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Barclays, Finalist 2012, The Lexington Gray Best for Flexible Working Award

Barclays is a large bank employing over 140,000 people globally. Since 2002 they have made flexible working available to all staff, as part of a business wide focus on attracting and retaining talent. The drivers to promoting flexibility have been numerous: strengthening employee engagement; becoming a destination ‘employer of choice’; improving female retention and career development and at the same time promoting flexibility as a choice for male employees to ‘de-genderise’ the agenda; modernising career paths, for example enabling flexible retirement; anticipating demographic forecasts; and increased operational effectiveness.

To spread and embed flexibility, Barclays have a policy of continually reviewing and refreshing their work-life balance and family friendly policies. They benchmark internally and externally to measure progress, and have strong leadership support which is highly visible to demonstrate the bank’s commitment to flexibility. Employee networks support colleagues with practical help and support for family related situations.

Flexibility is deliberately positioned as something for everyone, not just for parents and carers, and is linked to other diversity and inclusion strands and initiatives. There is a comprehensive range of flexible working policies, and these are designed to allow careers to pause and accelerate according to the needs of the employee. Line managers are encouraged to focus on performance, not presenteeism, and given support and skills in managing flexible workers.

Technology has been leveraged to support agile working, colleagues are encouraged to make full use of technology to cut down on travel and connect across time zones. Barclays also leverage agile working principles for dispersed teams who operate on a location-independent basis.

Colleague feedback, and evaluation against internal measures has demonstrated the value of flexibility: engagement survey responses are more favourable in some areas for reduced hours employees when compared to their full time colleagues; for example, reduced hours employees are more likely to recommend their employer to other people. Additionally, there has been a positive response to maternity and paternity coaching sessions. Customers too benefit from the bank’s family-friendly focus, with products and services to suit all family life stages.