Our people

Our people

Our people

Our people

The British Business Bank has over 320 colleagues each of whom plays a role in the successful delivery of our objectives and strategy.

People are at the heart of what we do. Over the past year we have created 84 new roles and promoted 18 colleagues. To achieve success for our business, we manage our people’s performance, developing and bringing through talent while ensuring we operate as efficiently as possible. We share common values that inform and guide our behaviour to achieve our goals in the right way.

Our people strategy, developed in 2018 to complement our business plan, sets out the key actions that improve the way we recruit, train and develop our people.

The strategy has three pillars: culture & engagement, leadership and recognition.

Together, these pillars support our desire to achieve outstanding performance with inspired and fulfilled people.

Culture and engagement

It is important for us to have the right corporate culture, as we believe our long-term success depends on achieving our strategic goals in the right way – which means looking after and championing the best interests of our people, smaller businesses, our delivery partners, and other stakeholders.

Our annual Colleague Engagement Survey is an important tool to build an actively engaged and committed workforce. It helps us measure and assess how our people feel about working at the Bank, and to put in place actions for continuous improvements based on their responses.

April 2018’s survey had a response rate of 66%, with an overall engagement score of 76%. We communicated the detailed results to all Bank colleagues in May 2018.

At a Bank level, the main areas of focus were career development, recognition, reward and leadership, and we have made good progress with each of these.

For our 2019 survey, which ran from mid-March to early April, we had a 91% response rate and an increase in employee engagement score to 77%. We are putting action plans in place, managed and owned by our leadership team, and driving higher engagement to enhance our people’s experience.

In a growing organisation such as ours, there is an increasing need for good colleague communications. As part of that, we held two all-colleague ‘One Team’ conferences in 2018/19 – events that give us the opportunity to tell the story of our business as we evolve, ensuring all our people understand where we’re going and the role they play.

Start Up Loans recipients discussing their finance journeys at our most recent ‘One Team’ meeting.

Capability for performance

Driving a performance culture is a key objective for the Bank. In 2018/19 we made several enhancements to our performance management cycle to clarify responsibilities, drive fairness and consistency, and equip colleagues and managers to understand and maximise the value of the process. We have also placed more emphasis on managers taking more accountability for the performance and development of their people. At the end of the performance year, facilitated moderation sessions fostered a more consistent application of performance ratings, which realistically reflected the Bank’s overall performance.

For the start of the 2019/20 performance year, we have made further enhancements to drive closer alignment of each colleague’s objectives with the Bank’s objectives, encourage a developmental mindset, and incorporate clear measures of success, for both ‘What’ our people do and ‘How’ they do it. The latter is set out in a newly created leadership framework.

We have processes in place for understanding and responding to colleagues’ needs through surveys and regular performance and development reviews. We continue, therefore, to work towards improving our communication to colleagues to ensure they are engaged with the decisions we make, and so we can respond to their feedback.

We also have a colleague forum consisting of people from all levels of our organisation which provides input into policies and working practices to ensure we support our Bank colleagues’ employment needs.

Business developments are communicated frequently to keep colleagues well informed about the progress of the Bank and to understand the Bank’s objectives.


Wellbeing support to colleagues has continued to be a focus in 2018/19 which has included appointing mental health first-aiders, introducing a cycle to work scheme, providing fruit for colleagues and offering flu jabs and holding events to promote general wellbeing.


Values and leadership framework

Our five shared values were reviewed in March 2018. These values – openness, commercially responsible, connecting, innovative and talent – shape and support our brand and our core essence of ‘enabling’.

In early 2019/20, we built on this foundation and created a leadership framework, which articulates the behaviours that will help drive the success of the Bank and reinforce our culture. The framework applies to all colleagues and encompasses behaviours grouped into leading self, leading others and leading the business.

To ensure that the leadership framework becomes embedded across the Bank and supports continuous improvement, it will be integrated within all our people processes during 2019/20, including talent and succession, recruitment and performance management.

Building talent and succession

Talent, as well as being one of our organisational values, is a key focus of our People Strategy. We are currently developing an overarching and integrated approach to identifying and building ‘bench strength’ across the Bank – those individuals with the potential to become the top talent in our organisation. Strategic outcomes will include a clear understanding of our top talent and leadership pipeline, prioritised development themes throughout the Bank, targeted actions to mitigate talent and succession risks, and a greater emphasis on career growth and internal hiring. This year we filled 19.6% of vacancies internally.

Succession planning is a twice-yearly process that focuses on identifying successors for executive roles and defining targeted development to ensure readiness.

We are committed to grow our talent and capability and we know that the development of our people is fundamental to the success of our business strategy. To support this development we have invested in an online learning management system which we will be introducing in 2019/20. This will give our employees access to courses and a range of programmes and support materials to enable their development on an ongoing basis.


We understand the importance of employee recognition in giving employees a sense of ownership and belonging and that they are truly valued for their contribution.

Our discretionary bonus payments are made on merit, and we believe this approach encourages fairness and drives our people to want to do a great job. We also have a in place a number of other recognition schemes which recognise and reward colleagues.

We have reviewed our reward strategy to ensure that our reward structure supports the recruitment and retention of colleagues critical to the successful delivery of the business’ objectives. Our aim is to align performance and reward so that colleagues know what is expected of them and feel recognised for their personal contribution and behaviours.

We recognise and reward the performance of our colleagues by offering a stake in the financial performance of the Bank through participating in the annual bonus scheme, which is linked to both corporate and personal performance.

Employee involvement

Our Equal Opportunities, Diversity and Inclusion policies support managers and colleagues in creating a diverse and inclusive culture where everyone is welcome. Our policies demonstrate our commitment to providing equal opportunities to all colleagues, irrespective of age, disability, gender, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

Diversity and inclusion

We believe that our success as a business can only be achieved by being truly inclusive and we have a number of mechanisms to support this, which include our grievance and whistleblowing procedures, our engagement survey and a visible HR team in all locations, allowing employees to raise any concerns.

Our diversity and inclusion policy can be found on our website www.british-business-bank.co.uk.

Gender representation

The graphic below sets out the gender diversity of the Board, Executive Committee members, Senior Leadership Team and employees at 31 March 2019.

The British Business Bank has a good gender balance overall. We recognise, however, that we have more to do to increase the number of women in our senior management positions and we are taking steps to make sure that senior colleagues, when recruited, reflect the characteristics of the diverse workforce we seek to create.

Over the past year we have continued to embed diversity and inclusion within the Bank. One of our targets is to aim for all recruitment processes at director and managing director level to include a gender diverse shortlist and interviewer panel. We also have gender neutral advertising.

We have reviewed our parental and maternity policies to encourage a more family friendly culture to enhance support for all working parents.

In 2018 all the objectives of the Executive Committee included gender diversity targets to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to gender diversity.

Our subsidiary, British Patient Capital also announced in February 2019 that it would be seeking to spread best practice by adopting the Institutional Limited Partner Association (ILPA) diversity template for venture capital firms applying for its programmes. This new initiative enables venture capital teams to measure and report the gender and ethnic diversity of their teams by seniority and role, and aims to encourage conversations about issues around diversity.

Gender pay gap

We included details of our 2018 gender pay gap in our 2018/19 Annual Report, and will be publishing a full 2019 gender pay gap report later in the year.

Women in finance charter

In March 2018 we signed up to the Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter and our CEO is responsible and accountable for delivering this initiative. We have made considerable progress in appointing women to senior positions over the last three years, but there is more to do to increase diversity.

Our aim is to ensure that, by October 2021, 50% of our senior leadership team (bands 1 – 3) are female (within a 10% tolerance). As at 31 March 2019 the overall split was: Male 64%, Female 36%.


We value people from all backgrounds and have an inclusive approach that celebrates diversity. We know that our inclusive culture helps us to attract, retain and develop our employees and encourages them to bring their whole selves to work.

The British Business Bank has a diverse workforce, with 14 different ethnicities declared and with a further group of 19% who did not declare their ethnicity. White British is the major ethnic group (48%) and Asian the second largest (8%).


The Bank works with colleagues, including those with disabilities, to adapt work practices where necessary in order to help them work effectively within the business. We are a Disability Confident Employer as part of the UK Government’s Disability Confident scheme.

Human rights

We operate in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and take account of other internationally accepted human rights standards. We also promote human rights through our employment policies and practices, and through the responsible use of our products and services.

Data protection

Across British Business Bank, the privacy and security of personal information is respected and protected. Our privacy statement governs how we collect, handle, store, share, use and dispose of information about people. We regard sound privacy practices as a key element of corporate governance and accountability.

Corporate social responsibility

Colleagues from across the Bank worked together on initiatives focused on all three areas of our CSR mandate in 2018/19 – charity work, environment and volunteering.

We continued our support for the three charities nominated in 2017/18 for another year:

  • Shelter – our national nominated charity.
  • Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in Sheffield.
  • The Trussell Trust in London.

Colleagues from across the Bank took part in fundraising activities to raise money directly for our three nominated charities. These included our annual ‘Great British Business Bank Bake Off’, as well as sponsored runs and bike rides.

Colleagues can also take a day once a year to undertake voluntary work. They used these days in 2018/19 to support a wide range of causes, which included serving and packing food at local food banks and supporting a grant-making foundation with a variety of financial topics. Many colleagues also give their own time to volunteer with charities and other organisations.

Colleagues are committed to reducing waste and limiting our impact on the environment at work by supporting local suppliers, reducing packaging, and by recycling more effectively. We also run a cycle to work scheme. We will continue to run campaigns on how to take simple steps to make big changes for environmental impact.

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