Culture is critical

Culture is critical. It can strengthen or undermine our business and the objectives we are trying to achieve. BOQ understands workplace culture to be the characteristics and personalities that set the overall tone of the working environment. Culture plays a powerful role in determining work satisfaction, and ultimately, the financial health and sustainability of our business

Employee engagement

A key indicator of the cultural health of an organisation is employee engagement, which is indicative of the commitment an employee has to an organisation and its goals. We measure engagement at BOQ through the administration of an annual Group-wide survey that explores a wide variety of metrics that feed into one, aggregated engagement score. 

Our score increased from 53% in FY18 to 56% in FY19 as illustrated in the Non-financial Performance Measures on page 11 of this report. Although our employee engagement score is moving in the right direction, this is not where we would like it to be. We are undertaking a thorough process to understand the key drivers behind this score and, ultimately, determine what needs to be done to lift this score to a level we can be proud of. While there is some impact from the broader external scrutiny the banking sector has faced this year, there is a lot we can do ourselves to improve. 

With regard to external factors, intense public scrutiny of banking practices and its people has continued to dominate media headlines over the past year. Negativity arising from the Royal Commission has no doubt continued to have an impact on employee morale.

Our own internal challenges play an important role in determining employee engagement. One of the most material factors for our business is the perception of progress and differentiation relative to peers. 

In an effort to address the above, we have been focused on laying the groundwork for the modernisation of infrastructure and processes, although the retirement of legacy systems has demanded a slower than ideal execution of front-end systems where our customers and people see the benefit most. 

In FY20 we plan to focus on delivering on the execution phase of our internal technology projects, which will see an uplift in capabilities across the business. More detail on initiatives planned for FY20 can be found under Our FY19 Inititives section of our FY19 Annual Review. The modernisation of our technology infrastructure will greatly enhance agility and it is anticipated that this will assist in lifting employee engagement. 

We will continue to monitor employee engagement through regular team feedback surveys and our annual group-wide survey. And to ensure we have the agility required to respond quickly to feedback we have renewed our focus on reviewing and enhancing our approach to listening and responding to our people. We will also continue to host regular town halls and online forums which offer employees the opportunity to engage directly and candidly with management around any pressing concerns. 

Purpose-led culture

Clarity of the purpose of an organisation - why it exists - has become increasingly important to customers, employees and the communities in which we operate. We embarked on a purpose-led journey this year that included representation from hundreds of people across the whole business who took part in focus groups, interviews and workshops to help develop our collective purpose and refresh our values. Our purpose articulates why we exist, what makes BOQ special, and defines the impact we strive to have on our people, customers and communities. 

Together, we identified a purpose that has always been an integral part of our BOQ DNA: to deliver more human, empathetic experiences that help customers and communities prosper. 

Our refreshed values: we show we care; we act with integrity; we achieve together; and we make a difference, provide the blueprint for the behaviours we know we must live and breathe to make our purpose possible. 

As an organisation and as individuals, we are committed to ensuring our purpose and values are reflected in all aspects of what we do – including how we recruit, communicate, think about product offerings, and develop our people. We take our values seriously and expect our leaders to not only successfully embed our values within their teams, but also act as custodians – ensuring those who act contrary to our values are held accountable. 

This initiative should have a positive impact on employee engagement as a clear understanding of the value we create and to what end is critical for extracting meaning from our work.

Supporting our people 

We will continue to foster a culture that attracts and retains the best people by ensuring our employees feel valued and supported. Efforts this year to ensure we deliver upon this commitment include: (1) changes made to our Parental Leave Entitlements to better align with our focus on Inclusion and Diversity, providing greater support for working families and more flexible working options, (2) an enhanced framework to supporting diversity when recruiting new talent, when providing development opportunities for employees, and when framing our talent and succession planning strategy, (3) the roll out of various Inclusion Working Group initiatives, such as ‘Lean in Sessions’, which are internal round table events featuring senior females leaders who share insights about how to manage potential gender bias in the workplace.

We also launched ‘BOQ Thrive’, a capability framework that helps our people identify opportunities for personal and professional growth. In addition, we ran a Group wide ‘Driving my Development’ month that was designed to prompt our people to take ownership of their career development by participating in a range of workshops focusing on personal and professional development. 

We continue to work hard to establish and maintain healthy franchise partnerships through continued efforts to simplify the way we operate and by developing a more flexible path to branch ownership.

Overall, we understand the importance of getting culture right. Especially in light of an ever-increasing environment of uncertainty and impending structural and technological changes that will fundamentally transform the future banking landscape. The degree to which our people feel aligned and supported will directly impact levels of resiliency, loyalty and innovative thinking – all critical for successfully navigating challenging future waters. 

We address these challenges and opportunities under our strategic pillar, ‘Loved like no other’ (FY19 Annual Review), which focuses on maintaining positive stakeholder relationships by living our values, creating a place where people love to work and contributing to the communities in which we operate.