Increasing Staff Effectiveness by Staff and Managers Work Planning

MyWeek is a structured model week for the branch network as part of the colleague development programme for Community Bankers (formally known as Personal Bankers). The model’s main aim was to create a common set of unique activities for frontline colleagues (c10,000) and leadership roles (c2,500). The activities would support a colleague development journey and would be aligned to business priorities / objectives.   To support the model’s objectives a weekly planning tool was created to provide leaders with instant insight into the amount of time spent on each activity (by individual colleague or team). 

The insight would encourage more in-depth and developmental conversations around how effective colleagues and leaders are with their inputs, as opposed to concentrating on output metrics. 

MyWeek aims to be a visual aide to support leaders to achieve their business plan objectives (a visual link between what you set in your plan and to what actually happens). These objectives will vary per team in order to take into account of local planning (as opposed to one size fits all). MyWeek won a People Analytics and Planning Society Award.

“It’s rare to have a project land so strongly across the business right from the start. I saw it in action during my visit to Watford High Street branch on Tuesday. Far from restricting colleagues in what they do, MyWeek is giving them a greater ability to develop and achieve a work/ life balance."-April 2015.

Raymond Pettitt 

MD, Community Banking, Barclays.

What was the rationale?

Traditional branch-based banking has changed over recent years, with the rapid evolution in technology. Customers now have many options when it comes to opting how they want to do business with us, which has resulted in an on-going reduction in “transactional type” footfall. 
It has created a clear path for more favourable and cost effective digital solutions (such as Barclays Mobile Banking). This popular choice has been driven by a need (and demand) for speed, convenience and flexibility for our customers.

Therefore, with this change in demand, our traditional “Personal Banking” (via Community Bankers) needed to evolve in line with changing customer requirements.  In order to do this we would need to create a common set of activities (aligned to business priorities) that would create a consistent structure and clarity for our colleagues.

In order to have a positive impact on our customers, the model needed to fit with our Workforce Operating Model. This model utilises a Resource Leadership Tool that provides our leaders with historic and predictive insight that allows you to plan in resource i.e. having the right people in the right place, doing the right thing at the right time.  It was also important that the model was flexible to allow for changes in activities, to align with future business priorities.

A second objective esd to improve how colleagues and teams are supported to plan their time. To do this we would need to create insight around how much time we spend on each activity and the percentage spilt versus other priorities.  This aim originated from our “Colleague” stakeholder sessions where a key ask was identified  to provide a tool that would help  achieve their objectives by providing allocated time slots across their working week for the balanced objectives within their PD (Performance Development appraisal document).

What was the methodology?

We initially obtained “Finalta insight” to help us better understand what activities our Community Bankers were carrying out on a daily basis. Over 9,700 surveys were completed by our Community Bankers detailing what they do on a daily basis and how long each activity takes. This insight was then compared externally, so we had a guide to what our colleagues spend their time doing versus our competitors (like for like roles).

The Finalta report helped us to conclude that by having a consistent operating framework it would help provide our colleagues with clarity around their role purpose and thus reduce the potential for conduct risk.

In order to test our desired approach a pilot was initiated a six month period across four Barclays branches in the UK; Liverpool, Cheltenham, Birmingham & Redditch.  The results were analysed by comparing them to the Finalta insight to see if our colleagues were progressing in the direction we expected.  The report made it clear that there was plenty of opportunity to support our Community Bankers in carrying out key role deliverables (and help remove some non-value adding blockers).

The pilot then moved to the Eastern regional test to build on the learning from the first phase, plus further to engage colleagues on how it would add value. The project itself did not have any formal project manager so Chris Woodhead; Rob Smith and Alan Hancock took the lead across the differing requirements. Supported was provided by a Six Sigma Black belt, Andy Coles, to act as a tollgate for each phase.

A selection of steps included:

·         Stakeholder meetings with frontline colleagues, to understand challenges and opportunities.

·         Senior stakeholder meetings to validate key business priorities (Steering Committee).

·         Meeting with HR representatives to align with colleague development programme.

·         Stakeholder sessions with Regional Performance Directors & Coaches to validate feedback on challenges (based on time being a major blocker within their roles).

·         Meeting with Resource Planning, to align project objectives with Workforce Optimisation Model (to avoid a segmented progress).

·         Selection & sign off of Branches & Region for the pilot by stakeholders.

·         Build launch materials (FAQs / leaders guide / videos).

·         Creation of pilot version Weekly Planning Tool by role type (in excel) for key activity insight.

·         Launch event for Branch leaders / colleagues.

Engaging stakeholders

Over 90 frontline colleagues were engaged (which included a mix of Leaders and colleagues working as Community Bankers).  Overall impact of the project would be on  about 10,000 Community Bankers and about 2500 Branch Leaders. This did not start these sessions by showcasing “MyWeek” but instead asked the colleagues a few key questions:

What do you like about your role as a Community Banker? Responses centred on the feel good factor of helping customers and it being a critical role within our branch network. It was also deemed to be a good grounding for career progression.

What do you not like about your role or what are the blockers that get in the way? A common response we received back was not having enough time on certain activities. Examples included feeling rushed in customer meetings, colleagues not available at the right times and not enough time for personal development.

How can we support you more with your role objectives? We were challenged around performance conversations needing to be more developmental, rather than being primarily on the output metrics. Colleagues felt that development on how to be more effective on achieving objectives was more motivational.

Feedback gained from the above sessions was sufficient for us to relay back to the senior stakeholders that there was a need to provide our colleagues with a framework that would help to address these key challenges.

Approval was gained by the Regional Directors for us to commence a pilot to help better understand its impact. This moved to a full regional test in the East, after we received strong verbatim feedback from our front-line leaders and colleagues around the positive impact on planning and organising.

How difficult was it to implement?

In terms of full national roll-out - Once we were clear on the purpose and benefits of MyWeek following the extended pilot, we agreed a simple process for implementation.
Agreement was obtained by our Change team that deployment could be done via existing Local Board Meetings (1.5 hours per session), so we did not impact the change schedule and have an adverse impact on colleagues.

The team built a launch pack, that included a Weekly Planning Tool (interim version was on excel), along with a Leaders Guide to help embed the principles / purpose. To keep launch communications consistent we obtained agreement from the National Performance Director to utilise three internal Regional Coaches to rollout the training across the remaining communities in the UK. We delivered a Train the Trainer session on all aspects of MyWeek, so we had three subject matter experts that could deliver the remaining 30 events.
At this point, there was a zero cost impact on the business, other than staff costs for the small team involved in its development.

In order to simplify the input process & automate the insight produced by the Weekly Planning Tool an integrated version of MyWeek within our Resource Planning Tool (used by our Branch Leaders) was developed. This would allow MyWeek to become more seamless in the way our colleagues operate and naturally link within our Workforce Model.

There were challenges in terms of the build being delayed (due to other functionality being released at the same time) and a challenge to keep all costs within a tight budget. This has been particularly difficult without the support of a Project Manager, but between three members of the team (Alan, Rob and James) we have a weekly structure to monitor progression of the build, update stakeholders and plan deployment of the automated tool.

Lessons were learnt

A key learning materialised at the end of the first pilot, that changed the project title from “Model Week” to “MyWeek” has helped with the final element of stakeholder engagement to obtain agreement to implementation.

During the first pilot, the leaders constantly asked for direction around what activity they should do and when should they do it. This showed signs of an outdated prescriptive culture where direction was prominent, rather than allowing empowerment to be the more primary approach when planning for their local business, market and customers. 

At that stage it was clear that Model Week would not work if there was too much direction around what to do and when. After all, the local leaders know their business far better than we do, so it’s important that we have principles around MyWeek, but they have the ability to tailor its fit to the business plan objectives.

The lesson we learnt was each Weekly Planner (per branch or role) is likely to be different and we shouldn’t enforce a one size fits all approach. We now had common activities which made a positive impact on communication, but we didn’t need to force each activity to take place at the same time. This has supported our empowerment journey.

What was the impact?

“It’s rare to have a project land so strongly across the business right from the start. I saw it in action during my visit to Watford High Street branch on Tuesday. Far from restricting colleagues in what they do, MyWeek is giving them a greater ability to develop and achieve a work/ life balance.

Raymond Pettitt.
MD, Community Banking, Barclays

The quote from our Managing Director validates that we made the right decision to change it from Model Week to MyWeek, as it is now being viewed as an enabler to help teams achieve their local business plan objectives, rather than as a control framework to restrict what you do and when you do it.

Although it is always fantastic to receive a quote referenced above from your MD unprompted, it was equally satisfying to hear that MyWeek was the most talked about initiative at a national colleague event in May 2015 that had over 400 colleagues attend. A few quotes from our Colleagues are detailed below:

Claire Acornley: “Thank you to Chris Woodhead today with strong plan ensuring the team were ready to serve and all in the right place at right time. Great resource planning and forward thinking with excellent use of MYWEEK to support critical hot spots. Really pleased”.

David Booth: “ MyWeek is really helping us to structure the week and allow individual members of staff to really own their activities. The percentage of time being spent in key areas really helps the focus”.
The tool provides us with valuable insight that can be used to help us better understand the activities of our frontline colleagues and hence then allow us to drive appropriate controls to protect us against any potential conduct risk if required. The insight scale of individual to regional level shows the depth that we can now observe.  To have achieved a National Rollout across over 2500 Leaders & 10,000 colleagues with a small resource and budget is something that we are very proud of.

The purpose and benefits of MyWeek have now become very clear:

·         It is a tool that will help you achieve the objectives set out within your Business Plan. 

·         It acts as a visual aide to both leaders and colleagues to help connect the Business Plan objectives with what you actually set out to do. 

·         It provides insight to allow you to have a conversation around inputs rather than outputs.

·         It helps you evaluate how effective and efficient you and your team are with certain activities.

·         The insight can be aggregated by role type and can be split by branch, community, regional and national level.

·         It helps understand if a role type is doing what the role profile states.

·         It will help you identify the blockers that prevent you from doing key value add activities, which can then be addressed by Process Improvement techniques (six sigma).

Finally, a key aspect of the project was to support the delivery of objectives set within a local Business Plan. A strong example of this has been demonstrated across “The East Region”, where a clear priority in planning your “Banking Hall support” was set by leaders. This was all about colleagues being there for customers at the right time, which has resulted in a solid uplift in their Net Promoter score. By managing the workforce through a consistent tool the MD for Region has praised the MyWeek structure which has helped to move NPS from +38 to +44 in the previous two quarters and is currently at +45 for this quarter. With surveys totalling over 26,000 for this year alone, this shows solid progression.

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