Barclays - a Family Friendly company
We are thrilled to be joining the Mumsnet Family Friendly programme. We have worked with Mumsnet for over two years now to bring together family finance tips and ideas and business support, and joining this programme is a great next step.
Across the Barclays organisation, we strive to be family friendly, from our high street branches to products and services that reflect the needs of families in the UK today. We have an ongoing commitment to listening to our customers and using the amazing insights and ideas we get from you to help shape the products and services we deliver – from mortgages to mobile apps.
We also employ around 30,000 people within our Retail and Business Bank in the UK alone, and we know how important it is that we are flexible to their needs, whether that's working hours, job-sharing or the many other diverse challenges they face.
The Family Friendly team are in the process of talking to lots of our colleagues about the measures in place at Barclays, as well as sending mystery shoppers into our high street branches to carry out surveys, so we can find out from you how Family Friendly you think Barclays is.
While they're doing that, Catherine Muirden, Human Resources Director for Early Careers at Barclays, gave us a rundown of what's currently happening to make sure we're family friendly, inside and out:
Our aim is to provide information and support to working families and to parents. We have networks for various groups of people within Barclays, including one for working families and carers. We take a very holistic approach, providing support for many groups, including those caring for elderly parents or those dealing with disabilities within their families
We have policies in place to allow flexibility for colleagues so that they can balance their personal and professional commitments. This can include part-time working; term-time working; compressed weeks, meaning five days in four; and secondments, depending on the needs of the individual. We recently organised for a colleague to share her maternity leave with her husband, which is fairly rare but we hope will become more mainstream. We have also worked to create flexibility through technology, so people are able to work remotely, whether that's on iPads or laptops, provided by Barclays.
We're working to create a job-share register for women returning to work after maternity leave, as well as ensuring measures are in place to help women return to work with confidence, such as Talking Talent, who coach maternity returners and Capability Jane, who specialise in job share returners.
For parents and guardians we also have policies to help throughout family life – from support during fertility treatment to maternity and paternity leave or caring for relatives – and we take a completely inclusive approach with this support for same-sex and blended families.
Of course, it's no good if no one knows the support is there! All our policies and support information is available online for colleagues and we have stated our commitment to supporting family life for colleagues, communities and customers. And we ensure that line management are aware and able to explain the policies in place for their teams, which includes any support they need in communicating sensitive issues or messages.
Employee networks are an important part of what we do – they range from the Women's Initiative Network (WIN) to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) networks to Carer support networks. These networks provide much valued insight and feedback to continuously review and update policies – for example our disability network, named Reach, has recently been reviewing the support we provide for unseen disabilities.
We weave an inclusive approach into everything we do – there is no such thing as a typical colleague or customer.
Addressing family and societal issues is also very important to us, whether it is through award winning products, like our 2013 'What Mortgage' award winning Family Springboard mortgage or our employment policies, for example our innovative and extensive apprenticeship scheme.
In the last year we've employed over 1,000 young people who had little chance of full-time employment otherwise. So far, they have bowled us over with their commitment and enthusiasm. In May, we saw the first 8 apprentices reach their year graduation. It was a real achievement and a great day for family and carers to come and celebrate, along with Antony Jenkins, our CEO, who came along to celebrate. We were asked to host National Apprenticeship Week this year, with events up and down the country for people to hear about the opportunities in this area. We're spreading the message and getting other organisations involved.
We keep customers front of mind, whenever we develop a new product or service, and that includes their families' needs. Whether it's a service, like Barclays Pingit or Mobile Banking, which are designed to save you time when you're doing your everyday banking chores, or a programme like LifeSkills. Barclays are working with lots of organisations, including Mumsnet, to meet the ambitious aims of LifeSkills – to help get 1 million young people ready for work by 2015. This programme focuses on the value of work placements and skills training to give young people the skills they need for the world of work, and it's open to young people all over the UK”
When it comes to building a family friendly bank for the UK, we spend lots of our time listening to customers about how we can keep improving on what we've achieved so far – whether that's developing new products or running competitions like last year's Barclays Mini Masterpiece Competition.
We're really excited to get all the results of the Family Friendly Review, but until then, look out for more ways you can let us know your thoughts coming up soon!