Employee Experience Forum

22 - 24 October, 2019

RBS: Restoring pride and building a great place to work

We heard from Kerry Freeman, Head of Culture at RBS as she discussed the importance of building a great place to work that encompasses the company's values and paving a clear path to meet their goals for 2020 and beyond. Read more on these insights below or view the full presentation here.

All organisations are striving for a great employee experience, this often comes in all shapes and sizes as the requirements of this vary within each company and team.

Does this mean a better physical workspace? More added benefits? A clear and rewarding pension scheme? No matter what the term employee experience means to you, there is one collective effort: putting your employee at the heart.

The Building Blocks Of Our Journey

RBS started out by mapping out a clear journey based on 4 building blocks:

  • Purpose, vision and values
  • Leading
  • Engaging
  • Building a great place to work

By first benchmarking themselves against their competition, RBS used the Employee Engagement Index in order to understand where they stood in terms of the market. View their results in a series of graphs within the presentation.

Purpose, Vision and Values

With this under their belt, RBS moved forward with a clear blueprint containing their ambition, purpose, values, brands and priorities.

Next was 'The Yes Check', the team carefully looked at a series of questioning making sure that these all aligned to their strategies. These include:

  • Does what I am doing keep our customers and the group safe and secure? Consider impact of what you are doing. Rehearse with your boss
  • Would customers and colleagues say I am acting with integrity? Consider would I do this to someone in my family/friend? Would I do it myself?
  • In 5 years time, would others see this as a good way to work? Consider will this have a positive impact? Imagine writing it on your CV

Does your plans and employee experience strategy align to these? This opportunity gives the team a time for reflection, sanity checking that they are keeping on track! In order to build this type of employee-centric approach it is vital that hear teams ensure that their employee's are at the heart of their strategy and all goals align to these.


RBS developed 'Determined to lead', a complete leadership programme that teaches the skills and techniques enabling people to grow. Through this programme employees are guided on how to lead, manage and coach their people to make positive behaviour changes and improve performance.

This added value within their strategy creates not only a great place to work, but a sense of development for employees, opening up the opportunities to grow as a key part of their role as an employee.

A Great Place to Work

At each step of this journey Kerry and her team kept the employees at the heart, moulding and adapting each strategy to drive clear benefits acting on feedback and evolving continuously. 

We asked Kerry to share her 5 main tips based on her experience, these included:

  • Prove you mean it
  • Find the right time
  • Listen and act on the feedback
  • Keep evolving
  • Leave room for the unplanned

What are your key priorities when building an employee experience strategy? Let us know by tweeting us at @Employee_Forum