In one of our previous Newsletters we said: “We have been arguing for a long time that TSB, like Lloyds, should get rid of all performance ratings and instead focus on regular discussions and development. In our recent sales survey, 69% of staff said that the bank should remove ratings all together. We agree”.
Whilst TSB has listened to what our members have been saying, which is understandable given that we are the largest union, performance management is still going to be binary: either you achieve your performance objectives or you don’t. If you don’t achieve those objectives, which for most staff will be sales driven, then not only will you not get a bonus but the fear is that staff will be managed out of the bank altogether as part of its drive to cut costs.
TSB’s absolute focus on outputs, which means sales, will drive the wrong kind of behaviours and we are seeing some of that already.
More Savings, More Account Upgrades & More Loans
Let’s be clear, TSB is introducing this change to the performance management system not from a position of strength but from a position of weakness. TSB needs to show that it’s a stable, profitable mid-table bank before it can sold in a few years. The only currency acceptable in TSB will be increasing sales and reducing costs. And hopefully the IT system won’t fall over again.
Of the 9 Primary Corporate Objectives (PCO), which the bank launched recently, the ones that jump off the page are: ‘Helping Customers borrow better’ and ‘Helping customers save better’. Those objectives look fairly innocuous but it’s how those are translated further down the management line that will drive the new sales culture.
In the last week, one Area Director said: “Savings continue to take a dip, we need to ensure we are talking to customers about where they save, everyone has a need to save. To put into context how important this is, we have 81 branches closing this year across TSB and we don’t want to lose these savings balances. We saw XXXX [number removed by TBU] customers as an area, where are these people saving?”. If savings performance continues at present levels, can you imagine the pressure branch managers and staff will come under in that area to deliver not just the savings target but those for account upgrades and loans. We are hearing worrying reports that in some areas, staff are being invited to one-to-one meetings to discuss their individual sales performance against a central tracker being used by the bank. No league tables yet but staff are left in no doubt that they are being monitored. What’s worrying is that we haven’t had the big sales push yet. That will come with the launch of the new brand in Q2.
Sales Survey Results
In our sales survey, which was last year, members said:
81% of staff said that the sales culture had got worse.
71% of staff said that the demands TSB placed on them was unrealistic.
59% of staff said that they felt under pressure to prioritise their sales objectives over the genuine needs of their customers.
86% of staff said that they were increasingly being micro-managed. And it’s the management of every minute of every day that causes staff to worry about sales.
We will return to the issue of sales in future Newsletters. In the meantime, members with any questions can contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 716029.