Employee Engagement

Telecommunications organisation BT Group (BT) has launched an employee ownership scheme for its 100,000 worldwide employees, aiming to boost employee engagement and improve customer service.

The new ‘yourshare’ scheme will amount to approximately £50 million a year for BT’s global employees; this includes an initial award value of £500 per staff member. Employees will need to hold their shares for a minimum of three years; this has been designed to encourage long-term thinking.

Philip Jansen, chief executive officer at BT, said: “I want to make BT [an organisation] that exceeds our customers’ expectations and does a brilliant job for the country. To achieve that, I’m going to start with our [employees]: the 100,000 people involved in developing and delivering the essential products and services that connect millions of people across the globe.

“I’m asking our [staff] for their commitment to making BT a national champion, and I want to give them ownership in our [organisation] and a share in our success. Placing customers at the heart of BT will only be possible by investing in the lifeblood of the business, our people, giving everyone a stake as we build a better BT for the future.”

The yearly award will start in July 2020 and will be dependent on the prior year’s organisational performance. It will be paid in shares which cannot be sold for at least three years. In countries where regulatory or commercial reasons restrict the use of shares, employees will receive a cash equivalent; the value of this will increase or decrease in line with the BT share price.

Staff working within the Openreach division at BT will have their awards aligned specifically to the success of this area of the business, to ensure independence is maintained.

Jansen announced the new initiative at an event for BT staff on 16 May 2019. The event also outlined internal plans to re-energise the business; these will be further considered in the coming months.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), added: “BT’s move towards employee ownership is very welcome, giving employees a stronger voice, which has been shown to foster productivity, growth and inclusivity in the workplace.

“All businesses need a structure that works for them and their staff, and [employees] should rightly feel they are an integral part of any business.”

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