Member Since: 2nd Mar 2010
Having worked in HR for over 10yrs, I have recently established my own HR Consultancy under the trade name Instant HR. I am also working on developing some HR software aimed at the SME sector.
HR Business Partner Easier HR
24th Sep 2012
I'll say something controversial here, and as much for debate as its a fresh idea I've had (i.e. critique, but no trolling please). From the article above you make it clear that the bias is not directly against women, but against those who take time off for primary childcare responsibilities. Culturally this primarily means women within the UK (in China it would often mean the grandparents - China incidentally has also had a large impact on equality thought to come through various theories connected to the one child policy).
Whilst employers clearly have a responsibility to remove barriers to achievement, a man who faces being primary childcare responsibilities might have the same setbacks as a woman (time out the workplace, unable to put it long hours etc...). If we want to achieve a greater gender balance in the workplace, could this be arguably achieved by encouraging our national culture to be one where men are as likely to take time off for primary childcare responsibilities?
I accept this would be harder to achieve, but most children are born to 2 mixed [***] parents, and these parents collectively make a decision who should be the primary childcarer. The impact is then felt by work. Change this, and suddenly who can do the long hours to make the board promotion will change. It nicely sidesteps resentment by people without children, it also accepts the pragmatic view that to get to a board position regardless of [***] often requires hard work and long hours (I'm not saying this is ideal, but realistically I've rarely met someone senior in their career who hasn't put in a lot of time to get good).
Of course one challenge to the above, is whilst culturally women in the UK are more likely to marry older men, older people are more likely to have greater earnings, therefore when they make their decision as to who should take primary childcare responsibilities, with money usually being a factor, again the woman will be selected. I hope its an interesting concept though.
10th Jul 2012
Thanks for that, I understand where you're coming from now. I can see where Hector Sants is coming from on that, but the idea that the FSA can regulate and determine the scorecard for remuneration just doesn't work. If a car manufacturer was told its performance metrics by the government, we'd all consider it ridiculous. So whilst I agree on customer service featuring, the FSA should not have a say (I do however agree on regulating the amount of bonus that can be paid in cash, but that is not about the scorecard, merely the long-term profit incentives vs revenue incentives, which again only came about because the investment banks failed to get that right).
Personally I consider the FSA is relatively impotent, and Hector Sants is just deflecting the incompetence of the organisation (one of the jobs of all the regulators was to stop financial crashes, so none can claim they succeeded). His focus on customer service is missing the key issue that the Banks are in an oligopoly and they are too big to fail. If the market was competitve, some banks would use customer service as a way of winning business (Metro Bank is trying to do this).
As for connections from the retail side and the investment side of Banking, the concept is like trying to stop Tesco's influence on its suppliers by improving times at the checkout. The two are not related. Until relatively recently retail banks and investment banks were separated and both profitable in this way, so they can clearly work independently of each other.
The reality is that Hector Sants is playing with the edges, where we need somoeone to get stuck in and change things for the better from a wholesale perspective. Its not happening because the Banks have put so much much money into "lobbying" that its a disincentive to change the industry. If a developing country had an industry that "lobbied" the government with £92m then it would be considered bribery and corruption. Here it is apparently legitimate business. See this link: www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jul/09/finance-industry-lobbying-budget-revealed
The Customer Service angle is needed, but as a private sector management decision (sometimes customer service is bad, because its expensive vis-a-vis Ryan Air posting better growth than British Airways).
In an HR perspective, our job is to support managers in managing low performing bankers and ensuring that the good ones get the remuneration (they are generally worth the money).
9th Jul 2012
Your article is clearly well researched, but there seems to be a lot of mixing between retail banking and other types of banking (mainly investment banking). The customer service issue at RBS is in retail Banking, which largely speaking is an industry that works. Barclays executives are not resigning over retail banking, its activities in the investment banking side that has caused the problems. Also, retail banking doesn't pay "fatcat salaries", that is investment banking.
Your title meant the banking crisis. If you are referring to the RBS glitch as a crisis, then fair enough (which is a serious glitch, but not economy threatening); but if you are referring to the broader Banking Crisis, I haven't anyone link that to customer service. Sorry for being the pedant, but I just wanted to clarify it as I think the differences are important.
I do totally agree the retail sector should link remuneration to pay if it wants long-term growth. Sales targets can be useful for when you need to push up short-term growth (there is a place for both, such as when a Company needs more cash).