Charlie Nunn, Group Chief Executive, is shaking up the bank and getting rid of those executives whose faces don’t fit any more. Matt Sinnott, the ex-People and Property Director, had a discussion with Charlie Nunn and it was agreed that he would leave. The bank’s falling engagement scores probably didn’t help Mr Sinnott in those discussions. Sharon Doherty, the Chief People Officer at Finastra, who authored a book called the ‘The Making of Heathrow’s Terminal 5’, which surprisingly is still available to buy, will be taking over Matt Sinnott’s role in early June. She’s a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion apparently, so we can expect that to be top of her agenda. However, if she’s going to address the bank’s engagement gap properly, she will need to be much more than a one-trick pony. Ms Doherty needs to tackle the reward agenda, career progression and training and all those areas that are important to Lloyds staff; not just those trendy issues that are important to executives looking to increase their profiles.
Many of the changes announced in the last few days are going back to how Lloyds was structured previously. That was one of the criticisms levelled at Charlie Nunn when he unveiled his new strategy to analysts a few weeks ago. One analyst said: “For 26 years I have listened to Lloyds CEOs stand up and say they have low product penetration of the customer base, and they want to cross-sell more. It is why Widows was bought in 1998, so what is different now?”. Mr Nunn’s response to that charge of not being original, which we shall discuss in more detail in our next Newsletter, was less than impressive.
The bank’s expectation was that Lloyds staff would have discussed and agreed how ‘hybrid working’ was going to work before they began returning to their desks but that’s not happened. Many members have had no such discussions or agreed new working arrangements. It’s been left up to individual teams to work out what’s best for them. In many cases, staff are now being put under pressure to come into the office more.
The impending reorganisations that will follow the changes announced by Charlie Nunn will increase that pressure on staff to return to their desks. Proximity bias – the subconscious tendency to value and reward physical presence – will begin to kick in, especially when staff are having to apply for their own jobs again. Those keenest to work from home could then be disadvantaged in those reorganisations.
In our latest survey:
- 58% of members said that they had not had a one-to-one meeting to discuss their ‘new’ working arrangements.
- 95% of members said that their ‘new’ working arrangements had not been confirmed in writing. It is important that members get those arrangements confirmed in writing so that at a later stage there can’t be any arguments about what was agreed. A simple email confirming what was agreed is all that’s needed. BTU’s advice team will be happy to help draft those emails.
- 81% of members wanted to carry on working remotely for most of the week. Only 3% of those responding to our survey wanted to return to the office full-time.
- Only 35% of Lloyds staff said that they were happy to return to the office on set days of the week, which is what most Lloyds staff are doing now. Most staff wanted to be able to choose for themselves which days of the week to come into the office.
When you’ve got an organisation on the verge of major upheavals how long can ‘hybrid’ working last? Is it here to stay or will it slowly fade away with more Lloyds staff being pressurised to return to offices full time? Only time will tell.
Off To Court
At a recent meeting of analysts, William Chalmers, Chief Finance Officer, said about the pension deficit that: “If you then bear in mind that number [the deficit] also includes £1.7 billion of contested charges because of the RPI/CPI debate that is going through the House of Lords right now, which we are not a party to but it is one we will be beneficiary of, then you can see that number will come down again”. Mr Chalmers is talking about the Government’s decision to replace the retail price index (RPI) with the consumer price index including housing costs (CPIH) from 2030. Most other pension schemes, including BT below, are saying that the RPI v CPIH change could increase pension deficits not reduce them. In some cases, significantly.
Members will recall from a previous Newsletter that the High Court granted permission for a judicial review to be heard on the government’s decision to replace RPI with CPIH. That review will be heard this summer. The application for review is being brought by the BT Pension Scheme, Ford Pension Scheme and Marks and Spencer Pension Scheme. The Lloyds Trustee refused to join the legal action.
It is estimated that 10 million pensioners will be poorer in retirement either from lower pension payments or lower transfer values because of the change in measuring inflation. CPIH typically runs at 1% lower than RPI, year on year. The BT Pension Scheme has calculated that the reformed RPI will affect 82,000 of its 282,000 members, reduce the value of the scheme’s assets by £3.7bn, increase the scheme’s deficit by £1bn and reduce the value of pensioners’ incomes by £2.8bn. Whilst the exact figures are going to be different, it’s clear that many Lloyds members are going to be worse off and for the Trustee to sit on the side-lines waiting for the result of the judicial review is unconscionable.
We will keep members informed of developments and will let them know when the case starts. In the meantime, members with any questions can contact the Union’s Bedford Office on 01234 262868 (Choose Option 1).