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2011 Best Employers - International

Centrica plc

Most of this energy company's workers opt for flexible work schedules

Over 60 percent of Centrica employees have some form of flexible working arrangements in place, with 9,000 engineers being home-based. Flexible working has proved popular and profitable for Centrica because it improves employees' performance and satisfaction levels and helps cut operating costs by reducing the amount of office space required.

Health Promotion and Protection: With a large proportion of employees working offshore, in power stations or in customers' homes, health and safety is Centrica's number one priority. The company offers practical support and training, raises awareness of work-related health issues and encourages personal responsibility for all aspects of health both.

Centrica's wellbeing framework focuses on three key areas:

  • Be Well: Promoting and supporting healthy lifestyle choices and behaviors among employees, using a network of wellbeing advocates, to get the most out of life and work.
  • Stay well: Maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for employees.
  • Get Well: Getting employees back to work after illness through specialist support and occupational health programs, and by recognizing and adapting to any limits in their capabilities.

Centrica's engineer well-being program addresses nutrition, hydration and fatigue, specific education about healthy backs and knees, covers the value of exercise and includes discounted gym membership. In addition, Centrica has created a mental health program that involves risk assessment, training and awareness, support of Occupational Health (OH) and our Employee Assistance Program and access to a Well-being portal. This has led to a reduction in the number of mental health related occupational health referrals.

Diversity Promotion: Centrica's British Gas Academy has a dedicated diversity and inclusion team tasked with recruiting older and younger workers and improving the representation of female recruits and those from ethnic minorities. The company's 'Age Awareness' programs have educated employees and raised awareness of age issues, promoted the benefits of age diversity and the sharing of best practice both internally and externally.

Centrica encourages the retention and recruitment of older people, recognizing the valuable experience they bring. Policies go beyond compliance to bring about lasting cultural change such as the removal of upper age limits for entrance to our British Gas apprenticeship scheme, the introduction of lifestyle contracts and healthy-aging programs and innovations in flexible working. Age is a core element of Centrica's diversity strategy and policies.

Recruitment: Centrica has removed age as a factor from the selection process. In job descriptions, Centrica is not looking for 'years of experience'. Rather the company is looking for skills, attitudes and behaviors required to do a great job in its line of business.

The British Gas Academy's attraction and diversity team, formed in 2003, works to increase diversity in relation to age, gender, disability and ethnicity in the engineering workforce, to reflect the communities in which Centrica operates. The team embraced the 2006 age legislation, understanding the value, experience and well-developed life skills that older workers bring to the workplace, and are keen to attract baby boomers in particular, who may be wishing to make life changing decisions on their careers and lifestyles.

Return to list of 2011 Best Employers - International winners. >>

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