BP plc

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BP Amoco is making a huge effort to persuade people that it is a caring company bent on promoting ethical conduct and strong environmental standards. It has changed its logo to a sunflower surrounded by green and issued various manifestos declaring its noble intentions. Of course, the persuasion has to begin at home and staff are rallying behind the chief executive, Sir John Browne. Confidence in him seems high. The pay and benefits at BP rank at the top of the scale. Last year most staff were eligible to put up £3000 to buy BP stock with the company matching it with £3000 of its own. Canteens are either free or heavily subsidised. After five years' service a woman can have six months' paid maternity leave and an option to return to any schedule she wishes. BP operates a parent advisory and networking service that staff can call for information and advice about child care; it is staffed by one full time person and one part time assistant. Child care is subsidised in two locations where BP supports nurseries. Effort is rewarded here. At the end of 1999 the company was so pleased with the performance of the exploration and production group that it awarded each worker in the unit a voucher worth £700. There are other initiatives too. At corporate headquarters at Britannic House in the city, all offices, including Sir John's have been converted to an open plan - no more doors. In November the company hosted a conference of senior women managers from 18 countries for a frank discussion of the issues that affect women who work for the company. In November, the rotunda at Britannic House was the setting for a lunchtime talk delivered by Nelson Mandela. Perhaps the best indicator of the new spirit at BP is the encouragement of candour. Message boards on the company's intranet site are filled with comments made by workers - not all of them complimentary.

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