Newsletter No. 37 for all BT Sales Grades July 2008
BT Salespeople under pressure?
We know this is nothing new in BT, but we are hearing worrying reports from our members that
additional pressure is being put on our sales grades members not to support the industrial action and to
work more than their 36 contracted hours per week.
There have been cynical attempts to place our members in situations where it is impossible for them to
work their contractual hours such as holding late Friday afternoon “must attend” conference calls; or
organising training sessions starting at 5 p.m. It may be that you are faced with similar situations in the
future – so be prepared:-
Agree in advance with your line manager now that if and when this type of unforseen ‘priority’
occurs, a discussion will then take place and you and your manager will identify some other
aspects of your work which will be reallocated. This is because there is a need to professionally
respond to the instruction and also ensure you work your contracted hours. Clearly how valuable
the work is to BT is best left to you and your manager to sort out. Confirm the agreement in an
email and refer to it in any performance management discussions you subsequently have.
Or, seek agreement from your line manager in writing that in such circumstances you will either
leave a call early or phone in after you get home as driving and managing a call is a clear breach
of Health and Safety regulations.
Remember, BT has said at corporate level that jobs should be do-able within 36 hours per week. This
means your job too! All salespeople in BT should be able to achieve targets, and therefore their
expected amount of bonus with 36 hours per week. If you believe this job/ targets/hours problem applies
to you then you need to raise this with your line manager on the basis that your job is not designed
properly and as such your DPR needs revisiting - see performance management section below
We do understand that many of you may feel that this is unrealistic but it is BT’s stated position and
there is no reason why salespeople should be singled out and forced to work excessive hours or be
penalised for what amounts to poor job design. So please continue to support the industrial action – you
may get to like working 36 hours per week!
We are also receiving an inordinate amount of calls from sales members with concerns about the
industrial action and the affect on performance management.
You should soon be having 1:1’s for the first quarter of the year, and this is your opportunity to ensure
that your workload matches your contractual hours.
Each additional hour you work without claiming or getting TOIL reduces your hourly rate but boosts BT’s
bottom line without recognising your contribution.
Does this sound like a good deal to you? No - then stop working them.
Members who are working 36 hours in support of the industrial action and their colleagues should now
start to ‘bank’ this new working method. Make sure you use your 1:1 as an opportunity to get BT to
honour the contract between you and it. Take the fight to BT.
Connect has produced a comprehensive guide to performance management
<http://www.connectuk.org/connect_public/default.asp?id=1159> . Here are some of the key points for
you to consider when it comes to working your hours:
Individual performance against objectives should be reviewed regularly and discussed at 1:1 review
meetings - at least quarterly. Make sure your objectives are based on a 36 hour week. If you believe
they can’t be done in the time, explain why and get your manager to prioritise your workload;
Objectives should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable (in a 36 hour week), realistic (in a 36
hour week) and time bound;
Objectives should be central to the job and consistent with your job description;
Objectives should describe the individual/team's priorities;
Objectives should include the measurable level of achievement expected and timescales and be
demanding but achievable (in a 36 hour week).
We do of course understand that for salespeople targets are key. The most important thing for
you is not to agree unachievable targets and make sure disagreement is recorded.
Performance Management and PIPs
We are hearing reports that in BTBusiness and Phonebooks in particular there is an automatic link
between sales achievements and DPR scores and PIPs. Automatic triggers are in breach of the
performance management agreement and if you are marked down on your DPR or put on PIP simply
for not achieving percentage of targets you should challenge it.
Below is a checklist you can use to challenge that the correct process has been used.
PIPs Challenge Checklist
Has the Manager carried out regular, documented and signed off One to Ones?
Have any written comms been made on either side regarding performance that are outside
Have any verbal messages been passed that have not been formally covered via email?
Has sufficient training been in place PRIOR to the PIP?
Are targets reasonable? (Time & Expectation)
Have all other means been exhausted
Who is making the decisions (does the manager support?)
And you should ask the following, or similar questions to ensure the process has been followed and that
the PIP is legitimate.
Questions to ask
Why have I been put on a PIP?
How was it determined it should be me on a PIP?
How many others in the Unit were also identified ?
What shortcomings do I have?
When have they been brought to my attention?
What will the PIP focus on?
Where is the plan?
What are the timescales?
How much time away from my normal duties will I be given to do this?
Will this affect my Q? DPR rating
We can and do successfully challenge DPR markings and PIPs on a regular basis – so don’t be
put off. If you believe you have been treated unfairly and not within agreed procedures then take
it up with your line manager. Contact your local Connect representative or the Connect Help
Desk if you need further advice.