Employment practices | RBS

Employment practices

To support our colleagues to serve customers well, we need to create the best working environment possible. We support our colleagues through responsible employment practices.

Colleague Wellbeing


Wellbeing is key to making the bank a great place to work. It’s closely aligned with Our Values and helps our colleagues bring the best of themselves to work. With full senior executive support, we’ve rolled out our wellbeing programme across four main pillars: Physical, Mental, Financial and Social.


Our internal wellbeing index has increased by a further 2% in 2019 taking us 3% above other high performing norm companies and 10% above high performing Financial Services companies. We continue to build our wellbeing programme by offering support, resources, personal stories and engaging tools.


Here’s how we helped our colleagues stay well in 2019:


Physical health


More than 15,000 colleagues actively participated in our global digital wellbeing platform, which is designed to support and encourage personal wellbeing goals. Over 27,000 personal health checks were carried out through the health kiosks we set up in our main locations.


Mental health


We continued to promote our mental health support and resources including mindfulness and our mental health toolkit. This remains part of our support for Time to Change (the UK’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma), which we’ve supported since 2014. During 2019 we also signed the Mental Health at Work Commitment.


Our Workplace Wellbeing Group has c.28,000 members and in 2019 we ran our third Mental Health Awareness campaigns to support Mental Health Awareness week in May and World Mental Health Day in October. We also hosted our third Mental Health Conference in the dual locations of Edinburgh and London for the first time, reaching more colleagues, customers and those with a passion for moving the mental health agenda forward. In July, we held our first Men’s Health focus month. During this many colleagues shared their personal stories and took part in opportunities to learn about areas important to men’s health such as testicular cancer and suicide.


We’ve also continued to see a high number of colleagues using our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), which supports them in with dealing with change and building resilience. Around one in six of our colleagues accessed the EAP service during 2019, which is a good indication colleagues are accessing the service early before issues become a crisis.


Financial Wellbeing


We continued to develop our financial wellbeing strategy in 2019 and our experiential Money & Me workshop is at the heart of this strategy. In 2019 we directly helped around 30,000 colleagues by holding audios, Workplace and face-to-face presentations on how to save well. We reached many more colleagues with our financial wellbeing guide and our innovative financial wellbeing tool. We also launched the ground-breaking Save More Tomorrow initiative, which uses behavioural science principles to help colleagues increase their savings for life after work. Our colleagues increasingly feel that our employee benefits fit their needs. A total of 83% of colleagues view them favourably – an increase of 2 points from 2018 and now 8 points ahead of the global financial services norm.


Social Wellbeing


Through our Great Place to Work and Do Good Feel Good campaigns we continue to promote healthy wellbeing by supporting our communities, charity involvement and volunteering.


Flexible working


To help our colleagues develop a work-life balance, create an inclusive, flexible working culture and to help us focus on our customers’ needs, we offer choice in working locations and patterns.


  • Support and guidance is offered to all colleagues through a web portal.

  • We set up a number of ‘spoke sites’ across the country making it easier for colleagues to work closer to home and closer to customers.

Developing our colleagues’ skills and careers

Becoming a learning organisation is a strategic priority for us. We need to prepare colleagues for the future and we continue to focus broader development on our Critical People Capabilities.


  • The people capabilities that we’ve identified will help build the right knowledge, skills and behaviours, to help our colleagues stay relevant and employable, and support our ambition and purpose. We are engaging colleagues in the future of work and jobs, and helping them to understand their strengths and development gaps using an internally developed Capability Checker, and external Preferences tool, enabling them to align their learning and build capability against their career plans.

  • To further embed this, we ran a Festival of Learning campaign in 2019 to provide colleagues with learning to develop their capabilities now and for the future. By leveraging new technology we delivered content on trends such as automation and artificial intelligence, in flexible and innovative ways to give everyone the opportunity to open their mind, learn a new skill and have fun learning. This was externally recognised with a Learning Technologies Award in November 2019.

  • We continue to innovate learning to support core and common capability needs by creating a blend of learning experiences (e.g. classroom, webinar, e-learning and video) to support personal development, individual capability or prepare colleagues for future roles. Our colleagues can also access relevant learning provided by external partners.

  • We are also helping colleagues build key future skills. In 2019, we became the first UK retail bank to launch a Data Academy, to nurture and grow data expertise, innovation, and collaboration across the bank. Since then, 2,756 colleagues have accessed bite-sized learning to build their capability and 237 are participating in Data Science and Data Engineering Nanodegrees.

  • Our Agile Capability Hub supports colleagues across the bank in building capability to confidently engage in new ways of working – whether they are new to Agile, working in an Agile role or environment or leading Agile teams. In 2019 a total of 20,287 colleagues have accessed the Agile Capability Hub and 8,235 colleagues have completed one of the products we’ve developed to suit their needs.

  • Leading Sales is our bank-wide sales leadership programme, which uses the tools and techniques colleagues know from Determined To Lead (DTL), to lead, coach and manage their sales team to be the best at ethical, needs-based selling. We’ve trained over 4,000 frontline sales colleagues to complete Level 1, over 4,000 sales specialists to complete Level 2 and have started sales leaders training in 2019. We were awarded a Princess Royal Training Award in 2019 for our Sales Excellence programme.

  • We’re continuing to develop great leaders. We’ve remained committed to delivering and embedding our flagship leadership programme – DTL. By the end of 2019, more than 11,100 leaders had completed their DTL journey.

  • Professional standards are important to us and we offer a wide range of learning to support the professional development of our people. We also work closely with a wide range of professional bodies, government agencies and our peers to maintain and grow professional standards across the industry. We have recently become the first bank to be awarded Corporate Chartered status by the Chartered Banker Institute in recognition of our continuing investment in professional development and our commitment to professional values and advocacy.


Identifying talent


  • Our focus remains on identifying, developing and mobilising colleagues with the highest potential to lead the organisation in the future. We’ve continued to run our NextGen Talent Development Programme and have onboarded a new cohort of high potential future leaders in 2019. We were awarded a Princess Royal Training Award for this. We’ve also launched a talent programme aimed at supporting our pipeline talent.

  • We’ve introduced a new approach to succession planning and have a range of bespoke development interventions for our CEOs and their leadership teams, covering executive coaching, mentoring, data, digital and enterprise leadership and agile.

  • In 2019, 1,131 colleagues attended one of our Female Development Programmes, which focus on supporting women to reach their full potential, manage their careers effectively and supports our aspiration to be gender balanced by 2030.


Early careers


We attract, select and hire the best apprentices, interns and graduates we can. This helps us build the skills and capabilities we need now and for the future.


In 2019:


  • We hired 226 graduates and 205 apprentices.

  • A total of 214 apprentices completed their programme in 2019 and moved into permanent roles, while more than 740 apprentices have successfully completed their programme with us since 2015.

  • We hired 166 interns onto our summer internship scheme. This ten-week paid work experience programme remains a strong pipeline of talent for our graduate programme. A total of 85% of our interns have been offered a place on the 2020 graduate programme.

  • NatWest Ventures worked with representatives from across the education sector, non-profit organisations, as well as young adult students, to design a programme to specifically support individuals from under-represented backgrounds. The programme is our new NatWest Digital and Innovation 4-year degree level Apprenticeship and the first cohort of 9 started in November 2019.

  • We ran Female Insight Weeks for 10 of our 15 career pathways. This was a successful initiative which continues to increase our female hiring ratio in areas of our business which are under-represented by women. We also ran an HR Insight Week which had a male focus, and a Private Banking Insight Week in collaboration with upReach, which has a social mobility focus. Across all of these events, 91 students attended. Around 77% passed the assessment, and of those offered, 53 have accepted to join our 2020 Summer Internship.

  • For the fourth consecutive year we’ve continued to move up the Times Top 100 Graduate employers list – we’re now 25th.

  • We set up our new Academic Partnerships Managers role to deepen our relationships with strategic Universities and to review our school engagement strategy. We’re continuing to work across the business to identify and connect partnership opportunities. We’ve also selected two social mobility partners to work with in 2020 to support secondary school children into further education pathways.

  • We’re continuing to make good progress towards a 50/50 male and female hiring ratio: graduate hiring 49%/49% (2% not specified), intern hiring 52%/46% (2% not specified), apprenticeship hiring 46%/54% (male/female respectively).

  • Making sure we attract and recruit an ethnically diverse workforce that reflects our customer base is critical for us. Our 2019 hiring shows that 29% of our graduates, 34% of our interns and 22% of our apprentices, came from a non-white background.

Managing change and redundancies

When things change or we need to make redundancies, we always want our employees to feel supported and know we’ll do everything we can to help them.


Approximately 72% of our employees bank wide are covered by a collective agreement and/or local employee representative arrangements. Our aim is to engage our employee representatives at the right time, in the right way and on a no-surprise basis.


In 2019:


  • We made 2,833 redundancies. More than 1,650 of these employees used our redeployment and outplacement service in the UK and Ireland.

  • We held frequent business-as-usual meetings with trade unions and works councils.


Colleague voice


Our Colleague Advisory Panel (CAP) established in 2018 to strengthen the voice of colleagues in the Boardroom, continued to meet in 2019. The Panel, consisting of approximately 25 colleagues, has met with representatives from the Board twice to discuss issues such as: Our Purpose, our Digital and Data strategy, Inclusion, our strategy and our approach to Executive Director remuneration. The Panel continues to be highly regarded by those who attend and has proven to be an effective way of establishing two-way dialogue between colleagues and Board members.

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