Page 3: The business case for flexibility
Flexible working is not merely of benefit to staff; it makes excellent business sense too.
Lloyds TSB believes its ability to deal effectively with the need for flexibility strengthens its position as an employer of choice and enables the Group to deliver levels of service that differentiate Lloyds TSB from its competitors. Customers benefit by getting to deal with a professional, friendly, well-informed and enthusiastic person. In an increasingly competitive market place, where retailers, supermarkets and other companies can also offer financial services, Lloyds TSB needs customer service excellence “around the clock” to stay competitive.
Lloyds TSB developed its own flexible working approach in 1999 to help attract and retain the best staff. The Group”s own “leaver surveys” (questionnaires completed by people leaving the business) showed that flexibility was a prime reason for them joining initially. This is supported by a national survey which showed that flexible working was a more important factor than pay for graduates in choosing an employer.
Flexibility and motivation
Employees need motivation and commitment.
Research shows that people are more productive and experience less stress when they have control over the hours they work. Therefore, flexible working helps Lloyds TSB to gain the long term commitment and motivation of well qualified and experienced staff. It is far more expensive to recruit and train new staff than to retain existing ones.
Jo is an Assistant Manager, Process Design in Group Operations.
“I have two children and my husband is self employed. I work from home five days a week. I have been able to continue my career with the bank and deliver 100% commitment.”
Flexible working generates cost savings too. Traditional work patterns usually involved fixed hours between 9.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. Work beyond these hours was paid by employers at overtime rates, e.g. “time and a half” or more, driving up staff costs. By introducing flexibility, Lloyds TSB has been able to extend staff cover at no added cost. In today”s world, people with busy lifestyles require financial services at any time. Peak customer demand does not follow a traditional 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 a.m. working day either. For Lloyds TSB, flexible arrangements permit it to offer its employees personal benefits to suit their own lives and deliver a more complete service to customers. Both parties win.
Achieving a healthy work-life balance is important to the Group as well as to its staff. For staff, the pressure of a career set against a background of family responsibilities can be difficult to manage. Sickness and absenteeism often increase when these pressures become too much.
Research shows that people who are free to concentrate on their job without conflict with other commitments are much more efficient workers. Assistant Manager Mark has been able to work flexibly for five years.
“I have joint custody of my daughter. Thanks to flexible working I can play an active part in her upbringing. For me, this is one of the key benefits of working for Lloyds TSB. I work a variable fortnight, starting at 9.30 a.m. some days and finishing at 4.30 p.m. others.”
Managers at Lloyds TSB are encouraged to measure every staff request for a flexible work pattern against this “sound business” background.