People

Our people

Our employees are key to our success. Their work is at the heart of what we do, meeting Members’ needs and delivering the full range of services, products and benefits offered by the AA. We promote a culture where employees are empowered and incentivised to offer high quality customer service.

During the 2016 financial year we employed an average of 7,862 people. Our customer-facing patrols and advisors make up more than half our employees and deliver our core Roadside Assistance services 24 hours a day throughout the year.

Human rights

We aim to engage all our stakeholders with fairness, dignity and respect and endorse the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The AA does not tolerate child labour and forced labour. We respect freedom of association and the rights of employees to be represented by trade unions or works councils. The AA is a fair employer and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, religion, age, disability and ethnicity.

Our policy applies throughout the AA and it is communicated to our employees and contractors during induction training.

Diversity

The Board recognises the benefits of diversity, including gender diversity, throughout the AA and ensures that we have an appropriate balance of skills and experience. More information can be found in our Corporate Governance report on pages 46 to 49.

Employee engagement

We engage in regular dialogue with our employees through multiple channels. We communicate internally through the intranet and global emails, one to one meetings, in-house magazines and conferences and we engage in consultation with the AA’s recognised union, the IDU and have an elected Management Forum.

Training and education

We are currently completely reviewing our management learning and development approach with the introduction of revised management training, and essential e-learning for all employees covering key areas such as Data Protection, Equality and Diversity, and Anti-Bribery and Corruption.

During the year, we trained line managers in our key human resources (HR) policies with the aim of developing them and equipping them with the necessary skills to support and lead their teams. This training was completed by the end of 2015 and from 2016, all new managers will be trained through available E-learning modules.

We encourage all employees to carry out their work to the best of their ability. We promote learning and skills development opportunities across the organisation.

We have a further education policy where financial assistance is provided to employees wishing to follow a vocational course aligned to their work.

Extensive training is provided for patrols to keep their technical knowledge up to date at the AA’s training centre in the Midlands. All contact centres have training departments that provide induction training and update employees on new processes and products.

Employee wellbeing

We offer a confidential Employee Wellbeing Programme to all AA employees and their immediate families. Various levels of support, including face-to-face counselling if appropriate, is provided free of charge and in confidence. During the 2016 financial year, 264 AA people used this service.

We also have a dedicated occupational health provider, who offers professional advice and assessments in relation to physical and mental health issues to both the employee and the manager to ensure appropriate support is given.

AA and the Armed Forces

In January 2016 the AA was recognised by the Prime Minister and the Defence Secretary as showing an outstanding commitment to supporting the Armed Forces. The AA has hired over 60 Armed Forces leavers in the past year alone.

We received a Gold Award in the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme. This recognises businesses that support those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, or their families and ensures they are treated fairly. In addition to recognition for promoting the benefits of employing reserves and developing supportive HR policies, our work with The Poppy Factory, a charity which helps injured service personnel back into work, was also recognised.

Apprentices

We aim to develop talent in our localities to help address youth unemployment and have run an apprenticeship programme in our call centre in Oldbury since 2009. More than 200 apprentices have completed the programme including 34 last year, the highest intake in a year. We are proud to have trained and developed 50 apprentices to work in full-time and critical, customer-facing roles delivering AA services and handling emergency calls.

Our apprentices complete an NVQ Level 2 or 3 in customer service and functional skills through our partnership with Sandwell College. They are recruited from Birmingham and the Black Country where youth employment has been in excess of 20% for people aged between 16 and 24.

Work experience

Every summer we invite eight students from a local school to do work experience in Roadside Assistance. We also offer a programme with local schools to develop skills for employment, participating in mock interviews, assisting in CV writing, giving tips on applying for jobs and allowing visits to our sites to see how our business operates. This helps our local community and serves as a recruitment stream.

We also work with local schools, colleges and businesses. We participated in a ‘Mindshop Excellence’ week with a local firm of solicitors to give Year 12 students from a local academy a ‘real-world’ business problem to solve.