Friday Five: EX50 Special!

The inaugural EX50 is live! We’ve teamed up with People Management and Management Today to celebrate the 50 leaders in employee experience who are at the forefront of driving real change. Read on for a profile of five inductees, and download the full list at the bottom…

Syreeta Brown, Virgin Money

1. Making a commitment to colleague wellbeing

Virgin Money recently announced a new benefits package for all employees, which will offer them five ‘wellbeing days’ a year, on top of their 30 days of holiday. When added to bank holidays and the ability to “buy” more days off, employees can spend nearly 50 days away from work per year. In addition, the firm said that it will offer new parents 20 weeks of leave, and 52 weeks overall.

The new scheme, called A Life More Virgin, also reacts to the trend for flexible working. The approach is “a clear demonstration of that purpose, underlining our commitment to providing a first-class colleague experience that we know will translate to a differentiating experience for customers,” says Syreeta Brown, the new Group Chief People & Communications Officer.

Andrew Bush, Greene King

2. Eliminating worry among furloughed staff

As a pub company, Greene King was hit hard by the pandemic, with 99% of its staff furloughed. To eliminate worry, the company topped up all staff’s pay to 100% — including those who had joined too recently to qualify for the government scheme. Thirty thousand of its people accessed the Wagestream app, which allows users to receive a portion of their wages before payday.

It seems the change is only just starting. The Chief People Officer, Andrew Bush, says that the company is “on a cultural transformation”. Diversity & inclusion is a focus, with all board members now reverse-mentored by a BAME staff member, and the firm is looking to improve its reward strategy in order to become “the most attractive employer in the sector”.

Danny Harmer, Aviva

3. Embracing all forms of diversity and inclusion

Under Danny Harmer, diversity and inclusion has become an even greater focus for Aviva than it already was. To help close the firm’s gender pay gap, she said that all roles would offer flexible working, which is expected to increase applications from women; that all shortlists would be gender balanced; and that the firm would use the Textio software platform, which claims to help create gender-neutral job adverts.

Harmer was named in the OUTstanding 50 Ally Executives List, and is Co-Executive Sponsor of Aviva’s Pride Community. The company is also embracing new areas of diversity, launching a placement programme designed to attract neurodiverse individuals, and it has given several neurodiverse interns 12-month placements in the company’s Quantum data science practice.

Tanuj Kapilashrami, Standard Chartered

4. Improving productivity and carbon footprint

By the end of 2021 Standard Chartered had offered flexible working to half its staff, something it will possibly be able to expand to 95% of its 85,000 staff by 2023. The announcement followed a consultation with staff about how they would want to work, and also a review of which jobs could be performed remotely. The bank is also in talks with a partner to offer “near-home” workspaces, to reduce commuting.

Group Head of HR Tanuj Kapilashrami is also keen to embrace technology to improve employee experience. HR has worked with the CTO to create an Employee Experience Council, which is committed to using data to improve employee experience. For instance, the bank has recently launched an AI-driven learning experience platform, to help tailor L&D to employees’ individual needs.

Mark Mullen, Atom Bank

5. Reshaping the nature of how we work

The Durham-based challenger bank Atom recently announced that all its 430 staff will be able to work a four-day week with no reduction in pay. Working hours will go down from 37 to 34 a week. The bank says that it is “taking the lead in reshaping the nature of work to take account of longer working lives, the positive impact of technology and flexible working and the need to live and work more sustainably”.

CEO Mark Mullen says: “A four-day week will provide our employees with more opportunities to pursue their passions, spend time with their families, and build a healthier work-life balance. We firmly believe that this will prove beneficial for our employees’ wellbeing and happiness and that it will have an equally positive impact on business productivity and customer experience.”

The EX50 celebrates the leaders who are driving real change in employee experience. Download the full list to find out who is creating the workplace of tomorrow.

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We write about customer experience, employee experience, design, content & technology to share our knowledge with the wider community.