implementation [of diversity and equal opportunity strategies]. It’s also recognition of our willingness to share best practice and all the work we’ve done with government, working side by side, looking at the carers agenda and flexible working.”

To maintain BT’s momentum on the equality and diversity agenda, Waters added her focus for 2010 was on improving social cohesion even further, and making the company more relevant to the communities it works in.

“One of the things we will now be looking at is how you take all of that best practice in the workplace and use it to create much greater social cohesion, and how it relates to all the other things your organisation does,” Waters said.

“We are working hard to be relevant to the communities we work in and where people live. We are looking at how you bring those things together to create real social cohesion that creates happy, thriving communities.”

The Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) title is awarded each year for achievements made in any field that benefits the community.

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