Bringing people together to grow every day | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 21, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 21, 2018

Bringing people together to grow every day

In conversation with Rumana Rahman, Head of Human Resources, British American Tobacco Bangladesh

Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.

I have been working with this company for 17 years and have been through a very emotional roller coaster ride while performing in 10 different roles along this long journey. I'm a proud mother of two children and was blessed to get maternity leave from my company. In fact, the company's maternity leave policy was drafted while I was expecting. The company has always supported such evolution with time. Moreover, I had the opportunity to work in global projects in Hong-Kong and Pakistan, where I could collaborate with other global leaders.  Granted that I encountered ups and downs during my journey, but I found my own way to go on and acquired the position where I am today. I believe maintaining professionalism is extremely important in order to succeed in any field of work.

How do you feel about BAT Bangladesh(BATB) being a certified Top Employer? What were the indicators for this selection?

It is a matter of immense pride for us, and the country that BAT Bangladesh is the first organization in Bangladesh to be certified by Top Employers Institute. Even though other BAT end markets have earned the title of a Top Employer before, this is the first time for BATB, inspiring the entire organisation to gear up for 2019.

Top Employers Institute is a global authority which recognises excellence in people practices. Established in 1991, this institute has certified over 1300 organisations in 115 countries through a programme that enables organisations to assess and improve workplace environment. These Certified Top Employers positively impact the lives of over 5,000,000 employees globally.

The Top Employers Institute runs an annual international survey across 10 key indicators to recognise the leading employers around the world. The 10 key indicators cover advanced levels across talent strategy, workforce planning, talent acquisition, employee on-boarding, learning and development, performance management, leadership development,  career and succession management, compensation and benefits, and culture.

After participating in an assessment process involving extensive review of the company's people management practices and culture, BAT Bangladesh has earned this prestigious recognition, setting a global benchmark for others in the country.

What makes BATB different from other organisations operating in the country?

We let our people dream big and facilitate togetherness, and this is what makes a significant difference.  In short, we have performance-driven employees who are extraordinary at both professional spheres and human values.

In addition to learning and development opportunities, we provide our employees with various tools and techniques which enable them to excel in their respective jobs. As part of our motivational strategy, we reward the employees who give outstanding performances. Additionally, we inspire them to give more than their predefined performance targets, so that they can seek career opportunities beyond Bangladesh. It gives us immense joy to say that more than 50 Bangladeshi people are working in other branches of BAT across the world.

Being the first company in Bangladesh to be rated Top Employer, how do you plan on sharing your best practices for other organizations to adapt to?

We are a very open company when it comes to sharing our best practices and experience. Many of our former employees are now successfully exceling at various companies, such as, the CMO of Grameenphone, the CEO of Bengal Meat, the CEO of Partex group, just to name a few. We train our employees and enable them to learn the best practices. Our best practices involve several effective methods and techniques. For instance, 360° feedback is an integral part of our program where the leaders take feedback from their teams and then act upon it. We believe that introducing and practicing global best standards in our day to day operations enriches the corporate culture of the country in the long run.

Is BAT Bangladesh an inclusive organisation?

Definitely; we are the only organisation in Bangladesh constituting 30% top team female members. That means two out of seven employees are women. Almost 20% of the trade marketing officers are female. Moreover, the part of our inclusion objective includes recruiting professionals from various backgrounds and sectors. BAT Bangladesh as part of the BAT Group strongly fosters diversity and inclusion as a value, and it's espoused in our Guiding Principles as a key pillar of who we are.

What is the biggest challenge in making a successful culture journey that stands the test of time?

The biggest challenge in making a successful culture journey deals with bringing new generation into this corporate culture and making them go through experiences while remaining humble and respectful towards all. We value the enriching experiences of the veterans, and try to ensure that we learn from their legacies and adapt to the new challenges we face. We balance the passion and energy of the new generation with the experience and wisdom of the seniors who have seen different challenges over time.

We all know that a good working culture is the foundation of a successful organisation. It is normal for a company to invest in brand, organisational structure and necessary equipment. But investing in culture takes a lot of effort and humility. We are very respectful to all, regardless of their background. One of the unique cultural features that makes BATB different,  deals with the aspect of fraternity. We are not only professionally connected to our colleagues, but also remain close to each other's family.

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