This week Lloyds sent out ‘invitations’ to staff to apply for three roles in:
- Customer Financial Assistance
- Motor Finance and Leasing
- Mortgage and Protection Advice.
Members may be attracted by one or more of these roles but should go into them with their eyes wide open. The Union’s files are littered with cases of members not thinking through new jobs, not reading the small print and accepting verbal assurances from plausible people who clearly didn’t understand what they were discussing or had no authority to give the commitments they did. Later, when reality dawned, the members concerned found that like all jobs their new roles had unforeseen cons (to go with the pros) but that it was too late to go back.
One definite danger is accepting verbal assurances on pay, location, job content, or working hours or childcare. To be blunt, if you accept a verbal assurance from anyone working for a Bank in 2022 you will be asking for trouble. People come and go in managerial positions with great frequency and the chance that some will have committed a verbal agreement with you to paper, should be viewed as zero! And new line managers can and often do spend considerable amounts of time working to get out of even written agreements entered into by their predecessors.
A critical decision if you move job is to understand whether you will be able to do the job you are being asked to do. Bear in mind that the actual job may bear only limited relation to the ‘glossy’ blurb.
For example, the job in Customer Financial Assistance may suit you down to the ground. If you’re happy with the working hours and can cope with stressful phone call after stressful phone call, with call centre-type pressures, you may decide to go ahead. If you’re not stop you should pause and get our advice before you decide. We will be able to explain the sort of problems that may come up and explain how job demands can change over time to make what seemed like a good job, a bad one.
In a redundancy situation, staff can expect to be able to try new jobs before they accept them. Moving to any of these new roles would throw up the same sort of issues and in particular the importance of finding out what’s actually involved in a role before making a final commitment. We’ve seen cases where members have been told by managers ‘just give it a try’, only to find out they’re stuck in jobs that aren’t right for them, often on informal or formal action plans.
Location and Home Working
It makes complete sense to think through where a job is likely to be located in future. Of course no one can foresee all changes and moves of offices are not always predictable; but some are and we will try to advise you on that.
If you are going to be home working you need to get the ground rules clear up-front. What will you be able to do and what will you not be able to do? Will you be able to cope with the technology? What breaks will you get? How will your performance be monitored? For some people, home working is in effect a call centre without the travel. Be realistic about what will be involved.
The reliability of your Internet connection is also an important factor when working from home. We’ve seen members called in to investigatory meetings for not answering calls when their connections have actually dropped out due to Internet problems that are beyond members’ control.
If you have or expect to have care responsibilities, think about how those responsibilities will fit with the job you’re being offered. Get any commitments understood in writing. It’s hard to think of any area, other than perhaps pay, which gives rise to more disagreements or misunderstandings. If you’re told that Lloyds has an unwavering commitment to helping staff balance their work and personal lives you should be realistic. Lloyds like all other very large employers has some very fine-sounding policies on all sorts of things. They tend to come undone where money or business performance are concerned!
Get the pay arrangements for your new role agreed, or at least understood, up front. If you’re told something, anything, either make sure you see it in writing! Ask us if you’re in any doubt.
If you breach any of the Bank’s rules and the breach could be said in some way to affect customers or cast doubt on your ability to do your job, Lloyds may report you to the Financial Conduct Authority and you could find yourself unable to work anywhere in the finance sector. I will cover this in detail in a newsletter shortly but suffice it to say now that staff in the MaPA role in particular really are at risk here. What are career-ending decisions are being made at too low a level in Lloyds with no proper right of appeal. The system has been a shambles.
If It Doesn’t Work Out
If the role isn’t what you expected, and you’re alleged not to meet the Bank’s standards, you’ll undoubtedly be put on an action plan to improve performance. If that is argued to have failed, in the worst-case scenario you could be dismissed on the grounds of capability. Not only will that present a problem with references for prospective new employers, but you could end up with a record with the FCA that will severely limit your prospects of obtaining FCA regulated roles anywhere else.
All Doom and Gloom?
I understand that some members will view this newsletter as doom and gloom. But we deal with the real consequences of dishonest management/poor communication on a daily basis and it’s important you and your colleagues understand what you sign up for.
Our message is quite clear: if you enter into a contract that subsequently you don’t like it will almost certainly be too late. Employers (and Employment Tribunals) will look at what was agreed in writing. Claiming that you were misled won’t wash unless you have clear, written evidence to prove your case!
If you have any questions or want advice on a prospective role, please ring BTU’s Advice Team on 01234 262868. They will be pleased to help.