Barclays, Winner 2016, The Direct Line Group Best for Embedded Flexibility Award

Key features

  • Thoroughly embedded flexibility born out of listening to staff and colleagues.
  • Barclays has moved from a point where flexibility was available to everyone for personal reasons to a point were dynamic working is how Barclays achieves its business.
  • Support is available for whole teams to develop dynamic working together.
  • In the future, Barclays is planning to accredit trained managers in running dynamic working.

Barclays’ Dynamic Working Campaign (DWC) has changed the culture in the company, with manager and colleague mindsets moving to one where flexibility is a cultural norm. Staff understand that working dynamically is how the organisation achieves its business, professional and personal goals.

The DWC was born from a multigenerational listening group, where Barclays’ colleagues met to discuss common diversity and inclusion interests. Inconsistent flexible working practices were found across the bank, and so the group launched the DWC through identifying and rolling out best practice, bank-wide. The project was launched in the UK in November 2014, followed by a global roll out in June 2015.

While flexible working has long been embedded into Barclays’ employee proposition (for all colleagues, from day one of employment), the DWC provides a ‘holistic wrapper’ to lift mindsets and change paradigms, normalising workplace agility. The campaign has refreshed the topic internally, and means line managers see it as something ‘for me’ rather than ‘for them’. The DWC strapline ‘how do you work your life?’ opens up the dialogue for colleagues at all levels.

The DWC campaign includes a dedicated portal and community chat site for colleagues to raise issues, share stories and access useful material. There are also line manager clinics run by senior managers, face-to-face and virtually. The company has created Dynamic Working Champions who are volunteers providing mentoring and guidance to managers and colleagues. There are events hosted by employee diversity network groups, case studies depicting different Dynamic Working patterns, a job share register; and support for whole teams to develop Dynamic Working together.

The progress of the DWC is monitored against key milestones, as part of Barclays’ wider community engagement measurement. Metrics illustrate that Barclays is moving in the right direction. There has been an improvement in employee engagement on Dynamic Working, currently 74 per cent in the UK, compared to 70 per cent globally. There has been continuous engagement in the campaign with over 20,000 portal hits over the lifetime of the campaign and membership of the community site currently 100. Over 5,000 colleagues have attended Dynamic Working events and 2,500 managers have attended Dynamic Working clinics. At present, 7.8 per cent of staff have formal flexible working arrangements but the aim is to encourage all colleagues to define their own Dynamic Working pattern, the majority of which will be informal arrangements. Maternity returners retained after 12 months was 91.5 per cent at the end of 2015 which was up from 80.6 per cent the previous year. Shared Parental Leave has been taken up by 35 employees since April 2015.

For the future, Barclays plans to expand the number of Dynamic Working champions to 500. They also plan to develop more special listening groups, for example, a maternity returners’ listening group. They plan to include Dynamic Working in the new Women@Barclays portal, an online resource aimed at raising awareness of the unconscious biases women face. And run a line manager accreditation workshop ‘Modern Ways of Working’ a two hour session incorporating Dynamic Working.