It seems that Lloyds just can’t stop dropping the ball.
In the space of just a few weeks the people running Lloyds have destroyed staff morale, engagement and brand advocacy to an unprecedented extent. That takes some doing. And to compound that by issuing a survey which many staff say is rigged is just making matters worse. Those survey results will then be used to justify the bank’s actions even though hardly anyone employed by Lloyds will fail to see through what’s going on.
Staff have commented that the tone of the survey is divisive. It’s trying to pit staff against each other, when the common enemy is the bank’s policies. The survey implies that those who want to keep their hybrid and compressed working arrangements don’t care about the business, customers or colleagues and are, therefore, selfish. In contrast, those who are prepared to go in to offices for at least 2 days a week or give up their compressed working arrangements in order to help the business are selfless. Such a toxic polarisation of complex issues is only going to make matters worse.
The very idea that Lloyds can only be competitive and grow in a challenging market if everyone goes into an office two days a week or gives up compressed working arrangements is laughably simplistic and based on no evidence whatsoever. If forecasts are right, Lloyds is in line for a £7.2 billion pre-tax profit this year. Since hybrid working was introduced, pre-tax profits have been just over £15 billion. That’s not bad.
Some of the questions are loaded so that staff are forced to make choices without sufficient categories to allow them to say what they really think. That’s deliberate. An example of this is the opposing statements section. One of the opposing statements says: ‘Upskilling and developing others is not my responsibility’ or ‘I take personal action to support colleagues to upskill and develop through face to face interactions’. We have highlighted the biased wording. It’s a forced question which produces an inevitable bias because respondents who support, upskill and develop their colleagues remotely are forced to choose an answer which doesn’t reflect what they actually do. Incidentally, in 2020, before she joined Lloyds, Ms Sharon Doherty said: “We learned that our leadership training, as with project implementations themselves, could all be delivered remotely with just as much impact and a greatly reduced carbon footprint”. Well said. Although it now seems that just as the world is getting warmer, Ms Doherty is getting colder on hybrid working.
So, according to the bank’s survey Lloyds staff are either selfish or selfless. How about this corker? ‘I prioritise my needs when deciding where and how I work’ [Selfish member of staff] or ‘I balance the needs of the business, my team and customers when deciding where and how I work’ [Selfless member of staff]. Is it not possible for a Lloyds member of staff to balance their needs and the needs of the business, customers and team when deciding where to work? Staff have been doing that quite successfully for the last few years. Again, this is another biased question designed to pit staff against each other and force a desired answer that Lloyds can spin.
Moreover, why are there so many questions about line managers. One could be forgiven for thinking the GEC think line managers are the source of the problem. They are not. The source of the problem lies on the executive floor in Gresham Street and the flip-flop strategy wrapped in gobbledygook that that comes out of it, nowhere else.
There are simply just too many examples of bias in the survey for us to cover them all but the final one was a classic. The bank deliberately limited what staff could say in the free text boxes to just 250 characters. So, staff can ‘Lean In’ [Ms Doherty thanked staff for ‘Leaning In’ in her message last week] but not too much!
When the results are finally published, they won’t reflect how staff really think about hybrid working. The results will reflect what the bank thinks they should think about hybrid working and for that reason, the results will be worthless.
Mr Nunn needs to reconsider what’s happened over the last few weeks, quickly, before it gets out of control. Effectively saying that he doesn’t trust his staff, and he’ll be monitoring their comings and goings using swipe card data, can’t be a good move for a Chief Executive Officer who is trying to drive a £1.5 billion growth agenda.
We’ll discuss the next steps in our next Newsletter. In the meantime, members with any questions on this Newsletter should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).
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