Member spotlight: BMT

BMT is an international design, engineering and risk management consultancy, working principally in the defence, energy, environment, marine risk & insurance and ports & logistics sectors.

Formed in 1985 from the merger of the UK’s British Ship Research Association and National Maritime Institute, the company is at work on projects in 35 countries – from one of the world’s biggest coal ports in Australia to ice breakers in the Caspian Sea.

The Royal Navy’s future aircraft carrier is a BMT design and the company is the world’s leading independent expert in submarine design and development.  Some of the world’s most iconic structures, such as the Burj Al Arab and Beijing Olympic Stadium, have had their airflows modelled in BMT’s wind tunnels and the company’s Research Directorate has fed into hundreds of EU research projects.

BMT, like may Government privatised organisations was established in 1985 as a member based company, limited by guarantee.  In 1998, its members voted to establish an Employee Benefit Trust in which the assets of the company were held in beneficial ownership for the staff.  Exclusive voting control resides in the Trust, ensuring that the Board always acts in the best interest of staff  in the short, medium and long-term and hold the board to account.

As an EBT, BMT does not measure its performance purely financially but also against how the group is performing to the benefit of its 1,600 staff, its customers and the communities within which it works.

This is what attracted Anne Segall, Group HR Director to join the company, after having previously worked in the business as a consultant running a leadership programme.  Responsible for the group’s HR strategy, Anne was attracted by the company’s ethos and values to act in the interest of its employees and not external shareholders.

Anne said:
“The advantage of being an EBT is that the business can commit to projects that are both commercially viable and engaging for employees.  Our independence secures our reputation with our customers and allows us to take on projects that offer our team members interesting and challenging work.

“The key thing is that we mean it when we say people are our most important resource. It makes us competitive not because we are employee owned in the first instance, but because of our values and investment in the individual, our team members have the enthusiasm and intellectual rigor that make it enjoyable for customers to work with them.”

As well as good pay, benefits, training and qualifications the company also commits to projects that give back, giving employees the chance to volunteer as groups or as individuals to work on projects that support communities – for example: helping an Indian village with its sanitation; or building a bridge in Indonesia.

Our values as an employee benefit trust also give us added responsibilities.  Anne added: “Our ethos means that right-sizing during times of market uncertainty is something that is perhaps, harder for us than for other employers.  We take every opportunity to redeploy employees before making a decision to right-size. We have a robust programme of training and development linked to appraisals, good benefits and we try to offer careers with commitment to promote from within.”

With an employee index of 77% – the percentage of employees that would recommend them as place to work – it is clear to see that employee engagement and fulfilment is making its mark.