RBS calls in David Ulrich and MacLeod to boost HR ahead of restructure

RBS has brought in two management gurus to help its HR team through the huge restructure at the state-owned bank, Personnel Today has learned.

Greig Aitken, head of human capital strategy at the bank, revealed that HR guru Dave Ulrich and David MacLeod, who recently led a government-commissioned review on employee engagement, had been brought in to speak to the bank’s legions of HR staff.

Aitken said they were hired to talk to the bank’s HR staff about organisational change, talent management and staff engagement.

“We had Dave Ulrich do global audios and we’ve also got David MacLeod and he’s partnering with our group HR director [Neil Roden] over the coming weeks to do some [sessions] with HR staff to make sure that we are taking account of the changing organisational dynamics.”

More than 600 HR professionals joined the Ulrich call, while MacLeod is due to speak to staff next week, the company confirmed.

An RBS spokeswoman refused to comment on how much it had paid for the sessions, but earlier this year Ulrich spoke at the Public Sector People Managers’ Association’s annual conference for two hours at a cost of about £30,000.

Aitken said employee engagement had taken a hit over the course of the year because of the turmoil in financial markets and the HR function was now focused on improving it.

RBS has announced plans to cut nearly 14,000 jobs this year and has received billions of pounds of taxpayer’s cash to keep it afloat

He said: “The engagement of staff is massively important not just for the HR function but the impact it has on customer services and performance, and so we are focusing on that particularly.”

The bank has also placed a strong emphasis on non-financial recognition to boost engagement.

“Some of the largest impacts on employee engagement are some of the simplest things to do,” Aitken said. “In the main it’s about managers recognising the great work that staff have done.”

Aitken said RBS had launched a number of recognition schemes across the business which enabled managers, for example, to send personal thank you cards to staff.

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