Barclays Bank, Finalist 2015, The Santander Best New Flexible Working Initiative
Barclays has made its belief in flexible working real through a wholesale commitment to change. Its year-long Dynamic Working Campaign (DWC), developed in 2014, recognised that people have many roles throughout each life stage, at home and at work, and need time, flexibility and energy to fulfil them all. DWC has developed a culture where working dynamically in non-traditional ways is embraced. The aim was to fundamentally ‘refresh’ the practice of flexible working, a day-one right at Barclays, to reduce costs and capitalise on the greater productivity that agile staff bring and to further improve the working culture for 140,000 UK and global employees.
DWC designed work wherever possible around employees’ needs to foster a greater sense of wellbeing, an important aspect of Barclays’ stated goal of becoming the ‘Go-To’ bank. DWC provided a ‘holistic wrapper’ to make workplace agility the norm by revitalising policy, process and practice. Refreshing the topic meant that all staff started to see work differently and to regard flexible working as something ‘for me’ rather than ‘for them’, encouraged by the DWC strapline of ‘how do you work your life?’. For example one line manager said about a DWC event: “I found it extremely useful. The content was well structured and enabled constructive dialogue for those who couldn’t see how DW would work in their areas, positively promoting the benefits not only to the individuals but also to the business.”
The changes employees have made range from small yet significant adjustments to more formal contractual arrangements, including, for example, occasional leave to train with the Territorial Army, flexibility when moving house, daily eldercare-related requirements and transitional working-pattern changes for new parents.
DWC encompassed research data demonstrating organisational benefits of flexible working to use in with key stakeholders and influencers. This data included usage aspects such as DWC portal hits and wider impact measures related to talent attraction and retention – for example monitoring data (working parents and female talent), engagement (via employee opinion scores) and employee wellbeing (via absenteeism and sickness rates). Relevant metrics are collated and analysed half-yearly by senior leaders in support of the wider ‘Go-To’ employer goal.
Four main components have brought DWC to life for employees: case studies; line manager clinics; ‘real role model’ champions and dedicated ‘knowledge events’. DWC also showcased how technology and policy enabled people to work dynamically – for example, through Barclays’ updated shared parental leave policy and its innovative ‘Stay in touch’ app for those on maternity or paternity leave.
Barclays feels that personal stories are at the core of DWC and are what appeal to employees, so the next phase will expand on senior leader messages about how they ‘work their lives’. This is in response to feedback and lessons learnt about what made DWC effective following the UK launch. In preparation for the global launch of the campaign Barclays has already engaged colleagues in overseas locations via ‘listening groups’ and employee networks. It wants to ensure cultural concepts and positioning are embedded from the start so that both colleagues and the business gain maximum benefits from the global launch of DWC.