Our ways of working

CEO Alison Rose recently talked to colleagues about our future ways of working. Read her speech here.

"Welcome everyone, and thank you for joining today’s discussion on our future ways of working. I know that this topic is at the front of everyone’s minds – so thank you to all the colleagues and teams across the bank who have been helping to shape the way we’ll work in the future, and the framework we’ll explore today.

We had already signposted that we will be moving to a hybrid way of working, with ‘freedom in a framework’. This is intended to provide the right balance of flexibility, accountability, collaboration and customer service.

This is our opportunity to combine the best of how we operated pre-COVID, with everything we’ve learned over the last year. Maintaining relentless focus on customer need – and working as One Bank to better leverage and streamline the support we provide. 

We have a critical role to play in supporting a strong, sustainable, equitable economic recovery – and we will do this by balancing the needs of all our stakeholders…Customers, communities and colleagues. 

Throughout the pandemic, we found the right flexibility and approach to managing risk, so that we were there for those who depend on us – when they needed us most…Thank you for all your hard work in achieving this; delivering on our strategy and continuing to create a relationship bank, for a digital world.

Following on from today, we will continue to test and learn….We will listen to how things are working for you as individuals, and for your managers and business areas.

In a moment, we’ll hear from three colleagues who are focussed on achieving this – Helen Lawson from HR, Fiona Walmsley from Property Services, and Simon Corcoran from Technology. 

Early last year, the pandemic changed ways of working across the world. For us, this meant 50,000 colleagues working from home, in a few short weeks…..whilst 10,000 kept our branches open on the high-streets. Supporting customers in person and virtually, using new and existing technology. And moving many of our events and services online – reaching more people than ever before.

I am incredibly proud of how you all made this work – and more than that, how you found ways to make it work even better.

However. This has not been without personal cost – and I know how difficult the days and months have been, with a blurring of work and home-lives. Worrying about the welfare of family and friends……or maybe missing the familiar mechanisms and colleague-interactions in the office. Our health and wellbeing tools – such as Silvercloud – have been an important resource and I would encourage you to keep drawing on this support.

I’m also acutely aware that not every country and community is progressing at the same pace through vaccination and easing of restrictions. Our colleagues in India have endured an especially difficult period, and we are continuing to work closely across the relevant teams to provide the help, security and medical aid that we can.

Whilst it’s clear that the pandemic has had an immediate, significant impact on how we work….It’s also true that the move towards hybrid working was already taking place.

Long before March 2020, digital innovation had enabled some colleagues to work more flexibly. But the impact of a health crisis has led us to fundamentally reimagine how we work and connect – in effective and safe ways.

We know that many colleagues have valued the additional flexibility – and many customers have also changed the way they bank with us. As reported at Q1, 61% of our retail customers now use only digital channels – up from 50% in Q1 last year. Whilst in Commercial Banking, 68% of sales are via digital channels.

I would say that we’ve busted the myth that jobs need to be done in a certain way. 

We have learnt new ways of working, and it’s important we carry those learnings forward – keeping an open mind…remaining agile…serving customers – whilst also creating an environment that is positive for colleagues. 

It goes without saying – there is no ‘one size fits all’, as not every role is the same. Some roles, and some people, will need to be back in the office 100% of the time – that’s just the nature of the role; they cannot be done from home. Other people will be able to work remotely the majority of the time….and for others there will be a hybrid solution. 

Based on the different roles and needs we have across the bank, we have designed the new ‘ways of working’ framework around these three categories: Remote-first…. Hybrid…. Office-first. 

I should also say that our timetable for this framework roll-out will be guided by Government guidance – which may differ across different parts of our business and localities.

For some of you, it will be clear which category your role fits within. For others, it may be less clear – and may depend on other factors. Everyone will feel differently, and we are mindful of that.

These are guardrails, against which we need to have honest, thoughtful conversations. We need to be willing to learn….listen…and adapt.

Over the coming weeks, individual conversations will be held with your line managers to discuss what this means for you and your role – and how this best supports you to deliver for your colleagues, customers and stakeholders. 

Line Managers will play a pivotal role in capturing your feedback during regular conversations – this is not ‘one and done’. It is a phased approach, so we will take the time we need to understand how things are working.

You’ve heard me say this many times before…. We want to build a relationship bank for a digital world. This is one of the most important moments for us to do that, and to step into a new way of working – which continues to keep our customers and colleagues, at the heart of all we do."