Why gender inclusion matters to TSB

A note from Helen Rose, Chief Operating Officer, TSB

On Tuesday 22 March, I attended the launch of the Gadhia Review, a Government review looking into the representation of women in senior managerial roles in the financial services industry.  It's a subject that is very close to my heart.  TSB has fed into the review from the very beginning, and this has been another brilliant opportunity for us to contribute, sharing our approach and some of the successes we've had.  

I've always been passionate about the gender balance in business - not because I'm a woman, but because businesses that have a good balance of men and women in senior roles are more successful.  It's simply good practice to make sure we have the right mix.

And that doesn't just mean a good mix of men and women at senior levels.  We need to support women coming up the ranks so we create sustainable long-lasting gender inclusion, in every part and at every level of the bank.  So for me, putting in policies which support a sustainable gender balance culture is even more important than just setting quotas.

In our branches, 80% of our customer-facing Partners are women, with 80% of them work flexible hours, and we want to inspire them to become future leaders.  Part of gender balance is helping everyone achieve their potential.

As well as my Chief Operations Officer role at TSB, I'm also proud to be TSB's Executive Sponsor for Gender. That means I'm responsible for making sure we have the right support, mentoring and recruitment policies, as well as the right culture.

I'm pleased to say, our track record is good. 38% of our Executive Committee is female - well above the 14% average seen across the sector - and the culture we've built and the initiatives we've put in place have meant we've continued to improve our gender balance, with senior managers increasing from 34% in 2013 to almost 40%.

We want to encourage long-term sustainability and that's why we're focussing on driving gender balance from the top, so it becomes part of our normal working culture.



For more information on our approach to gender balance, below is TSB's case study (submitted on 24 December 2015) which has been published as part of the Gadhia Review.

Why gender inclusion matters to TSB

Born out of Lloyds, TSB was set up in the wake of the financial crisis when just 20 in every 100 people thought banks tell the truth. We needed to give the 4.5 million customers we inherited, not one of whom chose to be part of TSB, a reason to stay and also to attract new customers to join us.

As we went about building TSB we spent thousands of hours talking to customers and consumers about banking and what they wanted from their bank. We learnt that customers wanted something different. We wanted to build a bank that reset the relationship between banks and society by creating a bank that put customers and communities before short-term profit - just as Henry Duncan sought to do when he set up the Trustee Savings Bank over 200 years ago.

Our vision was to return banking to its original purpose, by putting power back in the hands of consumers.  Our strategy was to build a bank with the culture and values to offer a customer experience which reflected our purpose. We have sought to achieve this through our partnership culture which aligns customer outcomes and employee rewards, and by creating a Partner culture which better reflects the customers we seek to serve.

In line with this commitment to a different Partner culture in banking, gender diversity is something TSB has focused on from day one.

We understand that gender inclusion is an issue of clear business sense; as McKinsey & Co discovered, having more women in senior positions in an organisation can lead to: 42% higher return on sales; 66% higher return on investment capital; and 53% higher return on equity.

But for TSB it is not just about more women in senior positions, it is about sustainable long-lasting gender inclusion, in every part and at every level of the bank.

How TSB has set about delivering long-lasting cultural change

We did not want to create a bank which gave the impression of offering something different, or delivered gender balance only in the short-term; we wanted to build a bank which lived and breathed a different culture for the long-term.

We therefore did not set gender targets; we were concerned they would lead to solutions which favoured meeting short-term targets over delivering longer-lasting cultural change.

Instead we have focused on delivering our aspiration of gender balance by driving it from the top, we have also sought to ensure diversity and inclusion policies are actively promoted right across our business, so that they become normal working culture in every part and at every level of TSB.

The ways in which we have sought to achieve this include:

Responsibility at the highest level
A member of TSB's Business Executive is responsible for gender balance at TSB. By making gender balance a priority at the highest level, negative patterns and behaviours, and potential remedies to address them, are considered by those who are best able to address them effectively. The TSB Gender Executive Sponsor receives information regularly on TSB's performance on gender, and the rationale for various trends, across a number of different measures; these are frequently reported on and discussed them with the whole Business Executive.  

Policies that deliver a sustainable long-lasting gender balance culture
We allow our Partners, from branch to head office, the opportunity of flexible working. We believe that fairness of treatment for all genders is imperative, which is why we have implemented our own Shared Parental Leave policy along with a Paternity Leave policy.

Practical support directed at key junctures
The TSB Promotion Ready Programme aims to provide the needed uplift to employees who are ready to take on a more senior role, the initiative was borne out of the Diversity and Inclusion Programme to increase the number of women going through TSB's talent pipeline.  But as the number of female senior managers across TSB has increased and we learnt more about the different issues men and/or women struggle with when striving for a more senior role, we also decided to roll out the programme to all genders and Partners from across the business.

Gender balanced recruitment procedures

When using external recruitment agencies, if not presented with a gender balanced shortlist, TSB seeks clarification and may ask that the shortlist be reviewed.

What the result is

When it comes to metrics, TSB has achieved a leading position with broad gender representation across our business, from the very top:

• 33% of our Board is female
• 38% of our executive team are female
• 33% of our top 150 Partners / employees are female
• 51% of our managers are female

We are proud of our performance in this area but we do not believe data alone tells the full story on how gender balanced a business is, nor will simply building on these metrics achieve sustainable, long-lasting gender-balance in financial services.

We note the improving landscape on gender equality as highlighted in Lord Davies' recent report on the issue. We believe however that more still needs to be done to achieve genuine long-lasting cultural change in the sector.

By making inclusion and diversity part of the everyday working environment at TSB, driven forward by clear Business Executive responsibility, we are building a bank which lives and breathes gender balance in the long-term.

Of course we don't believe our job is complete and we are working hard to deliver more at TSB in 2016 and beyond. We believe that if every financial services firm was committed to a sustainable, long-lasting gender balanced culture then this would lead to a marketplace whereby companies compete on their commitment to diversity and in turn behaviours in the sector would change for the long-term.

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