HR data key to role of new banking standards body

By Ben Willmott - Head of Public Policy, CIPD, @Ben_Willmott

Plans announced this week to establish a Banking Standards Review Council (BSRC) following Sir Richard Lambert’s review are not a panacea but can bring much needed transparency to the banking sector, shining a light on organisational culture. The requirement of participating banks to commit to a programme of continuous improvement under the headings of culture, competence and customer outcomes is more than a naming and shaming exercise – it will help give banking leaders the data and insight they need to re-build public trust and confidence in the sector.

Crucial to success will be the use of quantitative metrics and qualitative judgements to allow as objective an assessment as possible of where individual banks and the sector as a whole are seen to be making progress and where further work is needed. This type of data is essential; you can’t manage what you can’t measure. It is for this reason that CIPD is working with bodies such as UKCES, CIMA, CMI, Investors in People and the RSA on the Valuing you talent metrics development programme.

However, it is not only the confidence of the public that many financial institutions need to regain, but also the confidence of those working in the financial sector itself. Our research report, published last September, on Rebuilding trust in the City highlighted that less than a third of employees said they were proud to work in the sector and only 36% of non-managerial staff stated that they were aware of their organisation’s values. Less than four in ten banking sector employees reported there had been any initiative led by senior executives to change culture in the organisation over the last 12 months, with 45% saying the opposite and 16% who don’t know.

Organisations must be encouraged to first look at how organisational values are promoted and how pervasive they are internally, if they are to truly shape the way in which they are perceived externally by customers, stakeholders and the public. It is therefore important that measures are used, by the Banking Standards Review Council, which provide real insights into internal organisational culture, such as how people at different levels feel they are led and managed, how much pressure or stress they are under, the extent they would feel comfortable reporting inappropriate behaviour and overall levels of employee engagement.

Taken together, Sir Richard Lambert’s recommendations provide a positive framework, which if supported and followed through by the banking sector, can make a significant contribution to ensuring our banks re-establish their original core purpose of serving customers, businesses, communities and ultimately society.

Thank you for your comments. There may be a short delay in this going live on the blog page as we moderate the comments added to our blogs.