Our aim is to create a safe working environment and build organisational resilience to deliver sustainable long-term growth through our brands, markets and people. Behaving responsibly and running our business the right way is not just the right thing to do, it underpins the ongoing growth and development of Imperial Brands.


People who are appropriately trained, developed and rewarded will be better enabled to deliver our commercial strategy. This, in turn, contributes to increased employee engagement, productivity, strong customer service, high employee retention rates and new talent attraction. 

We take pride in what we do and how we do it. Our safety culture is integral to this and each and every one of us is encouraged to take personal responsibility for safety. Acting responsibly and with integrity has helped us create and sustain a successful business that can attract and retain talent. 


We are working to ensure that we have the right people with the right skills and behaviours working for the business today and tomorrow. In turn, we seek to provide a safe working environment that inspires employees to achieve the extraordinary.




We seek to provide a safe working environment for our employees and those working for us.


Our business success is driven by our talented people.


We’re proud of our diverse and international workforce.


The health, safety and welfare of our people continues to be of utmost importance to us. We want to create a working environment where safety is an absolute priority, and strongly believe that no one should be injured in the course of their work. We can only achieve this vision if each and every one of us takes personal responsibility and therefore our health and safety identity is: ‘I own safety’.

To help achieve our vision we have adopted an Occupational Health Safety and Environmental framework based on a ‘Plan Do Check Act’ model. This is applied throughout the business, with a focus on the consistent application of our demanding health and safety standards as well as adopting robust governance and reporting processes. Within our factories our health and safety management systems are certified in line with the international standards OHSAS 18001 or ISO45001. At the end of our 2021 financial year 74 per cent of our factories were certified to this standard.

To support our continual improvement journey we have developed a range of leading indicators to help us measure compliance and identify improvement opportunities. We use leading indicators to manage our key health and safety risks – such as working at heights, operating machinery and driving – and to measure compliance against our framework. This approach ensures we focus resources in the right areas and can effectively manage risk across all of our factories, warehouses, offices and our sales force.

Following the success of our inaugural Drive Safe Awards in 2020, we will repeat the awards in 2022  These awards are focused on mitigating one of the biggest risk areas across our sales operations, by recognising and celebrating the best examples of road and driver safety. For further information please read our case study.

We have global procedures in place covering hazard identification, risk assessment and incident investigation. These are applicable to all locations and are audited as part of our internal and external audit programmes. 

We provide occupational healthcare services to support the needs of our employees. Some of our larger sites have in-house occupational health professionals whereas other sites use third-party healthcare service providers.

A number of our employees are required to undertake international travel. We have travel security services to give our travellers the best support.

We strive to continually improve our safety culture to ensure workers feel empowered to always remove themselves from perceived danger. Always acting promptly on near-miss reporting and providing feedback to employees is a key part of this process.

Within our supply chain, health and safety forms a key element of our Supplier Code, Sustainable Tobacco Programme (STP) and our non-tobacco material (NTM) supplier qualification programme where we seek to promote management of good health and safety practices.


We advocate flexible working and have encouraged our people to find a routine that works best for them and their families. We communicate regularly with employees and have initiated a number of surveys to check-in on their wellbeing. 

The personal support we give employees is focused on three key areas: mental, physical and social wellbeing.

Given cultural differences across our market footprint, our employee wellbeing support is managed locally and includes resilience training, employee assistance programmes, health checks and awareness programmes, flexible working, family-friendly policies and facilities, and workplace celebrations and social events.

We have created space for honest conversations about mental health and in 2021 launched our first Mental Health Awareness Week, featuring articles, webinars, expert advice, personal stories, and planned activities through a dedicated section of our employee intranet.

In the UK we have trained an additional 80 mental health first aid champions, and every department of the UK market team now has at least one designated wellbeing champion. In the UK we also enrolled all employees into an online learning to support them in taking care of their own mental health and that of their team members.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 a wellbeing support box was sent to all UK employees in recognition of the pressures of remote working during lockdown and to help maintain a sense of belonging.  

We also encourage volunteering as a positive way for our people to engage with local communities, broaden perspectives and support a work-life balance.


The development of our people and culture is critical to the future success of Imperial.

Our Group-wide Employment Policy is designed to ensure employees are professionally recruited, effectively rewarded and encouraged to develop both personally and professionally, to better support the objectives of the business. The aim of the policy is to attract, motivate, reward, develop and retain high calibre employees to deliver business success.

Learning and Development

We are committed to creating a culture where everyone is able to take control of their career development and access learning, so that they can be the best they can.

Our global learning platform, iLearn, enables employees to access high quality digital learning in a variety of formats and languages to suit their needs, with internal content and resources from our partner organisations, including LinkedIn Learning and Harvard.

We encourage employees to continually develop their skills and every month more than 1,000 employees choose to invest time in their development through iLearn, with topics including leadership, business skills, wellbeing, diversity and inclusion. With regular communications highlighting the range of options we have seen an increase of 40 per cent in consumption of digital learning.

Our highly successful mentoring platform has been enhanced in 2021 with a new focus on reverse mentoring, to encourage a real understanding and diverse collaboration across the organisation. More than 700 employees are currently taking part, from Board members to our newest employees. More than 20 employees joined the programme for reverse mentoring exclusively. By allowing experienced colleagues to be mentored by colleagues from different generations, backgrounds or experience, we continue to build a more inclusive culture and keep growing by learning from others.

We encourage sharing and collaboration and have fun with learning along the way. Our initial Advent Calendar book reading challenge with our partner GetAbstract was so successful we repeated it in the summer of 2021 with over 2,000 book extracts read in June in many languages.

The variety of learning opportunities we are providing employees was recognised as one of the top 10 most positive factors in our global engagement survey.

Talent and Leadership

Realising the potential of our most talented people is integral to our long-term success.

Through our Talent Deal initiative, we provide select employees with targeted development solutions designed to accelerate their career progression. In return, we expect these employees to proactively seek opportunities to stretch themselves and, in turn, drive business performance.

Our Emerging Potential Programme is a good example of this: a six-month virtual programme developed in collaboration with Harvard to help junior colleagues make their first steps into global leadership roles.

Our fourth cohort of the programme was launched in 2021. Although completing the programme does not automatically guarantee immediate career progression, almost half of the 150-plus employees that have taken part have gone on to secure a promotion or a significantly enhanced role.

We continue to invest in developing our global leadership population, ensuring all new leaders experience a consistent induction programme and are able to access a range of learning and development tools. This includes our Dare to Lead and Inspire to Lead flagship programmes of workshops, digital learning, on-the-job exercises and peer support.

These programmes have been adapted to be delivered virtually so that leaders can continue to develop without the need to travel. Another 160 leaders across seven markets globally have participated in Dare to Lead and Inspire to Lead programmes in 2021. We have also continued to build the skills of these leaders in new ways, with more than 300 leaders around the world taking part in a series of additional live virtual workshops on topics such as digital intelligence, customer focus and global collaboration.


At Imperial we talk a lot about winning in a challenging and uncertain world, and about the importance of delivering on our promises, both internally and externally. To make this happen we need a real performance focus – one where we all continuously look to improve our results, learn from experiences and strive for more.

One of the things that drives this is seeing performance management as a continuous cycle of conversations throughout the year. This helps us drive performance and communicate business priorities, so that we focus everyone’s efforts on the most important things.

Performance management provides a clear understanding of the role people play in achieving our strategy, what strengths they need to develop, or what they need to do differently.


Our reward structure focuses on three key areas:

  • Ensuring our ability to attract, retain and motivate people with the capabilities we need to deliver the business strategy;
  • Supporting a more flexible and agile organisation, better able to react quickly to seize new opportunities and to address issues; and
  • Further aligning actual rewards with the performance of the business and of the individual.

This structure provides a simple and consistent global framework within which markets and functions must operate. It also provides greater flexibility to localise or tailor reward to specific needs or priorities. The framework provides the basis for governance and equitable treatment of our employees globally, as well as supporting our ability to move talent across the organisation. This is in line with delivering our Employee Value Proposition of providing attractive reward that recognises the contribution our employees make.


A key aspect of our cultural transformation is our focus on creating a more diverse and inclusive organisation. We strongly believe that diversity across our organisation not only makes it a better place to work but also helps us realise our commercial strategy. We see diversity as everything that makes us unique; inclusion supporting the mix of diverse teams; and belonging as the glue that binds and ensures diversity and inclusion is effective.

We are committed to treating employees with respect and support equal opportunities, as outlined in our Fairness at Work Policy. We want a culture that is vibrant and where our people can be themselves at work. We promote diversity within the business through awareness campaigns, career talks, unconscious bias training and diversity celebrations. The importance of diversity, equality and non-discrimination is highlighted in our Code of Conduct.

We are progressing and developing our Diversity and Inclusion strategy by engaging with the business to understand better the challenges we may face. In 2021 we completed our first ever Group-wide inclusion diagnostic study, which drew a response rate of 70 per cent.

In response to the survey findings, we created four global Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to further understand the opportunities to create a more inclusive organisation. Each of these is sponsored by an Executive leader, supported by members of the senior leadership team, and focuses on areas colleagues considered most important: ethnicity, disability, gender and LGBTQ+.

We are committed to building on our series of customised ‘Raising Awareness’ learning modules in inclusion, across the business. We have provided bespoke e-learning courses in 11 languages to help our people leaders understand the issues of unconscious bias and microaggressions and this will be cascaded to all layers of management in due course.

We have a Global Diversity and Inclusion network in place with champions to promote aspects of diversity within their working locations. The network continues to influence the social awareness of the broader organisation, in collaboration with colleagues from across the organisation, through engagement opportunities such as Black History Month.

In 2021 we delivered our first sunrise-to-sunset International Women's Day (IWD) programme of events, with participation from employees in 43 countries. The event featured internal and external guest speaker sessions, employee stories from across the organisation and a dedicated online hub providing an extensive library of resources.

The event was conceived, created and delivered by volunteers from across the business and actively supported by the Chief Executive and senior leadership team. The aim was not only to acknowledge the challenges that still exist for women in the workplace today, but also provide practical tips to empower people to act in new ways so they can model the change they want to see in our organisation. 

Building on the success of the 2021 IWD activities, our ‘Everyone Belongs’ online hub is rapidly gaining recognition across the business as we build inclusion awareness and capabilities throughout our organisation. The hub is also used as one of the vehicles to quantify responses to our Diversity & Inclusion initiatives.


Find out about careers opportunities that set us apart as an employer.


Our case studies showcase our progress against our sustainability strategy.


See the progress we’ve made against our key performance indicators during 2021.