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Best Employers

Centrica plc

Winner: 2009 AARP International Innovative Employer Award

Winning Years: 2009, 2008
Industry: Service Sector
Location: Windsor, United Kingdom

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies

Centrica’s efforts to create an age-diverse workforce include an Age Action Group, which convenes managers from different business units to create a detailed action plan addressing the company’s aging workforce. Centrica also has an Age Awareness e-learning package for managers and employees to raise awareness about age-diversity issues. The company supports work-life balance through comprehensive, flexible work policies and a caregivers’ network.

Additional Policies and Practices
Lifelong Learning and Training: Centrica’s employee-development programs are built on the principles of inclusiveness, easy access, and equal opportunity for all. Centrica offers a suite of training and development programs which offer online and on-the-job learning to meet individual and team learning styles and preferences.

Centrica’s Group-Wide General Management Programme aims to build the company’s senior management capability and to develop successors for key roles. Subjects include change leadership, project management, finance awareness, performance management, coaching, strategic thinking, and innovation. All employees can enroll in the program. Individual employees nominate themselves to workshops after having a development-planning conversation with their manager. The company also offers support for continuing professional development and further education.

The company offers a Diversity and Age Awareness class to its new employees and includes the topics among its refresher-course offerings for existing employees. The company’s  structure for career progression and development ensures that employees have opportunities for lifelong learning. Promotion, training, and turnover statistics show no significant differences as a result of age.

Centrica has also removed the upper-age limits for entrance to its British Gas apprenticeship schemes. One recent alumni of the program is 57 years old.

Flexible Work Arrangements
: Centrica aims to support employees’ individual needs through a variety of working arrangements. These include policies supporting flexible schedules and career sabbaticals and for caregiving, maternity, family leave (including parental and dependents’ leave), and retirement.
Centrica considers a range of flexible working patterns, including changes to the hours or times employees work, flexible start and finish times, shift work, job-sharing, staggered hours, part-time, and compressed hours. At Centrica, 60 percent of employees have some form of flexible-working arrangement.
More than 60 percent of the company’s employees are now benefiting from greater flexibility through the Work:Wise program. The initiative was introduced to help employees balance their commitments inside and outside of the workplace and to make better use of office space.
A Cranfield University research report commissioned by Centrica found that flexible workers scored significantly higher than non-flexible workers on organizational commitment, empowerment, job fulfillment, and job satisfaction. Of flexible workers, 70 percent reported being either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their jobs, and there were no statistically significant differences related to the respondents’ age groups.
Health Promotion and Protection: Centrica’s occupational-health program and policies aim to prevent ill health arising from work activities and to promote wellness among employees. The program includes ensuring a good fit between the person and the job and recommending suitable adjustments. Centrica’s approach is to take action through practical support and training, by raising awareness of work-related health issues, and by encouraging personal responsibility for all aspects of health—both at work and more widely. … Back to Article

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