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HR Strategy of Barclays Bank

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Published: Tue, 02 Jan 2018

Identify the organisation’s overall HR strategy and goals

Specifically, Barclays outlined the core objectives of its overall HR strategy in its online job portal:

  • To ensure that our people programmes are aligned with the Barclays Commercial Bank business strategy.
  • To train and retain, as well as acquire the best talent in the market.
  • To make Barclays the employer of choice for people in the industry and ensure those already with us will have no intention of leaving.
  • To ensure we have the right people, in the right jobs, doing the right work. (Barclays Bank)

From the objectives strategy, one sees that the overall Human Resources strategy of Barclays Bank is guided by two fundamental factors: First, the HR strategy is about governance directed at managing the sheer number and diversity of its employees so that they all function and work according to and towards achieving the organization’s business objectives. This is particularly important because Barclays employs more than 123,000 people across the globe (Barclays 2009), covering a wide variety of subsidiaries. Secondly, the HR strategy is, certainly, aimed at attracting, developing and retaining the best people available.

In regard to employee development and training in the context of the first dimension to Barclay’s overall HR strategy – the people management – a formal learning process has been developed and put in place by the bank’s human resources managers. The aim here is to instill the behaviors and values seen as pivotal in achieving corporate goals. This HR programme involves basic training in how teams work together, personality profiling, and preferred learning styles. (Ostroff 1999, p. 122) According to Mike Ockenden, a former managing director at Barclays, HR is trying to “create a spirit that says we are all one group of people working together towards the customer imperative.” (Ostroff, p. 122) In addition, numerous other trainings are continually developed ranging from mentoring programmes, training on new technologies, operational methodologies, courses on team-work, to communication efficiency modules.

When it comes to the objective to attract, train and retain the best people, specific programs and initiatives have been introduced. “Our people,” according to the organization, “are the foundation of Barclays success. It’s as simple as that. We want the most talented, whatever their style, personality, age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.” (Barclays 2009) Indeed, the organization implements a policy of diversity and equality in the workplace.

Furthermore, the Barclays corporate culture resembles democratized structure: nobody has a private office, nor are there executive parking spaces; employees sit in the same size chairs behind the same size desks; titles are forbidden, and employees use first names when they address one another. (Ostroff, p. 121) This culture creates a conducive environment for innovation and that it promotes and maintains a system that values everyone’s contribution. Barclays maintains: “We promote an inclusive culture where colleagues of all backgrounds are respected and the different perspectives and fresh ideas they can bring to the business are valued.” (Barclays 2009)

Barclays have also experimented with competency-based pay systems which were expected to provide clarity about how employees can add value through their respective roles in the organization and motivation to perform better. (Holbeche 2009, p. 148) The company boasts of offering one of the highest salary schemes in the industry. The benefits package is consisted of: 1. Financial reward such as competitive salary, discretionary bonuses and recognition schemes wherein employees could receive performance-based gifts and expensive perks; 2) discounts in privileges on Barclays financial services and Barclays shares; 3) health, well-being and retirement benefits. At Barclays, employees also have the option to have flexible work schedules such as part-time work, compressed working week, job-sharing and a nine day fortnight, among others.

Then, the organization has also set up a corporate social responsibility policy that aims to boost employee morale and made them proud to work for the company. This policy is contained in the company’s sustainability strategy which focuses on three areas: helping address social issues, investing in community initiatives, and volunteerism.

In assessing whether Barclays overall human resources strategy and objectives, one needs to look at the statistics. According to Ostroff:

The company is meeting its goal of increasing national market share by at least one percentage point each year. This figure represents approximately an 18 percent increase in revenues and a 20 percent increase in profits… What is more, Barclays is beating the competition by spending less. (p. 119)

Barclays has achieved many of its successes partly because it was able to develop and implement a sound HR strategy and objectives, which are characterized by excellent people management.


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