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BT Holborn: New Performance Management Deal

31 March 2010

The Executive has agreed a revised set of performance management ratings and descriptors, together with a document called ‘The Performance Deal’.

The fresh approach on Performance Management is more oriented towards development and support and less focussed on discipline. The approach is spearheaded by the Chief Executive who supplies the foreword to the booklet ‘our approach to performance’. The new descriptors and the Performance Deal will be sent to all BT employees as a special insert in BT Today in April 2010, as well as being available online.

The ratings are now on a five point scale and, with the exception of Openreach and BT Fleet, all APR performance years will now be reset to 1 April.

Changes to Ratings

The changes to the ratings are:

  • Excellent – (was Outstanding) – it is felt that this should now be more achievable.
  • Very Good – remains the same.
  • Achieves Standards – (was Good) – we were less happy with this category as it is less convincing than ‘Good’ and it is already differentiated from ‘Needs Development’
  • Needs Development – (was Generally Satisfactory) – this is a coaching category, only if the following criteria has been met, can an individual be subjected to formal underperformance measures.
  • Needs Improvement – this category disappears
  • Unsatisfactory – people in this category will be subject to the formal under performance procedures.

The Performance Deal

This document makes clear to our members what is expected and importantly, what they can and should expect from their manager.

Transition Arrangements

For those individuals whose APR year will move to 1 April, there will be an interim APR completed and from 1 April 2010, the new descriptors will be used. If anyone is currently on a formal improvement plan, these cases will be managed individually through HR and the manager to map them across to the correct category, with a view to the emphasis being to improve not to escalate the warning process.

In Openreach, APR dates have already been moved to align with quarter ends but no further move is anticipated. The new descriptors will come into effect from 1 April 2010; therefore some individuals will have part of their APR on the old descriptors and part on the new descriptors. Again, formal cases will be dealt with individually.

BT Fleet is currently still in a state of change. The new descriptors will be introduced and will be the subject of further discussion at LoB level.

Relative Performance

There has been considerable debate in the Executive regarding the issue of relative performance. The Executive, whilst concerned about BT’s approach, believe we have secured the necessary safeguards. The key safeguards are that standards cannot be applied retrospectively and that no-one can be marked down if they have met all the required standards.

Better Environment For Members

The Executive believe that whilst we have to see the impact, the new approach signals a better environment for our members. With no targets for managed exits, no quotas for PiPs and a less punitive approach in the ratings, it is hoped that much of the poor practice will be curbed. Figures supplied to the Executive certainly show that the numbers placed on formal warnings in the first quarter of this year is much lower than previously and the numbers progressing to a Final Formal Warning are minimal.

The Executive will continue to monitor the progress of the new approach both at Group level and at Lines of Business level and we will continue to receive regular data as part of that monitoring process.