TSB channels inspiring leadership to engage employees

TSB staff

TSB has built its employee engagement strategy on the values of directness, honesty and authenticity. Hari Miller, head of internal communications and community engagement, works closely with Paul Pester, TSB’s chief executive, to keep employees informed and engaged with the organisation.

TSB has seen some tumultuous times. It separated from Lloyds in 2013 and was effectively launched as a new high-street bank. The subsequent years have seen TSB subject to a failed merger with the Co-operative Bank, an initial public offering (IPO), and finally its acquisition by Banco de Sabadell in 2015.

With so much change happening, staff needed to be kept informed. Pester grasped the importance of engagement from the start. Miller says: “If [we] can keep an engaged and energised workforce, they will look after [our] customers and [we] will be profitable.”

Direct, regular communications were the starting point. “[Pester] was going to be a very visible face, he wasn’t going to hide behind layers of executive-dom,” says Miller.

He faithfully holds an open bi-weekly conference call to answer questions from staff. In between calls, Pester writes a blog or films a video blog, which is made available to employees. This is where authenticity comes in. “[Employers] have to be truly authentic in [their] message,” says Miller. “There is such a core of truth in everything [Pester] says that he was happy to stand up to it.”

TSB truly lives its values, too. “In many other banks, the bonus structure is skewed in favour of the leadership,” says Miller. “It is unfair, so we flattened them out completely.”

Finally, the organisation surveys employees regularly, with impressive response rates and high engagement scores. Miller is excited that TSB will be rolling out Office 365 across all its branches. “Things such as [Microsoft] Pulse surveys, which were difficult for us to run previously, will be much easier.”

The plan is to run more regular and focused surveys using Microsoft Pulse, so that TSB will be more in touch with its employees’ views than ever.