It is likely that the way we work will forever change as a result of Covid-19. However, our commitment to fostering an inclusive culture and building ‘A Great Place to Work’ for our people, is unwavering.
Diverse and inclusive teams are representative of the world we live in and are key to building high-performing teams. This is not about setting quotas. It is about ensuring that BAT reflects today’s talent and market needs. Therefore, improving our diversity statistics across all levels of the organisation involves understanding and focus from the leadership, board and people managers across our business.
As part of last year’s launch of our evolved strategy and purpose: To build A Better TomorrowTM for consumers, society, employees and shareholders, we refreshed our Guiding Principles with a new set of Ethos: Bold, Fast, Empowered, Diverse, Responsible.
Developed with significant input from employees, our Ethos are the thread that must run through everything we do and how we do it. We believe this set of Ethos empowers our people, fosters a vibrant and rewarding workplace and promotes sustainable long-term value.
A diverse and inclusive workforce means that we are better able to understand and meet the different preferences of our consumers, truly innovate, transform our business, and satisfy evolving consumer needs.
Our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) agenda is further brought to life through our employer value proposition (EVP): “Be the change while bringing your difference”. We walk the talk by embedding diversity and inclusion in our business strategy with accountability, through internal quarterly leadership reviews and externally through our annual reporting.
D&I awareness and empowerment
- Recruitment: We take deliberate steps to build a diverse talent pool within the business by embracing talent from different ethnic groups, religions, nationalities, professional backgrounds as well as abilities and disabilities.
- Training: Courses such as Strength from Diversity focus on unconscious bias and inclusive leadership.
- Awareness sessions: We run an awareness programme on people with disability and workplace incorporation.
- Self-assessment: A tool on mastering inclusion.
Initiatives to drive diversity and inclusion
As a result of our people-centric approach, we have been awarded the Top Employer certification for four years in a row, by the global Top Employers Institute. We received the latest certification in January 2021.
In 2017 and 2018, we were awarded by the Federation of Kenya Employers as Kenya’s Best Employer.
- Generational diversity and inclusion: We run various initiatives to nurture the next generation of talent, including our Global Graduates programme, internship programmes and competitions. Our global Battle of Minds competition is an example of a highly competitive programme, which aims to support innovation and development of future leaders. The programme challenges graduate students over the age of 18 to submit commercially viable solutions on socio-environmental issues. The winners receive a year-long internship with the relevant local BAT unit. We have also partnered with the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) to onboard eight apprentices every two years, with a target to absorb 80 percent of successful apprentices into the Business. This contributes to the country’s capacity-building and skills-development agenda for the next generation of local talent.
- Gender diversity: Today, about 40 percent of our total workforce is female and we are working hard towards our ambition to achieve 50:50 gender balance by 2025 across our business and all employee levels. We shall achieve this target through deliberate actions, such as:
- Striving for 50:50 Gender Balance during recruitment.
- Empowering women through relevant platforms and leadership programmes to enhance self-awareness, facilitate networking and programmes to help them reach their full potential. One recent milestone in this area is the launch of a Women in BAT-East Africa network in July this year.
- Promoting transparency: We have published our pay-gap report in our Annual Report for the last two years.
- [email protected]: We have created a conducive work environment to support working parents. As part of this programme, we have extended our maternity leave to four months for both biological and adoptive moms. Moreover, we have a fully-equipped mothers room for new mothers returning to work. The programme also provides coaching support for new parents and their line managers to facilitate quality career discussions, support those preparing to go on leave and enable confident comebacks. Based on this investment, we have a strong talent retention, currently at approximately 96 percent.
- Diversity of skills/professional experience – building our workforce through assignments in other BAT entities: Currently, we have four senior leaders on international work assignments with various BAT units in the UK, Egypt and Bangladesh, and nine mid-career managers in South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Costa Rica and the Solomon Islands.
Accelerating our ambition
Belonging. Achieving. Together.
Our employees are at the heart of our success. Together, we continue to build an inclusive culture where difference is valued; where employees from diverse backgrounds and experiences feel that they belong, are at their best and are inspired by our vision of A Better TomorrowTM.
As such, we are deliberately making efforts to enhance our workplace for People with Disabilities (PWDs). To ensure we get it right, we have partnered with specialist organisations to build our internal capacity, awareness, accountability and placement assessment. Whilst we work to accelerate this agenda, we have set ourselves a target of five percent representation of PWDs in our workforce by 2025.
We are proud of the strides we have made in our Diversity and Inclusion journey. We continue to work towards achieving our strategy and embedding diversity in our culture through awareness, education, and by providing an enabling environment for today and the future.