Award Winner 2013: BP Wins in 'People & Communication'

Award Winner 2013: BP Wins in "People & Communication"

Contributor:  SSON Awards
Posted:  06/23/2013  12:00:00 AM EDT
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Excellence in People & Communication Award, 2013

Winner: BP Global Business Services Europe (Budapest)

 BP’s SSO team was honoured for its People & Communication strategies when it won the 2013 SSON Excellence Awards ceremony in Prague earlier this year. In the spirit of encouraging higher standards and sharing best practices in order that you may evolve your own operations, we are pleased to publish the highlights of BO’s application, which so impressed our judges. We’ll be posting all winning Awards applications online, as well as a video interview with European “Thought Leader” Philip Whelan from BP – so keep a look out for our emails.


The BP team from Budapest celebrates its win



BP has designed a Global Business Services (GBS) strategy, which positions GBS as a high performing asset for the Group. The focus of this strategy is to expand our global services capability to an enterprise model which balances delivery of both commodity based services as well as business decision support services. With over 5,000 FTE in our global footprint covering P2P, R2R, O2C, and customer services, our business service centres are already an integral part of our enterprise value chain.

BP operates a global hybrid model of BP-owned captive centres and business process outsourcing (BPO) locations. Our Budapest centre is the largest captive centre in our global network with over 860 FTE delivering services in multiple languages to over 19 countries as well as covering every major business unit in our refining and marketing segment.

Our strategic plan for our GBS of which Budapest is integral part specifically seeks to develop the Budapest centre in four key areas:

1. Continue to position Budapest as a decision support centre that works across multiple service towers for all major business units including our lubricants, global fuels and marketing businesses.

2. Expand service offerings beyond the traditional P2P, O2C and R2R to include trading services, tax and treasury as well as being a European hub for Global HR Services

3. Use Budapest as a talent hub for our embedded organizations developing future managers and leaders for our businesses and functions

4. Continue our significant investment in re-engineering capability to support delivering value through process transformation of the services we provide to our partners and end customers.


BP is a company with a deep and diverse history built over 100 years on a combination of mergers, acquisitions as well as organic growth. Our journey to a Global Business Services Model can be explained in three core phases.

Phase 1 (1990’s) - BP signed one of the very first F&A outsourcing deals where we offshored commodity activities in search of lower cost.

Phase 2 (2000’s) - BP expanded services provided by its BPO partners as well as achieving further consolidated scale internally through distributed captive centres.

Phase 3 (2010’s) - BP moved towards a “value bias” focused on creating different sources of value including cost as well as cash, risk, control, compliance and customer service.

One of the core elements of phase 3 was the establishment of a green field operation to be located in Budapest that would involve:

1. Within 6 months, build a “BP Brand” in a mature and competitive SSC environment with over 80 other SSC’s

2. Hire and train 900 FTE to deliver 60 transitions in under 24 months

3. Execute those transitions in a complex systems landscape with over 100 different systems

4. Deliver a comprehensive change management program including communications to all those people and businesses affected

5. Deliver the above in line with a material financial business plan, on time and with no disruption to business


People Strategy: Our focus was and remains to Attract, Develop and Retain the right talent for BP. At the heart of this strategy is a compelling Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that differentiates BP in the market place by:

· Demonstrating clear commitments to those hired that we would develop their careers as well as their capabilities. We have delivered this tangibly with a dedicated learning academy infrastructure as well as extensive academic programs and e-learning.

· Ensuring that our attraction campaigns were honest and clear in what BP could and would offer as opposed to attracting talent on the basis of pay/conditions.

· Creating a differentiated work environment built around our people, their needs, their safety and BP values.

· Delivering diversity and inclusion as part of our culture, but also a culture where diversity of thought is promoted as a basis to drive change.

· Operating global career path modelling to build best practice sharing, as well as create opportunities for internal shared learning across GBS locations.


Communications Strategy: Our focus has been to ensure that we build trust and confidence in our communications, ensuring people knew we understood the significance of change for them. Key elements included:

· Explaining the “case for change” – why GBS is required and why activities would move into locations including Budapest.

· Ensuring we kept people fully engaged on the change management journey.

· Providing support including career counselling for those affected by transitions to Budapest.

· Focusing on quality and frequency of communications – trust is hard to earn and easy to lose, so our strategy required regular face-to-face sessions to ensure robustness of the process.

· A comprehensive change management program was designed in partnership with each business.


Key benefits we sought were:

·  Ensuring we had the required organization capability to deliver on the set up of Budapest.

· Ensuring our respect for people and business affected were supported by comprehensive and robust communications.

· Ensuring that the changes delivered through the creation of the Budapest centre were sustainable.

Talent Management

Step 1 - Building our reputation

BP chose to invest in Hungary primarily because of the nature of role activities we wished to centralise in a large scale centre. This informed a key focus on quality and diversity of talent as opposed to being a pure labour arbitrage play. In this respect we were conscious of the competitive landscape in such a mature city from a SSC perspective. Therefore, our first priority was to focus on the quality of our employee value proposition. We spent considerable time assessing the market and determining those key attributes that we wanted our centre to be known for which were career development, building relationships, working in a high performing team and of course having fun doing it!

We designed a hybrid campaign involving both direct recruitment and agency support for building our brand across Budapest and the country. We used newspapers, job fairs, online job boards, social media, networking, direct search and printed visuals across the city to build our brand and the right talent pipeline and interest.

Key differentiating factors are:

· The variety of jobs and challenges we provide given the complexity of the businesses across Europe we support in several languages

· The diversity of thoughts we need into our organization to develop the Centre

· The professional development supported with our L&D academy that provides long term career and perspective

· Our brand new facility designed to support all the above with strong BP branding and 21st century ergonomic design to ensure people enjoy work and their health is protected the same time.

Step 2 – Attract the right talent

Building our reputation was all about trying to ensure that BP would attract the right people with the right skills for each role, but ensuring that our processes were robust enough to also ensure we attract and hire people with the right disciplines, motivation and engagement focus. Our Budapest centre commenced operations in 2009 from a temporary office with just a handful of people and a remit to build a recruitment engine to deliver talent for a large scale centre. We designed a comprehensive assessment centre process focused on the quality of people both academically, as well as interpersonal wise. We relied primarily on external partners to support this process for the first 200+ FTE. As we reached scale in our enabling teams, we moved to an in-house model to improve cycle times and quality control as we moved into more diverse and challenging roles. In overall terms, we have screened over 5000 people and assessed in excess of 2500 people on our journey towards a 800+ scale centre.

As one of our principles is ‘partner’, we demonstrate this partnering approach already at the selection, therefore the business is invited to our ACs as assessors. They get an assessor training from our recruiters before they sit with us and participate in selection.

To utilize networks and develop advocate approach in our Centre, we launched an employee referral program that served, and serves as a pipeline for +20% of our hiring’s and constantly strengthening our employer branding internally. To ensure diverse talent pipeline, we introduced an internship program for people in their university studies to serve our temporary resource needs and establish word of mouth marketing on the main universities.

Step 3 – Ensure we deliver on our commitment to develop talent

We built an in-house L&D organization consisting of different academies to develop our organization capabilities systematically and ensure people have a long term professional development perspective with us. We use both internal and external trainers and offer above 50 different courses in our training administration system to our employees, not including our language academy.

Our employees have a learning curriculum when they join us, to ensure their professional development starts on day 1. All the new joiners participate on a mandatory 3 week long induction training, consisting of health and safety, several compliance modules, performance management, CI and ISO awareness, BP history and business knowledge, process, and system skills. As part of our performance management process, all new joiners have to build a “My development” action plan with his/her line manager in the first 90 days, to ensure s/he is fully equipped to perform his/her job and start his/her professional development with us.

To support the above, we developed a L&D offer that ranges from system trainings (SAP, Siebel, Cardex, Excel, etc.), to soft skill (time management, stress management, conflict handling, advanced presentation skills, etc.) up to leadership trainings (Effective performance conversations, FISH, situational leadership, D&I) to make sure people find the right courses and academies within our learning structure to develop.

To ensure sustainability of the organization capabilities and career advancement, beside the above L&D offer we developed and operate 3 academies:

  • The customer service excellence academy is a professional development program to build a true customer service ethos and high quality interactions that ensure customer intimacy. It is tailored to agents and team leaders and consists of several learning, feedback and follow- up modules.
  • The financial university program is a global BP program that helps our finance professionals to develop their functional expertise. With utilizing BP global learning courses and hosting several financial university courses as well, we ensure that our R2R folks can network and build strong relationships with the embedded finance organization they support.
  • We operate a language academy providing course options in more then 10+ languages, differentiating 6 levels (25% + of our population is enrolled for language courses).
  • Our E-learning academy – we dedicated the whole 7th floor in the building– provides opportunities for employees to take their time and utilize a 21st century approach for e- learning in several disciplines.

 To ensure that our L&D investments are systematic and have a return on the long term as well, we built a GBS Europe talent management program supported with a career path model, to help people’s career advancement and provide the right talent supply for our senior, manager and specialist roles.

We identified the key roles in our Centre not only focusing on the traditional succession planning roles (i.e. senior leaders), but on the ’hard to find/rare’ skills as well.

We have differentiated two groups within the talent program:

1. High potentials are those senior people who constantly demonstrate exceptional ability and behaviours, commitment and aspiration to advance to a leadership role within an accelerated timeframe (traditional successors, 1% of the population).

2. The second group is called Key Professionals. They demonstrate exceptional achievements within current role and they are considered as role models in terms of the company values, as a feeder pool for later HIPOTs, however, they are in an early stage in their career (ca. 6-8% of the population).

Step 4 – Assure our Talent Management is sustainable:

On an annual basis we complete an organization capability assessment exercise with a view to:

  • Review and validate the depth of our succession planning 
  • Overview our people capability map with specific reference to critical roles
  • Determine key talent development needs proactively and in a targeted way.

 In support of the above, we also use our annual performance appraisal process to systematically assess the potential of our people, as well as reviewing their in-year performance against structured priorities. This supports the identification of future critical talents, who are then formally assessed and matched to development programs that recognise their potential, personal needs and the requirements of our business. This is in addition to assuring that all employees have equal access to suitable process and professional trainings.

To complete the development loop, we built our GBS Europe career model demonstrating visually and with an explanation guide what kind of functional (upward) or cross functional career options our employees might have and that includes all areas and positions. This model shows each possible career path within the Centre, but also provides an overview of what kind of skills the person has to develop to achieve the different positions and/or levels. Our intention was to show each new joiner already on their first day what kind of perspectives they have with us. There is a career booklet in the new joiner pack and a linked manager education to this booklet, to ensure team leaders understand how to build a realistic and appealing personal development plan for their team members.

We believe that all of the above systems can work only if we have the right and empowered tone in the middle.

We established a middle management forum, called Extended Leadership team that consists of senior managers who seemed capable and interested to go the extra mile.

The ELT operates with a defined Terms of reference, formal governance body and defined yearly deliverables from the Centre’s scorecard. The ELT operates independently from the LT, enabling the LT to focus on strategic items. They are responsible for objectives, such as our recognition policy development and operation, communication effectiveness improvement program, and leading our yearly Voice of the Employee engagement survey and action planning.


Having almost 900 employees, supporting 19 European countries, multiple legal entities and business units in each country requires effort to stay connected with and be integrated. To ensure we have the right focus and skills to develop relationships, we have a customer focused communication strategy and department and an all employee/communities focused communication organization also within HR.

Our vision is that our GBS strategy is understood and acknowledged as a value adding asset for BP, both internally and externally. We developed our communication strategy to support above with a wide variety of informal and formal channels.

These communication activities are focused around our principles, diversity, employee and quality events and business updates to build constant link and engagement with our BP family. Our recognition program is a key and repeating element of all our communications channels– as per our recognition principles and systems. People can use our Thank you card, or the instant low value gift voucher recognition any time during the year, as well as our quarterly award program to motivate and recognize each other. A recognition committee is governing and developing these programs.

The cornerstone channels are the following, based on a communication calendar and yearly plan: weekly all employee emails, weekly posters, elevator and wallboard campaigns, TV screen campaigns on the floors and issuing quarterly newsletter and editing the intranet with an employee committee.

To ensure we have a two-way interaction and dialogue, we use quarterly all staff offsite town hall events and several informal events, such as monthly lunch and learn sessions with directors, and bi-monthly meet your leader dinners to receive feedback and provide bottom-up channels.

We invite business leaders from the units we support to be presented on our above events, in order to build connectivity and face to face interactions with the wider BP group.

We host several business events and conferences where the employees supporting the business also present and participate to build their engagement and deepen their business acumen.

We have an internal blog called LINK where colleagues can blog on topics they are interested in. We widely utilize this application not only for standard communication, but also for communities like the ELT and Team leader community.

Our external communication is focused on recruitment and CSR activities. The recruitment activities are supported by a yearly recruitment event calendar and plan consisting of employer branding campaigns, job fairs, newspaper and

Internet advertisement, including campus marketing, seminars, graduate and internship program campaigns and job fair attendance on target universities.

We have a LinkedIn and Facebook profile as well, and we are in contact with 3 NGOs to ensure appearance and support on D&I and CSR events continuously. This activity is supported by a voluntary employee group, that are organizing aid campaign activities (blood donation, kindergarten painting, shoebox campaign for Christmas etc.) during the year.

We believe that the foundation for an effective communication strategy is listening. We developed a ‘business account management’ department that is representing the Voice of the Customer. This team is responsible for relationship management, complaints and facilitating that the different teams’ CI and strategic initiatives are in line with the one the supported business is focusing on. They operate a Voice of the Customer survey, which is a yearly exercise and cornerstone to assess our operational excellence, quality of service, innovation and partnering skills. This is an interview-based tool with both qualitative and quantitative measures.

We operate a yearly Voice of the Employee engagement survey as well that beside the traditional engagement areas (career development, work life balance, line manager etc.) measures also our EVP attributes, the impact of the constant change and how much people are ready to take the extra mile and become advocate for the Centre. The VoE survey is operated by HR, but owned (analytics, action planning) by the ELT.

Benefits Achieved/Hard Improvements

Our objective was to ensure that the People and Communications agenda supported the delivery of our business strategy for Europe and GBS globally. To do so required not only the delivery and retention of talent but to ensure was done systematically in terms of benefits. We would like to highlight the following:

Economic Value

- Overall labour arbitrage benefits were delivered according to plan not just in absolute terms but also in terms of mix and timing. This is a significant double digit annuity saving in $m.

- Our recruitment engine delivered substantial savings on recruitment cost of over $900k over 3 years compared to the benchmark costs

- Our employee referral rate in Budapest was over 25% consistently and was recognized in BP group as one of the best performing across all global segments. We also consider this a major acknowledgement of our employee’s satisfaction with BP.

- Building in house recruitment capabilities saved 1000 USD/head on recruitment on average

- Our internship program saves 50% of temporary leased cost on an average base

- Our staff retention levels are substantially better than local and industry market levels as we approach our fourth year of operation reflecting the benefit of our investments

- Our overall pay levels according to grade show prudent management of our cost base, remaining competitive to market while not diluting the savings delivering during transition. We are currently tracking to 98% of baseline levels which is excellent


People & Relationship Management

- Customer feedback is 5 from a scale of 6 on silent running/operational excellence

- Voice of the employee satisfaction is 61%, increased 8% during the last 2 years, and is above 75% satisfaction on the following areas: inclusive workplace, respect between colleagues, L&D, career opportunities

- We had several colleagues on job probation from NGOs that had certain disabilities, therefore the employees’ sensitivity and pride increased and we helped disabled people to have experience on a workplace

- People feel treated fair and are more convinced to go the extra mile

- Average recruitment cycle time decreased to 12 weeks from 18 due to the above mentioned

- Continuous internal pipelines for team leader and specialist positions

- The ELT and the TL community is working closely together on several companywide initiatives, therefore collaboration improves, the silo thinking is eliminated, and the power of peer feedback is contributing heavily to their development

 Organization benefit

- We have promoted 3 executive directors and 2 senior managers from the ELT vs external recruitment and promoted 5 operation delivery managers and close to 10 team-leaders from our Key professional population in the last 2 years

- 19% of the organization was rotated or promoted during 2012 as part of our career model, and close to 20 key professionals were promoted into senior specialist roles.

- This means that close to 60% of our talent population was utilized as talent pipeline and succession plan to the target key roles. 


Our Budapest centre continues to grow and expand as a decision support centre. We grow not just in FTE terms but rather in complexity of services offered which is moving in the direction of enterprise wide rather than just multi-functional services. Our ability to Deliver, Solve, Innovate and Partner with our customers is a direct consequence of the success of our people and communications strategy. We believe it is the diversity and capability of the organisation that differentiates our proposal and this is a testimony to the quality of our people and communications strategy. To this end we believe we have excelled in the following areas:

Diversity and Inclusion

- BP believes very strongly that the strength of its organisation can be measured by the depth of diversity and inclusion. We build this into our infrastructure as typified by examples such as:

• A 13% non-Hungarian population in the centre

• A manger gender ratio equal to the gender ratio of the overall centre

• A leading edge Maternity Back to Work program that goes beyond legal requirements ensuring that we support and encourage mothers to return to work but retain work: life balance

- We also strongly focused on diversity of thought to drive innovation while ensuring a culture that promotes that every person has a voice with an entitlement to be heard.

Talent Management

- Our talent management system is transparent and focused on ensuring that people have opportunities to realise their potential through many different forms of formal, as well as on the job training. We are proud of the high levels of talent we have already transferred into BP business

• (~20 decision support roles have moved from Budapest into European locations)

Employee Engagement

- Maintaining engagement levels is one of the biggest challenges our industry faces. Our unique focus on capturing feedback formally and informally including web forums, lunch and learn sessions etc. allow us to maintain a real time pulse.

Voice of the Employee

- We do not believe we are differentiated because we listen to our employees, but rather it’s the way we listen and act that is different.

- BP has spent considerable time focusing on what employees tell us about the commitments we made to them when they joined and also how engaged they are while with us.

- We also delegated accountability to our extended leadership team to own the ”You told us, We acted” thereby empowering our managers to be part of building sustainable organisation capability.

Systematic Management

- We have driven systematic management in how we operate from the beginning to the end of a typical employee life cycle. This systematic approach has extended to our process documentation, enabling technology and the ways in which we engage with our employees and is certified to ISO9001 standards

Asset Management

- Given that people are considered our most important asset, we believe it is also imperative to manage that asset in a controlled and structured way. Through the deployment of a global people template enabled by SAP, BP is able to review our people assets across a multiple of important process attributes for all locations including Budapest.

- Beyond the typical operation metrics such as headcount, attrition, cost etc., we are also able to view our people in terms of skills base, rotation availability, L&D performance etc. This allows us to pro-actively manage for people’s development for their own benefit and the benefit of BP.

- The Budapest centre is recognised as the pioneer in this process which is now being rolled out across BP Group.








About SSON Excellence Awards: Europe

SSON is pleased to sponsor the annual Shared Services & Outsourcing Excellence Awards – Europe. Winners are announced at Shared Services & Outsourcing Week (Europe) in the spring of each year (May) and applications are taken throughout the year. 

SSON Awards Contributor: SSON Awards

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