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2011 Best Employers - International

Centrica plc

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

Winning Years: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008
Industry: Energy
Location: Windsor, United Kingdom
Employees: 27,564; Percentage over age 50: 14.8

An integrated energy company, Centrica promotes an age-diverse workforce. Its flexible working and careers program allows employees to individually optimize their work-life balance. The majority of workers take advantage of flexible work arrangements. Centrica's Age Awareness e-course educates employees about age diversity.

See also: How the 2011 Best Employers winners were selected.

Lifelong Learning and Training: Centrica has a three-pronged approach to building its talent pipeline:

  • Continuing to develop the skills of existing employees through learning and development programs.
  • Partnering with universities and industry organizations.
  • Bringing in new skills through acquisitions and external recruitment.

To strengthen the ability of leaders to recognize and nurture talent Centrica developed:

  • Honest Conversation workshops to provide them with the tools they need to have effective performance discussions with their teams.
  • Talent Toolkits to help leaders identify, manage and develop the talent in their teams.
  • Talent Boards to identify high potential managers and target training accordingly.

A General Management Program focuses on equipping High Upward Potential leaders with the leadership skills and behaviors to support them in the transition to bigger roles in the future. The Leaders Journey and Leadership Masterclasses, as well as coaching and mentoring, also help develop leaders.

Centrica provides detailed training for new starters and refresher courses for existing employees in areas such as diversity, age awareness and vulnerable customers. A structure of career progression and development ensures that they are provided with life-long learning; 73 percent of employees participate annually in a training program.

Centrica provides financial support and time off for employees who want to study for professional accreditations or post-graduate qualifications.

Flexible Work Arrangements: Work:wise is Centrica's flexible working program designed to give employees greater control over their lives while using office space more efficiently. The company designed an engagement program to give both managers and individuals the information and confidence to decide how they could work differently.

Employees can choose changeable start and finish times, shift work, job sharing, staggered hours and part-time working. Centrica considers a range of flexible working patterns and employs a number of worker types, including office, mobile, field based and home based workers. Employee requests are supported wherever possible, while considering the needs of the business.

Next: Health initiatives, 'Age Awareness' diversity program. >>

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