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Winner: 2009 AARP International Innovative Employer Award

The “Achieving the Balance” portfolio includes several opportunities that, although available to everyone in BT, are particularly useful to older people. They include the following:

  • Wind Down – Giving employees more personal time
  • Step Down – Moving to roles with less responsibility and less stress
  • Time Out – Providing career breaks and sabbaticals for up to two years 
  • Helping Hands – Allowing “secondments,” or loaning the services of a BT employee to a charity for up to two years  
  • Ease Down – Gradually reducing the level of responsibility while continuing work for BT

Health Promotion and Protection
: BT promotes physical and mental well-being through a framework of primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions. Primary interventions include engagement in health-promotion activities, such as Work Fit. Secondary interventions provide early assistance, such as counseling, when problems arise. Tertiary intervention is rehabilitation after illness and/or taking advice from specialists.
The Work Fit program has focused on several different areas of health and well-being, which, although they affect all employees, affect people over 50 in increasing numbers. BT has also positively promoted a mental well-being awareness program under the banner of “Positive Mentality.” The goal of this initiative is to bust some of the myths associated with mental illness and treatment and to increase overall awareness.
The “Passport” initiative features a document that an employee can complete at his or her own pace and in his or her own style describing any special work or personal circumstances or requirements. This might include whom to contact in an emergency, activities that he or she would prefer not to take part in, possible effects of medications, or simplified procedures for reporting that he or she does not feel able to come into work. This is then shared with the line manager, who does not relinquish responsibility for the individual until the Passport has been used to fully brief and hand over to the new manager. This, in turn, makes it easier for the individual to move around the business, performing different jobs but without having to keep explaining their circumstances to new supervisors.

All employees have access to the employee assistance program, which offers up to four free counseling sessions to discuss a variety of issues, including health. BT believes this program particularly benefits the older worker.

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