To write an anonymous letter to the Chief Executive

(20 Posts)
Bollywoodfan Wed 07-Oct-15 22:13:27

I have name changed as don't want to be recognised.

I work for a large financial organisation. I started working here 2 years ago, after being made redundant from another bank. When I first started it was a lovely place to work, but now things have gradually got worse and worse.

They first started making improvements in everything - IT systems, procedures, restructures etc. This was necessary as they were behind the times and the improvements have largely been good. Staff worked really hard and there was a lot of training and backlogs. Overtime was expected.

We are now out of backlogs and in a good position. But instead of being thanked, they are eroding all of our benefits hmm.

There is no longer any overtime, which is fine if there isn't enough work, but they are still paying contractors (temp staff) triple our wages! We are not paid the market rate, but they keep putting off 'benchmarking'. They have changed the holiday allocation so that only 1 person can be off in each team at a time - this makes it really difficult to get holidays. We can manage perfectly well with more people off and have done so in the past. We have been able to build up flex time for extra days off and they now want to stop this. You could take 6 flex days a year so this is a big benefit to lose. They have also changed the pensions so there is no longer a final salary pension scheme. Obviously long term staff are upset about this.

Morale is very very low. We feel unappreciated and like all our benefits are being taken away, whilst increasingly being more and more scrutinised on quality of work, targets, productivity...
I don't think all this will make the company better as staff are demoralised and no longer want to go the extra mile. Many people are talking about leaving.

We have meetings where senior exec level staff ask us to put forward opinions, but we can't as we are told by our team leaders beforehand that we must not say anything negative! Managers are scared to speak out or take things forward.

So would I BU to write an anonymous letter to the chief executive outlining how staff are feeling? I just don't think it is acceptable to treat staff this way when everyone is so committed and wants to do their best. They seem to have forgotten that if you treat people well, they will work better - which ultimately benefits the organisation!

wasonthelist Wed 07-Oct-15 22:40:38

I did this once. The main thing that prompted it was seeing members of staff at their desks in tears. The CEO did act - he got one of the directors to try to improve things.

The one thing I take issue with is the contractors complaint, but I would as I used to be a contractor at a financial institution -actually, more than one. Don't believe all the gossip about pay - and most banks have imposed several rounds of 10% rate cuts over the years since 2008. Imagine coming in and being told it's 10% cut, starting now, take it or walk - and contractors get no paid holiday or sick time - and have no employment protections.

MrsSparkles Wed 07-Oct-15 22:47:14

YNBU - do you have a whistleblowing policy? You may be able to use that which makes it more official, but I'm not sure if your case would fall under it?

edwinbear Wed 07-Oct-15 22:49:42

OP I empathise, really I do - I also work for a large UK financial organisation and it is exactly the same for us, and I believe every other bank out there. There has been a fundamental shift in the industry and with the extra capital banks have to put up and the huge increase in regulatory costs, extra compliance staff etc. I'm not sure what they can do.

MinecraftWonder Wed 07-Oct-15 23:01:07

You would not be unreasonable.

But you would be naiive to think it will do any good. Changes to holidays, flexi time, pensions - they would all have been agreed at the highest level, by a panel of big wigs.

One letter from one of the plebs on the lower rungs (which is how they will see you) will not change that, not in a huge organisation.

I also work for one of the big financial institutions, although I can tell it's not the same one - but we have experienced the same.

OutToGetYou Wed 07-Oct-15 23:01:32

This isn't a whistleblowing issue, whistleblowing is about breaches of law, or health and safety.

Write an anonymous letter if you like but don't expect much to change, banks are under a lot of pressure and their profits have not been good.

It would be better if you could bring a grievance, it's easier for the organisation to ignore something anonymous but there is legislation around grievances that they have to be investigated. You could encourage others to do the same or bring it as a group grievance (though group grievances are not protected by the legislation).

PigletJohn Wed 07-Oct-15 23:19:51

If the senior managers ask for opinions, and the team leaders warn you not to tell the truth, then I think the s/ms want (or think they want) to hear the truth.

If you are near the top of an organisation, there are layers and layers of people dedicated to hiding things from you.

You could always ask for a confidential interview.

It probably won't do any good though.

wasonthelist Wed 07-Oct-15 23:22:16

Write the letter - what have you got to lose? Tell them what you want though, don't just moan.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Thu 08-Oct-15 02:34:32

This sounds pretty standard tbh. Since the banking crisis financial companies are under more and more scrutiny from regulators and under more pressure financially so of course they cut staff benefits. I don't agree that its right (it's happened in the company I work for too), but they know that the majority of staff won't do more than grumble, that s few will leave but most are just glad to have a job. Again, Im not saying this is right.

Ywnbu to write the letter, just be careful not to out your team and don't expect anything to come of it. Staff morale is not a major concern sadly.

Mistigri Thu 08-Oct-15 06:27:41

This sounds familiar :-/ (I don't work in banking but for a large industrial company that formerly had a reputation for being a very good employer albeit not the best in terms of salaries).

Most of those changes will be driven from the top down, so apart from the impact on morale, which the board may not be aware of, I'm not sure what whistle you will be blowing?

I told my boss this week that there is no longer any incentive for me to do my job any more than just adequately enough not to get sacked. He sees my point of view but there is nothing he can do. There is a recruitment freeze except on IT jobs ... so production workers cannot be replaced ... and this is a company whose business is making things ~hollow laugh~ .

I own a big chunk of shares, and for the first time in 20 odd years I'm starting to think about selling them :-/

Trickydecision Thu 08-Oct-15 06:43:10

Are you in a union? Are they aware of the situation?

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 08-Oct-15 06:46:38

Sadly this is all very run of the mill stuff. Unless you speak up in meetings with senior management you won't be listened to, and I understand that takes guts.

Mistigri Thu 08-Oct-15 06:57:01

OP the only thing that I can suggest is that you and your colleagues DO speak up in meetings with senior staff. What if a few of you did it together (preferably those with the longest service/ most difficult to replace). I am the unofficial spokesperson for our team, because I don't care what senior management think of me - as long as they respect me professionally I don't need them to like me.

Though as it happens several of our senior managers agree with me that there is a problem, but their opinions don't carry much weight with the board.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Thu 08-Oct-15 06:57:06

You can do but Id be suprised if it makes any difference.

I work for the nhs and the did similar to us. Took away our final pension scheme, stopped paying for any overtime even if we're late off shift due to the ward been so busy. They've changed our shift times and now also only pay us for 7 hours per day but we used to get paid 7.5hrs. We're still there working for 7.5 hours. So now 2.5hrs for free every week!!

I know it's not a race to the bottom but when I moaned on MN a lot of people just said that that's what it's like in the private sector, nobody has final salary schemes, nobody gets paid overtime anymore, etc. so it sounds like your company is just doing what all other companies are doing.

I do sympathise, it's shit. But what can you do? We've actually had our contracts changed which according to our union they can do as long as they give you enough notice.

ChinUpChestOut Thu 08-Oct-15 06:57:11

You might feel some relief at having written the letter, but written in the format of a grumble means that it is unlikely that anything will change. Management don't care about morale until they have a high staff turnover and jobs they can't fill.

If you plan on staying in your job, I suggest you list either the financial impact of these changes (eg., high staff turnover means additional recruitment & training costs) or an alternative that is more acceptable to the staff. And why be anonymous? Put your name to it unless you feel it would jeopardise your job. And if you have a union, join it. These grumbles may become bona fide grievances at some point, and you can do more with a union at your back.

Shutthatdoor Thu 08-Oct-15 06:57:13

They have also changed the pensions so there is no longer a final salary pension scheme. Obviously long term staff are upset about this.

I'm suprised that they haven't done this already tbh. Many companies started doing this over a decade ago.

Mistigri Thu 08-Oct-15 07:01:56

In a publicly owned company what would probably carry more weight would be questions at shareholders' meetings...

Is there an employee share scheme?

The other thing you could do is look for evidence that cutting corners on costs and staff T&Cs is leading to compliance risks. This would probably be my first line of attack if I were to do anything in my own company - look for reasons to blow the whistle on unethical practice and to link it to staff morale and company culture.

EnglishWeddingGuest Thu 08-Oct-15 07:09:11

There's only one way to do this so that it has any hope of success

Write a proposal and send to the ceo

For each of your issues, list impact, cost, and suggest alternative with contrasting impact and cost

"It's not fair" will fall on deaf ears - but constructive proactive solutions backed up by fact has the best shot of being paid any degree of attention

Mistigri Thu 08-Oct-15 07:14:27

Sadly in a very large company not only would weddingguest's suggestion carry little or no weight, it would also be impossible (unless you are fairly high up in the accounts team and have a good knowledge of company cost structures).

Ultimately the board probably cares far more about what shareholders and regulators think that what it's employees think. So if staff really want to influence board decisions, they need to look at ways that current practice could affect the interests of shareholders, or be of interest to regulators.

7to25 Thu 08-Oct-15 07:23:13

I am on the board of a small charity.
We were advised that an ANONYMOUS letter should be binned, not read to the board and ignored..
It could be from anybody.

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