Lloyds Banking Group has a footprint that touches nearly every community and household in the UK – it also has a flexible working policy which is open to all of its 110,000+ employees.
Lloyds Banking Group is better known on the high street through its customer-facing brands which include Lloyds TSB, Bank of Scotland and Halifax. Indeed Lloyds TSB was the UK pioneer of this ‘open to all’ flexible working approach over 10 years ago.
“The Group operates in a competitive market and our success depends on attracting and retaining the best employees and understanding and meeting the needs of our customers – our flexible working platform helps us to do this.” says Fiona Cannon OBE, Diversity & Inclusion Director for the Group. “We know that our customers want to have access to their finances at a time and place that suits them. Our flexible working programme is therefore key to ensure we support our customers. In addition, external and internal research demonstrates that salary and benefit packages alone are not necessarily enough to keep employees engaged and motivated. People are increasingly influenced by other factors within the employment offering, which help them manage the different facets of their lives. Flexibility is seen as a prerequisite for many and this is certainly the case within the Group – around a third of our colleagues work flexibly. We therefore see flexibility as a win for the business and individual employees.”
Under the Group’s scheme, all colleagues have the right to request flexible working. We have guidelines which govern this process and a formal policy in place, both of which ensure all colleagues receive fair and consistent treatment. The applicant does not have to disclose his or her reasons for asking to work flexibly – the key consideration for their manager is what impact the proposed work pattern has on the business and on the colleague’s ability to do their job. Line managers are required to consider all requests carefully and individually, and applications can only be refused if there is a clear, negative impact on the business.
Employees can choose from traditional flexible working patterns such as part time working, compressed working and job sharing, or they can propose any pattern which meets their needs and the needs of the business. To help the process, the application form poses a number of questions which help the applicant and manager consider the proposal from all angles including looking at the potential impacts and how these can be offset.
HR Change Manager, Lloyds Banking Group
I started working flexibly when I was part of the Scotland Women’s Rugby squad, to give me more time to focus on my training. I worked 30 hours over 4 days and even though I left the squad a year ago I’ve maintained my flexible working pattern – I now use that extra day a week to study for a professional HR qualification.
I have learnt to manage my time carefully and I set clear expectations with my stakeholders so that they know when I work – and when I don’t! My manager is very supportive of flexible working. There are a number of others in my team who also work flexibly and we all work together to ensure we deliver what we need to as a team. There is always some give and take on both sides, to make sure that we meet the needs of the business.
It was very straightforward for me to change my working pattern – our process is to present a mini business case to our line manager explaining what working pattern you propose, what the impact on the team would be and what the business benefits would be. My manager agreed to the change immediately, phoned our HR team and got it actioned straight away. Being able to work in this way has made a huge difference to me and in return I feel more committed to, and engaged with, the organisation.
Group Community Investment & Sustainable Development Director
Flexible working is incredibly important to this organisation and to me as a leader within it. I strongly encourage my team to work in the way that suits them best to achieve the results I expect whilst also meeting their own needs. It requires mutual trust and respect, and clarity over objectives – but that’s the basis of a good team anyway.
I currently have two managers and one senior manager in my team who work flexibly to give them time outside work to pursue their own interests and commitments. And those interests are many and varied, ranging from charity work to helping a family members’ business and, of course, childcare.
It really does make good sense to foster this supportive environment for flexibility to thrive. If my team are able to manage their work, whilst getting the most out of their lives outside the workplace, then they are more productive and motivated inside work.