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What does it take to transform HR? One bank shares its insights…

by AdviserPlus | August 21, 2018

Earlier this year, AdviserPlus CEO Nick Bradley hosted a webinar with Rob Divall, HR director for the Aldermore Bank Group.

Together, they set out to uncover and share the lessons learned by the bank during its recent HR transformation – and show why ‘transformation’ is ultimately more of a journey than a destination.

Aldermore Bank was founded in 2009 at the height of the UK financial crisis, with the aim of challenging established banking models. Primarily delivering its services online – and prioritising markets and customers often underserved by traditional financial institutions – Aldermore follows the unofficial mantra: ‘banking as it should be’.

As of last year, the bank has over 1,000 employees on the payroll, serving almost 25,000 customers – including savers, landlords and small businesses.

If you’ve time, you can catch up with the full webinar here. If not – just read on. We’ve selected three key takeaways from Nick and Rob’s conversation, to provide inspiration and guidance for your own HR transformation.

1. Create a customer-led culture

Young businessman having a serious discussion with two female co-workers as they stand together discussing a hand written flip chart

It’s all too easy for young and established companies alike to get caught up focusing on what they’re selling, rather than the people they’re selling to. As Rob explains, “It’s not uncommon, in the early days, to just focus on the products.”

But, in Aldermore’s experience, becoming a customer-centric organisation doesn’t need to be a major headache. It can all start with a simple conversation.

The bank’s change of focus came about through discussions around their customer personas: “We started to really unpick who our customers were, their stories, and what was important to them.”

This new understanding of its customers gave the bank a solid foundation for investigating its employees’ wants and needs – and ultimately, the behaviours needed to create a culture that works for everyone. Its resulting model is based on “understanding what matters, doing the right thing, and making a difference”.

2. Equip (and support) your managers to deliver change

The biggest driver of your company culture – and, therefore, one of the most important groups to reach, nurture and develop – are your frontline managers. That means not only including them in your overall HR transformation journey, but enhancing their capability and confidence to make them more effective in their roles.

Aldermore recognised that managers would benefit hugely from more support and training to help them with their day-to-day responsibilities. Rob’s team achieved this through a combination of self-service technology and hands-on leadership development sessions.

“We focused on […] improving our HR decision support. And we did that by upgrading our technology platform for our line managers,” says Rob.

The bank now has twodedicated training courses for its frontline managers: the Empowered Managers Programme, which gives employees the technical abilities they need to lead, and the Elevate Programme, which nurtures aspiring managers as they move up through the ranks.

3. Measure customer, employee and business outcomes

“We had an organisation crying out for data and market intelligence,” says Rob. By giving its frontline managers the tools and training they needed to deliver the everyday HR functions more effectively, Aldermore could focus its HR team more strategically – and that meant analysing how the bank’s outcomes stacked up against its goals.

Creative business team working together in casual office

If you want HR to adopt a strategic role in your business, it’s important to consider factors outside your traditional HR metrics. Rob recommends thinking more holistically, looking beyond absence rates and employee turnover, and finding the best way to measure performance not just at an individual level, but across the organisation.

For example, Aldermore uses an employee version of net promoter scores to monitor how engaged their people are with the organisation as ‘internal customers’, tracking this alongside traditional business metrics such as customer sentiment and profit.

Follow the journey

“You’re always moving and always growing,” summarises Rob. “But ultimately this is a story of ‘wherever you are in your journey, you can’t wait’.”

If you’d like to hear more about Aldermore’s journey directly from Rob Divall, be sure to watch the full webinar or read our case study below to explore how AdviserPlus worked with the bank to implement its new strategy.