Kristy Dorsey: RBS plea an own goal

Kristy Dorsey. Picture: Robert Perry

Kristy Dorsey. Picture: Robert Perry

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AS OWN goals go, the embarrassment last week at Royal Bank of Scotland must rank on a par with Lee Dixon’s blushes back in 1991.

The former Arsenal fullback lobbed teammate David Seaman from distance to send opponents Coventry home with a victory. Today it remains ranked among the sport’s most infamous mishaps.

Similarly, news that RBS is recruiting “volunteers” from its staff to carry out DIY across its branch network emerged in perfect time for maximum chagrin.

It came just days after the lender said it was axing Your Bank, a long-standing scheme of discounted mortgages and loans for employees. As one staff member put it, many felt that perk to be “the last thing that made it nice to work here”.

The irony is palpable, but the demise of Your Bank isn’t the only reason the DIY SOS proved ill-judged. In a sector of upheaval and uncertainty, betting on the loyalty of embattled employees is a risky business.

Research earlier this year from Deloitte found business leaders in more than 90 countries are seriously worried about engaging and retaining their people.

Two-thirds cited “the overwhelmed employee” as their top business challenge, but only 8 per cent believed they had programmes to help staff adapt.

That’s simply not good enough. Banking is one of many industries in the throes of fundamental change, and the tumult has left many workers feeling disengaged. Smart managers will rebuild those connections because they know that loyal employees are as important as loyal customers – especially when asking for that bit of extra effort.

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