Focused on our employees

Our employees are our key asset. Their skills, expertise and enthusiasm are fundamental to achieving our strategic goals, and throughout 2019 we have continued to invest in training, development and employee engagement activities in order to make OSB an even better place to work.

In the latter part of the year, a central focus was on the Combination with CCFS. We strived to ensure a joined-up approach in terms of proactive employee communications in order to ensure that our employees in all sites were kept up to date with how the Combination progressed, and that messages were consistent. Employees also had the opportunity to raise questions with the CEO anonymously and responses to those questions were published centrally for all employees to view.

Recruitment

OSB has dedicated Talent Acquisition Teams in place in both the UK and India. Recruitment specialists partner with hiring managers in all departments and provide bespoke support in attracting high quality candidates for vacant positions and, through robust selection processes, assist them to make strong selection decisions.

We advertise vacancies internally on a weekly basis in order to provide career development opportunities for existing employees. In 2019, we filled 22% of UK OSB vacancies (47 out of 217), 5% of vacant positions in India (11 of 210) and 56% of vacancies in CCFS (72 of 127) with internal candidates during the year.

A key focus for our Talent Acquisition Teams was again placed on proactively identifying potential candidates directly and through improved use of the OSB internet and external job boards. Our UK Talent Acquisition Team filled 20% of roles on a direct recruitment basis, resulting in a saving in excess of £280,000 on agency recruitment fees. Within OSBI, almost 50% of vacancies closed in 2019 were by way of direct recruitment activities.

We will expand our Talent Acquisition Team approach within CCFS in 2020, in order to ensure that hiring managers in Wolverhampton can utilise local, dedicated and specialist recruitment support.

Our recruitment procedures are fair and inclusive, with shortlisting, interviewing and selection always carried out without regard to gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, colour, race, caste, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, age, pregnancy or maternity leave or trade union membership.

No candidate with a disability is excluded unless it is clear that the candidate is unable to perform a duty that is intrinsic to the role, having taken into account reasonable adjustments. Reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process are made to ensure that no applicant is disadvantaged because of their disability and questions asked during the process are not discriminatory or unnecessarily intrusive.

In 2019, OSB welcomed 156 new UK employees with a further 142 joining OSBIndia. CCFS saw 128 new employees, which at the end of the year resulted in our Group-wide employee base expanding to a total of 1,834.

Both CCFS and OSB operate successful referral schemes with CCFS’ Recommend a Friend Scheme resulting in the recruitment of 12 new employees in 2019. Within OSB, 22 vacant UK positions were filled during the year as a result of the Employee Referral Scheme, with a further 32 vacancies filled as a result of the Employee Referral Scheme in OSBI.

Training and development

The OSB People Development Team, based in both the UK and India, concentrates on providing learning and development opportunities for all employees, using a mix of internal and externally-sourced content, which are delivered through a range of media, including workshop and digital formats.

A key focus throughout 2019 was the implementation of OSB’s Fit to Practice Scheme, which requires line managers to play a more proactive role in identifying development needs, providing developmental feedback and establishing appropriate activities to continually progress competence levels of their direct reports.

Within CCFS, the approach regarding training and competence requirements is managed on a departmental basis and, as such, there is an opportunity for us to establish a consistent and Group-wide approach throughout 2020.

In 2019, we provided a wide range of workshops, including bespoke management development programmes, regulatory training and business change content to support operational and systemic training needs. There were 354 separate workshops or learning events delivered by the People Development Team in the UK and over 100 other separate learning events attended by OSB staff that were either delivered at external events or delivered internally by external training providers.

Within OSBI, we concentrate on making all those who join the Group feel as welcome as possible. We provide as much training as necessary to enable employees to perform to their best ability. In 2019, new employees were provided with an average of 108 hours of training before starting their role and in addition to this, there was significant focus placed on establishing consistency with workshops and content that is being delivered by the UK People Development Team. During 2019, we delivered 187 workshops at OSBI.

During 2019, the Learning and Development Team at CCFS increased the amount of training they deliver, with the number of learning hours per full time employee increasing from 40 in 2018 to 45 in 2019. Over 200 sessions were run by the CCFS team.

OSB saw 99% of monthly mandatory regulatory training completed within the monthly deadlines, which shows the importance we place on ensuring that our employees are suitably aware of key requirements. Mandatory training is similarly taken seriously at CCFS, where 98.6% of all training was completed by the end of 2019.

The Group is also committed to supporting employees undertaking professional development and, in 2019, 19 OSB employees received financial support to pursue professional qualifications, with a further six being financially supported by CCFS.

Under OSB’s UK Apprenticeship Scheme, at the end of 2019, we had six apprentices working within a number of different functions throughout the business. With each individual apprenticeship arrangement running for two years, we remain positive that this will lead to a number of permanent appointments and ongoing careers within the Group.

Retention and progression

The Group has a genuine desire to retain, support and develop its employee base. During 2019, 87 UK OSB employees, 43 employees in OSBI and 76 CCFS employees were formally promoted to a more senior grade.

Our Group-wide regretted attrition rate for 2019 was 11%, made up of an OSB UK rate of 10%, a rate of 7% in CCFS and 16% in OSBI, all below industry averages. In addition to this, we achieved a low rate of non-regretted attrition, which on a Group-wide basis was 5%.

In 2019, OSB again identified Primary Talent Groups in both the UK and India, which were provided a range of talent management activities, in order to aid their ongoing progression. Activities included: access to a Board, Executive or senior mentor, career development interviews, psychometric profiling and related coaching and bespoke off-site group leadership workshops delivered via an external Business School or specialist. The Group considers this initiative as an integral part of retaining and developing our emerging talent, either as technical specialists or as potential leaders of the future.

Within CCFS, the approach to talent management in 2019 saw a continued focus on future leadership through its Aspiring and New Line Manager programmes. The first is aimed at staff members who aspire to become a manager in the near future, and was designed to allow the employee to deepen their understanding of the knowledge, skills and attitude required in a managerial or supervisory role. The second programme is for new line managers and was developed to equip CCFS line managers and supervisors with the tools to develop and grow their leadership and management capabilities. It consists of ten core modules, which make up the essential elements of the programme, with an optional nine modules which can be completed thereafter.

Remuneration and benefits

We believe in rewarding our employees fairly and transparently, enabling them to share in the success of the business. Details of the Group’s remuneration policies can be found in the Remuneration Report on page 131.

We offer our employees a comprehensive range of benefits, and continue to review these to ensure they are in line with market practice.

Whilst there are some differences within the standard benefits packages provided by OSB and CCFS, we will be undertaking a detailed Group-wide review during 2020 in order to establish how these approaches can be harmonised.

In 2019, key additions to OSB benefits included the provision of a fully-funded Medical Cash Plan for all employees and the opportunity to sacrifice part of annual bonuses directly into the pension plan.

Enhancements made during 2019 to the CCFS benefits package included the introduction of flexible and voluntary benefits which included the following: Health Cash Plan, Health Screening, Cycle to Work Scheme, Car Leasing Scheme, Holiday Trading Scheme and a Retail, Health and Wellbeing Discount Scheme.

We also encourage our employees to hold shares in the Bank for the long term, via an annual ShareSave Scheme. These schemes are open to all UK-based employees and allow them to save a fixed amount of between £5 and £500 per month over either three or five years in order to use these savings at the end of the qualifying period to buy OSB shares at a fixed option price. At the current time, around 58% of OSB employees and 68% of CCFS employees are members of one of our ShareSave Schemes.

Redundancy and redeployment

There is a Group-wide Redundancy and Redeployment policy designed to ensure that, ahead of any potential redundancy, we take all reasonable steps to identify feasible alternatives that meet the needs of the business. If a redundancy situation is unavoidable, employees would be given maximum warning possible, support to seek alternative positions, priority for retraining, counselling if required and support to seek alternative employment. The Board has safeguarded the existing contractual and statutory rights of OSB and CCFS employees and for a period following completion of the Combination, the Group amended redundancy policies to provide enhanced payments.

Employee engagement and culture

In October 2019, for the fifth consecutive year, OSB’s UK employees were invited to participate in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For employee engagement survey, and almost 90% of employees submitted a response.

We achieved an overall score increase of 2.3% and, for the first time, OSB achieved a Two Star Accreditation Rating, signifying outstanding levels of workplace engagement. The continuous improvement in employee engagement saw OSB included within The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list for the second time. The improved results were primarily achieved as a result of the creation and implementation of Culture and Engagement Plans within all departments and the broader identification and implementation of initiatives by the Engagement Steering Group.

Whilst CCFS did not participate in the Best Companies to Work For survey as a result of the Combination, it was placed in the Top 20 of the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For list of 2019, the fourth consecutive year that CCFS achieved Top 20 status.

Our participation in the next Best Companies to Work For survey will be on a Group-wide basis, including all UK employees within both OSB and CCFS.

In June 2019, OSB employees in both the UK and India also took part in the annual Banking Standards Board survey for the third consecutive year, which aims to influence positive change throughout the banking sector. This saw another extremely high overall participation rate of 76% and provided an insight into employees’ perceptions of the application of the Group’s values, potential barriers to challenge and to speak up along with their observations of unethical or inappropriate behaviour. The results showed an increase in the majority of the nine separate survey categories, with the average category score increasing by 1.4% compared with the 2018 results, giving OSB an average ranking of 14 out of the 29 banks who participated in the survey. When the 2020 Banking Standards Board Survey is undertaken, we will also be inviting all CCFS employees to participate for the first time.

OSBI participates in a separate employee engagement survey, run by the Great Place to Work Institute, and has been officially certified as a ‘Great Place to Work’ for the third year in succession, with strong results in all five survey categories (credibility of management, respect for people, fairness at the workplace, pride and camaraderie between people). The highest score related to the Pride category, reflecting the strong brand and culture that exists throughout the teams in Bangalore.

In 2018, OSB partnered with specialist external consultants to design and launch the Group’s Mission, Vision, Values and the supporting behaviours and in 2019 we focused on embedding these throughout the business, and weaving them into our cultural DNA through an ongoing programme of related communications and pulse surveys.

OSB’s four values (Stronger Together, Aim High, Take Ownership and Create Your Future) were implemented into Group-wide processes, including goal setting, appraisals, and interview and selection. To support this further, around 80 senior managers and the same number of line managers attended workshops focusing on truly embedding our values and progressing towards the achievement of our Mission and Vision. In addition, we launched a separate and extensive programme of communications to introduce all staff to our different types of customers, who are at the heart of our Mission and Vision statements.

Our proactive approach in driving organisation culture and the associated efforts in the design of our Mission, Vision, Values and supporting behaviours saw OSB listed as finalists at the 2019 Business Culture Awards in two separate categories: (a) Best Employer Brand and Values Initiative for Business Culture and (b) Best Medium-Sized Organisation for Business Culture. We were delighted that our work in the design and implementation of our Mission, Vision and Values was further recognised at the Business Culture Awards ceremony when we achieved the runner-up award in both categories.

CCFS has five established principles that act as organisational values (Respect, Excellence, Attention, Challenge and Honesty) which are already embedded within its performance appraisal processes. A key challenge for 2020 will relate to establishing a harmonised approach to Mission, Vision and Values that will enable us to further build on the cultural progression that has been achieved to date in both OSB and CCFS.

2019 also saw the inception of OSB’s Workforce Advisory Forum (‘OneVoice’), which aims to improve the level of engagement that OSB’s Board has with the wider workforce. In addition to rotating Non-Executive Directors and Group Executive Committee members, the forum is attended by employees who have nominated themselves to represent the employees within their respective department or office location.

Within CCFS, the Employee Representative Committee, which met four times in 2019, includes representatives from all parts of the business who meet with senior management teams to raise any concerns they may have and provide input.

The Group operates a Whistleblowing policy, championed by the Chair of the Group Audit Committee. We encourage employees to feel confident in raising serious concerns at the earliest opportunity, and provide avenues to raise concerns confidentially, protected from possible reprisals. Regular reports are provided to the Group Audit Committee, including an annual report, which is also presented to the Board.

Employee recognition and awards

In 2019, OSB recognised the significant tenure of 51 employees who reached a five, ten, 15 or 20-year milestone of employment with the Group via our Long Service Award programme. There were two employees who reached 20 years’ service and our longest-serving employee now has over 32 years’ service. CCFS commenced trading in 2008 and in 2019 was able to provide 10 Year Service Awards to eight employees and 5 Year Service Awards to a further 53 individuals.

Every quarter, OSB employees are invited to nominate their colleagues as part of our OneTeam Award programme, which aligns with OSB’s four values. Throughout 2019, we received over 400 nominations from which 29 individuals and teams were awarded. CCFS continues to recognise those employees who consistently demonstrate our values and behaviours and two employees each quarter are recognised as Charter Champions. The expertise of our employees was also acknowledged within the mortgage industry during 2019 with Alison Drysdale winning Underwriter of the Year at the British Specialist Lending Awards.

Health and safety

The Board recognises the importance of health and safety and takes responsibility for it within the Group. We have a duty of care to all of our employees and customers, and a safe and healthy work environment is paramount. We are committed to fostering and maintaining a working environment in which our employees can flourish, and our customers can safely transact with us. We operate a Health and Safety policy and we review our employee and customer environment regularly.

Annual mandatory health and safety training is completed by all Group employees. In 2019, we undertook a full review of OSB’s real estate. The review demonstrated that all sites are compliant with statutory health and safety regulations and provided us with additional best practice improvements and recommendations which will be implemented in the future.

Diversity and inclusion

We recognise the benefits that diversity of our people brings to the business and we actively promote and encourage a culture and environment which values and celebrates our differences. In 2019, we continued our journey to become a truly diverse and inclusive organisation, which is committed to providing equal opportunities through the recruitment, training and development of our employees.

The commitment to actively promote an environment where disabled candidates and employees are welcomed was again an area of focus. In line with OSB’s Disability Confident Employer (Level Two) status, we are proud to have a number of employees who are registered as disabled.

CCFS has already achieved Disability Confident Committed status and we’ll be working towards increasing this to Level Two status in the future.

CCFS is a signatory of the MIND ‘Pledge to Change’ and we are committed to reducing the stigma of mental health within the workplace. All CCFS managers undergo training aimed at preventing discrimination and promoting good mental health throughout our business. This training programme is delivered with the support of ‘Mental Health First Aid England’ and the programme is accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health.

Within OSB, there has been a significant focus on supporting mental health via the provision of Mindfulness Workshops which were delivered in a number of different office locations throughout the year.

CCFS’ Wolverhampton offices are in the heart of the West Midlands and boast a richly diverse local community that is reflected in the diversity of our people. As a Group, we value and celebrate diversity by hosting theme days on key festival dates such as Eid, Diwali, Vaisakhi and Easter.

OSB published its 2019 Gender Pay Gap Report in line with legislation that applies to all UK companies with more than 250 employees. 

OSB’s median gender pay gap as at the snapshot date of 5 April 2019 was 37.6%, with the mean gap at 43.1%, these figures reduced from the 2018 reported figures of 44.0% and 45.5%, respectively.

CCFS’ median gender pay gap as at the snapshot date of 5 April 2019 was 17.8%, with the mean gap at 49.8%, these figures reduced from the 2018 reported figures of 19.5% and 52.2% respectively.

Whilst it is pleasing to see progression across the Group, we are committed to reducing these gaps further. Fundamentally, in both OSB and CCFS, the gaps relate to the structure of our workforce and reflect the fact that we have more men than women in senior roles and more female employees undertaking clerical roles. Progress has been made to positively impact both aspects of our workforce structure, and we remain confident that our gaps will continue to close.

We recognise that we need to focus on improving our gender balance and have made solid progress towards the commitments that OSB and CCFS have made as signatories of HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter. Both OSB and CCFS committed to a target of 30% of senior management positions being undertaken by female employees, with OSB’s target date being the end of 2020 and CCFS by the end of 2022.

Solid progress was made towards these commitments throughout 2019, with OSB increasing from 28% at the end of 2018 and closing the year on 31%.

In 2020 we will be reporting our Women in Finance Charter progress on a joint basis, maintaining an overall target of 30% by the end of 2020, at which point a new ongoing target will be established.

In 2019, OSB’s Women’s Networking Forum, which is focused on helping to identify and break down the barriers that prevent women from progressing within financial services, continued to develop both its membership and range of activities. It provided regular opportunities for individuals to participate in relevant discussions, listen to and engage with guest speakers and undertake bespoke development activities to support and encourage career progression.

CCFS formed a Diversity and Inclusion Working Group in July 2019, comprised of 14 members, who introduced themselves to the business during National Inclusion Week. To date, they have coordinated a mental health quiz, undertaken sign language sessions and engaged with a local charity to deliver a thought-provoking training session, challenging managers to think ‘how fair are they?’.

CCFS is also engaged with Stonewall and became a diversity champion employer, ensuring that we do even more to ensure that our LGBT employees (and future hires) recognise CCFS as an inclusive employer of choice. Additionally, CCFS became a member of The Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (ENEI), the UK’s leading employer network covering all aspects of equality and inclusion issues in the workplace.

At the end of 2019, over 56% of our UK OSB workforce was female, as was 59% of the CCFS employee base, and within OSBIndia females constitute 41% of all staff. Currently, 15% of our Group Executive Committee and 45% of our Board are female, placing us 12th in the Financial Services Sector of the November 2019 Hampton-Alexander Review of the FTSE 250.

We have both Flexible Working and Homeworking policies in place to provide increased support to our staff who have parental and/or carer responsibilities. Within CCFS, we have around 18% of employees working under a formal flexible working arrangement relating to reduced or compressed working hours. Within OSB, around 10% of our UK employees work part-time hours with a further 11 individuals working a compressed working week.

  Male Female
Number of Board of Directors 9 5
Number of Directors of subsidiaries 19 3
Number of senior managers (not directors) 98 44
All other employees1 763 929

 

Human rights

We want each member of our workforce and other stakeholders to be treated with dignity and respect. OSB endorses the UN Declaration of Human Rights and supports the UN Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights. The Group adheres to the International Labour Organisation Fundamental Conventions. We seek to engage with stakeholders with fairness, dignity and respect. The Group does not tolerate child labour or forced labour. OSB respects freedom of association and the rights of employees to be represented by trade unions or works councils. The Group is a fair employer and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, religion, age, caste, disability or ethnicity. Our policy applies throughout the Group and is communicated to our employees during induction training.

The Group’s third annual statement under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 was published on our website in June 2019. Over the year, no instances of modern slavery were reported and we continue to ensure all relevant employment policies have direct consideration to the risk of modern slavery. These policies include Recruitment and Selection and Diversity and Inclusion.

CCFS has zero tolerance for slavery and human trafficking and, in line with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, takes active steps to identify and combat slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains. In 2019, CCFS continued work to identify and assess potential risk areas in its supply chains, grading the risks as ‘high’ or ‘low’ based on criteria and factors we have determined to be relevant in the assessment of the risks. Enhanced due diligence is undertaken on suppliers considered to be high risk and anti-modern slavery provisions are incorporated into our contracts with suppliers.

OSB and CCFS have an Anti-Bribery policy, reviewed annually and approved by the Group Audit Committee. It will not accept or condone any behaviour connected with accepting, requesting or offering any bribe or inducement in return for providing a favour.

OSB and CCFS do not consider themselves to be at a high risk of bribery; they conduct all of their business in the UK and the only significant outsourcing arrangement is with a wholly-owned subsidiary of a UK Building Society in relation to CCFS’ deposit‑taking business.

In relation to the procurement of goods and services, the Anti-Bribery policy operates in conjunction with a number of other Group policies which are incorporated into the Conflicts of Interest policy, Modern Slavery Act Statement, and Vendor Management and Outsourcing policy.

All staff are required to complete an Anti-Bribery and Corruption Compliance Training module on induction and every other year afterwards. On an annual basis all staff have to acknowledge that they have read the Employee Handbook, which reminds them of the need to comply with the Anti-Bribery policy.

If an employee suspects that the Policy is being violated, they are required to immediately report this in accordance with the Group’s Internal Fraud policy and Response Plan or the Financial Crime reporting procedure as appropriate. The Group’s Whistleblowing policy and procedure is also available as an alternative reporting process, if for whatever reason, it is felt that the other procedures above are not appropriate.

OSBIndia

OSBIndia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Group. OSBI operates from an office in Bangalore and employs 490 employees, of which 41% are female. OSBI supports the Bank across various functions including Support Services, Operations, IT, Finance and Human Resources. We actively promote integration between our colleagues in the UK and India with frequent employee exchanges, transfers, overseas training, staff and management visits.

As part of the Group, OSBI falls under the same Group policies that are in force in the UK offices, most importantly, Equal Opportunities, Non-discrimination and Harassment, Whistleblowing, Information Security and Clear Desk policies. There are only very slight differences in the Group’s main HR policies due to local legislation.

OSBI is a holder of ISO 27001: 2013 certified, which demonstrates high standards of information security. To that end, the business continuity site in Hyderabad was opened and became fully operational in 2017. OSBI prides itself on excellence in customer service and the ISO 9001: 2015 certified is a testament to meeting customer and regulatory requirements by providing outstanding customer service.

In compliance with the Modern Slavery Act, we do not support excessive overtime and our employees in India are encouraged to work in accordance with local legislation. Employees in our Bangalore office enjoy a range of benefits which include 22 days of annual leave, 12 days’ sick leave and cafeteria services.

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Women in Finance Charter

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