The British Academy is the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences, established by Royal Charter in 1902. We mobilise these disciplines to understand the world and shape a brighter future.
From artificial intelligence to climate change, from building prosperity to improving well-being – today’s complex challenges can only be resolved by deepening our insight into people, cultures, and societies. We invest in researchers and projects across the UK and overseas, engage the public with fresh thinking and debates, and bring together scholars, government, business and civil society to influence policy for the benefit of everyone.
10-11 Carlton House Terrace
London SW1Y 5AH
0 - 1000
Working together on projects and on shared objectives; the Staff Engagement Forum, which meets every 6 weeks; Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Staff Group, Green Group, Wellbeing Group, and Affinity Groups. Collaboration is one of our workplace values: “We consistently work together to a common purpose, supporting each other, communicating openly and sharing knowledge, .We are flexible and adaptable, receiving feedback constructively.”
Our employees are committed to, and share, the British Academy’s mission to promote the humanities and social sciences, and as part of a wider SHAPE focus – “Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People & the Economy”. The work we do has a real impact on people and society eg. our policy work on the societal aspects of Covid and our support for researchers at risk. 86% of our employees are proud to work for the British Academy and 81% are enthusiastic about their job.
We do this through our values – Respect is one of our core values – and through our approach to employee engagement. Respect = “We are inclusive in our regard for each other, showing courtesy and appreciation. We treat people fairly and equally, welcoming everyone’s contribution and difference. We have invested in the development of employees’ self-awareness and appreciation of difference, through rolling out Insights Discovery across the Academy. We treat our employees as adults and encourage open and constructive feedback, respectfully given.
Investing in and encouraging learning and development. Our approach is one of performance development, rather than performance improvement – recognising strengths and providing support for developing capability / areas which are less strong. We have a simple competency framework which applies across the Academy. In addition to the central learning spend, teams have an annual devolved budget, and we have team Learning & Development representatives to ensure that staff views are heard. In addition to formal training, we provide coaching and mentoring support, as well as opportunities for job shadowing and secondment. We also focus on sharing knowledge and understanding e.g. through lunch and learn sessions and workshops,
Our workplace values are: Collaboration, Creativity, Empathy, Excellence, Integrity, Resilience and Respect. This set of values reflects contributions we received from employees across the Academy during our values consultation in 2020. We share these core values with each other. They guide how we work together and with others, and we demonstrate them through our behaviours. Our values are aligned with and integrated within our key HR processes.
We have a People Strategy which provides the framework for our current and developing HR policies and processes. The Strategy strands are: Recruitment & Selection; Performance & Development: Pay & Benefits; Diversity & Inclusion; and Wellbeing. Examples of how these are helping us to create a loved workplace are: streamlining processes and ensuring that we guard against unconscious bias in decision-making; focusing on strengths and development, rather than rating and ranking performance; maximising financial and non-financial benefits; using evidence and data to inform policy change; a major investment in wellbeing support and interventions; consulting our employees and welcoming ongoing feedback on improvements and changes,
Our CEO has an open door policy, encouraging staff to contact him and raise any issue with him. He meets all new staff in the first few months of their arrival, and has regular meetings with staff groups. He leads an all-staff meeting every two weeks and has a leader column in our weekly staff bulletin. Under his leadership , our leadership employee engagement score has increased from 69% to 77%. He is authentic with staff, being open about his strengths and areas where he is learning. He works collaboratively with his senior management team, listening to other voices but providing clarity and direction where necessary.
Whilst our pay rates are around the median generally, our benefits package is very good. Employees receive 34 days’ annual leave in addition to the 8 Bank Holidays. We have recently improved our family friendly policies, providing benefits which are significantly above the statutory minimum and broadening the support we provide to all employees. We have an excellent defined benefit pension scheme with a low employee contribution rate (6%). Our working hours framework is very flexible – 35 hours a week, Monday to Friday – with employers able to agree with managers working patterns within this. Our office is located in a Grade 1 listed building, in central London, with beautiful rooms and excellent facilities. Long service is recognised with a certificate, gift card, CEO letter and party.
As we prepared to return to the office last September, we developed a new “How we work” framework for hybrid working. This set our principles and guidance but did not require employees to work in the building for any set days or number of days in a week. Individuals and teams agree how best to work within this framework. Our contract “place of work” remains as our building so we maintain connection with it. The framework is very popular and will be continuing, following a recent review. We also provide employees with support for homeworking (equipment and financial contribution).