Louise Allen: Aligning employees with business goals is a win-win situation 

louise allen

We have a lot of successes to shout about at BHP, from increasing turnover to more than £20 million to being recognised as one of the Sunday Times’ Top 100 Best Companies to Work For.

All of these successes are testament to one thing: putting our people first.

BHP’s leading core value, ‘People’, states: “We support each other. We trust, encourage and develop our staff because we know that it is our people who make us what we are.”

This principle has been embedded in the organisation’s goals in many ways, starting with the staff conference, where our partners share the firm’s strategy with everyone to ensure transparency.

In 2018, the conference focused specifically on how the individual values and goals of employees match the aspirations of the firm. The conference enabled employees to get to know partners and their goals on a more personal level, but also understand the wider business goals.

The central ‘People’ pillar is rolled out to employees using a wide range of initiatives.

On a personal side, our award-winning employee-led corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy encourages staff to support charities they feel passionately about with a paid volunteer day each year.

BHP’s wellness strategy includes a confidential counselling service and mental health champions in each office, as well as at-desk wellbeing classes and advice on reducing workplace stress.

The firm also has an ‘email curfew’, banning emails between 7pm and 7am, and follows a ‘dress for your diary’ policy, so that employees can dress comfortably, dependent on their workload and schedule.

On the professional side, BHP’s two-tier management development programme supports employees throughout their careers, covering areas like interpersonal skills and client relationships. A third level of the programme supports those on the pathway to director or partner level through a senior leadership academy. In the last year, we have provided training towards professional qualifications for 74 individuals, including time-off and payment of fees and memberships.

Staff differences are celebrated, and there is very much a sense of everyone pulling in same direction, with every employee contributing in their own way. For example, our ‘How Do You Tie Your Laces’ campaign celebrates how people may do things differently, but as staff we all share the same goal.

There is no need to just take my word for it, here is some staff feedback from the Times Top 100 survey: “[There is] a genuine sense of team that helps me and others develop both professionally and, importantly, personally.”

“[There is] support from senior management [and] a clear direction [for] BHP’s future. I feel like a valued person within BHP.”

Louise Allen is head of HR at BHP Chartered Accountants

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