London Midlands Director Richard Smalley talks about how he and his colleagues work to better both themselves and the communities they live and work within.
We pursue an impeccably clear strategy at Barclays: we try to mirror the communities that we live and work within.
First off we recruit locally, so our colleagues are generally a microcosm of the communities in which they work. They’ll be multicultural, from different backgrounds with different levels of education and upbringing, so they very much understand and mirror the communities they serve. That’s important because it spurs on colleagues to feel passionately about the service they provide.
For example, the whole region just got together to raise £75,000 for charities chosen by the colleagues themselves. Two of my colleagues and I ran a marathon as part of a wave of colleagues across London Midlands who got involved; some were cycling in their branches on the day, while others raised money through baking and selling cakes. We were only able to achieve that level of engagement because people had a direct stake in the issues and communities at play.
Led by Community Leaders and Branch Managers, we’re always striving to be part of what’s going on in civic life. There is a whole range of ways that we touch communities: supporting local Citizens’ Advice bureaus by providing tea and teach sessions, financial education sessions and prevention of fraud sessions, or going into schools to educate children on the subject of banking, or working with local and national charities to raise money.
As an organisation we provide lots of resources, tools and skills to support such initiatives. We’ve got lots of things at our disposal; financial clout of course, but also amazing access to information held within the company, which enables us to help communities in so many different ways.
Within the organisation too, we work hard to improve the lives of our colleagues. Around forty per cent of my colleagues in London Midlands are part time or key time workers. Much of the business is built on part time, working mums, so we spend lots of time with them to meet their needs outside of work. It’s not just mums too - we’re increasingly attracting people fresh out of education who perhaps have other things they want to do, like continue their studies or develop self-employed careers, but who also get great value and experience out of working with us some of the time as well.
I often describe Barclays as a family. And if you talk to our colleagues you’ll hear them use that word a lot. I have three children, all of whom have worked with Barclays; my daughter is coming up to her 10 year work anniversary, while both of my sons were here at the same time during university. It makes me proud to know that they wanted to share the same experiences that I have, of being part of a family and working with local communities to affect meaningful change that really makes a difference to other people’s lives.
If you’re thinking about becoming a part of the Barclays family and want to make a difference in your local community, take a look through our current list of retail banking opportunities.