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Centrica plc

Winner: 2009 AARP International Innovative Employer Award

The company’s Building Confidence program seeks to increase management capability to deal with health issues in the workplace. This program includes training sessions on a range of subjects, such as musculoskeletal disorders, confidentiality, and the Disability Discrimination Act.

The Wellness Induction program offers information and interventions to empower and educate employees about their well-being, including discounted gym memberships, the use of fleet vans to get to the gym, and information on knee and back wellness. Wellness Induction is now also part of the apprentice program.

Centrica partners with Nuffield Health and Occupational Health to offer engineers a program that addresses overall lifestyle elements that can result in injury and illness. The program is particularly aimed at younger and older engineers. It also includes a two-hour personal-coaching session at the gym.

The Carers’ Network, which employees who are also caregivers set up in 2004 to provide mutual support and advice about combining caring and working, has more than 100 members. Employees with caregiving responsibilities are encouraged to join the network, to share experiences, and to help shape the company’s practices on caregiving.
Diversity Promotion: Centrica has rolled out diversity-awareness training across the group. Policies include an expectation of diversity and inclusion, the avoidance of harassment and bullying in the workplace, a guide to equality and diversity, and a guide to the Disability Discrimination Act.

The British Gas Services (BGS) Academy has a dedicated diversity-and-inclusion team in charge of recruiting older and younger workers and improving the representation of female engineering recruits and those from ethnic minorities.

A core member of the Employers Forum on Age, Centrica recognizes the importance of employing an age-diverse workforce. Age has been a core element of the company’s diversity strategy and policies for a number of years. The Centrica Age Action Group continues to review company policies and practices to ensure they are age friendly and beyond mere compliance. The company is reaching its goal of addressing age diversity by introducing a new retirement process, amending redundancy (or layoff) schemes, removing the upper-age limits for entrance to Centrica’s British Gas apprenticeship schemes, introducing a healthy aging program, making innovations in flexible working, and developing an Age-Awareness e-learning package for managers and employees.

Centrica’s “age aware” communications, training programs, and policies continue to demonstrate that Centrica employs workers of all ages.

Recruitment: Centrica has many established policies and practices that focus on age neutrality to attract and recruit new talent. Removing age as a factor from the selection process and from the way it thinks about hiring, the company has invested heavily in educating its recruiting population. In its job descriptions, Centrica does not look for “years of experience” but for the skills, attitudes, and behaviors that are known to be required in order to do a great job in the organization. At the same time, in order to ensure that Centrica’s workforce reflects its diverse customer base, the company employs recruitment campaigns to attract older workers and people of diverse ethnicities.

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