Culture Assessment: an industry-wide approach to managing ethics


David Hollis – Assessment Manager

Ethics by Design 2019

1. How do we attempt to assess culture?

We ask how far each of the nine characteristics in the BSB Assessment Framework are demonstrated by a firm (and relative to other firms). We postulate that firms who strongly exhibit these are more likely to service their customers and society well

  • Our Assessment does not assess firms against a template of what a ‘good’ culture looks like. There is no uniquely good (or bad) organisational culture against which all others can be measured. Firms with very different cultures can produce equally good or bad outcomes for customers and clients and more broadly.
  • We do not, therefore, set out to measure or rank culture directly. Rather, we ask how far each of our nine characteristics is demonstrated by the firm and relative to other firms. We would expect a firm that strongly exhibited our nine characteristics to be better equipped and more likely to service its customers, clients and society well, than one in which these elements were lacking.

The core BSB Survey has 36 questions – asked on a five point Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree scale (1/3)

The core BSB Survey has 36 questions – asked on a five point Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree scale (2/3)

The core BSB Survey has 36 questions – asked on a five point Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree scale (3/3)

Q1 I believe senior leaders in my organisation mean what they say

Q4 It is difficult to make career progression in my organisation without flexing my ethical standards

Q35 My organisation’s purpose and values are meaningful to me

Q36 There is no conflict between my organisation’s stated values and how we do business

Our annual assessment exercise in the UK covers large numbers of banking employees and the number of individuals responding to the BSB Survey has increased from 28,122 in 2016 to 72,024 in 2018

2016

2017

2018

294,612

82,139

28,122

299,222

106,092

36,268

292,165

188,050

72,024

Survey sent to

Headcount

Responses

50%

Overall

OSII

Non-OSII

53%

Overall

OSII

Non-OSII

44%

Overall

OSII

Non-OSII

Response Rates

The scale of the BSB Assessment exercise has increased from 2016 to 2018 both in terms of the number of participating firms and the number of survey respondents

2016

2017

2018

22

14

25

11

26

9

Participating firms

Full

assessment

OSII

non-OSII

OSII

non-OSII

9

13

9

16

9

17

9

5

9

2

8

1

28,122

36,268

72,024

Survey respondents

800 employees in 104 focus groups

114 executives and 26 NEDs interviewed

761 employees in 87 focus groups

60 executives and 11 NEDs interviewed

837 employees in 89 focus groups

59 executives and

12 NEDs interviewed

Firms that take part in the exercise have a UK population (headcount) of ~ 300,000 employees
BSB membership

2. How do we present results to individual firms?

Firms get their Survey results on an online dashboard which allows them to view their firm across different cuts, and compared to other firms (1/2)

Firms get their Survey results on an online dashboard which allows them to view their firm across different cuts, and compared to other firms (2/2)

Firms can also view their Survey results benchmarked against other firms

We then provide individual reports to firms’ boards with our assessment of them across our multiple methods. We are as transparent as we can be on where an individual firm (and its constituent areas) are relative to peers

Score

3. How do we analyse results across the sector and sub-sectors; and, how do we present these results?

We analyse the Survey data through an ordinal logit regression model and display the results visually (1/2)

Q1

Odds Ratio

  • We use multiple methods to analyse our Survey data. We compare results across these methods and trust our findings when the outcomes by different methods converge.
  • This illustration displays the ordinal logit regression results in 2017 for Q1 (‘I believe senior leaders in my organisation mean what they say’). The size of the circles reflect the size of the impact of the variable (the difference of the odds ratio from 1); the colour reflects whether the variable is statistically significant or not, and in which direction.

We analyse the Survey data through an ordinal logit regression model and display the results visually (2/2)

Note: Firm-specific effects are controlled for but not shown here

We apply mixed methods in analysing qualitative information: choosing focus groups based on survey scores to apply grounded theory on

IT & Operations

Retail Branch

IB Markets

Higher-scoring areas

Lower-scoring areas

Commonalities

Commonalities

Differences

4. What do our results show?

In 2017, 44% of employees said they often felt under excessive pressure to perform, and more than a quarter that working in their firm was having a negative impact on their health and well-being

Grounded theory

Survey findings (2017)

  • Perceived unfairness of treatment across different parts of a firm, featured prominently among focus group participants working in areas that scored poorly in the Survey on wellbeing and personal resilience. Organisational justice emerges from our findings as an important potential influence on individuals’ wellbeing.

  • Examples given of inconsistent treatment included:
    • differential access to support services between regional branches and urban hubs;
    • colleagues in different locations having different workloads;
    • the availability of IT support varying between departments; and
    • policies designed to promote wellbeing, being followed more diligently in some teams than in others

Preliminary findings from 2018 on speaking up, help us identify in the first instance whether this is a problem primarily of substance (i.e. when people speak up they really do not feel listened to) or primarily communication (i.e. when people speak up they do feel listened to, but this is not the perception of those who chose not to speak up).

Perception: I felt that nothing would
happen if I raised concerns

Experience: I felt that my concerns were not listened to and taken seriously

Each circle represents the position of a single business area at a firm, for which we have sufficient data on these aspects of speaking up and listening up. This analysis covers 43 business units.

  • The dotted lines show individual business areas where a high proportion of employees who did not speak up, chose not to because their expectation of any response was low (left-hand side), but where the experience of those who did speak up was a positive one (right-hand side). Where this is the case, firms may — as well as continuing to ensure that even more of those who speak up feel listened to — focus primarily on how to communicate and share the positive experiences in order to encourage others.

  • In other business areas, the opposite may be the case. While perceived futility in these areas may not be among the most common barriers to speaking up, the actual experience of speaking up may be somewhat different. An example of this is the business area joined on each side by the solid line. Where this is the case, the issues that the firm needs to address in the first instance will be of substance and process rather than communication.

5. What next?

Hollis.BSB - Google Slides