The mass phone calls from Dave Ulrich and David MacLeod to RBS’s HR professionals were good value for money, the state-owned bank has insisted.
HR chief Neil Roden told Personnel Today that the sessions addressed hundreds of office-based HR workers globally at the same time during one call, reducing travel and expense costs that would have been incurred if people had had to come to a central office for a face-to-face meeting.
Roden asked the well-known gurus to offer advice about tackling employee engagement and talent management ahead of a major restructuring programme.
The call with Ulrich was broadcast to more than 600 phone lines in RBS across 40 countries, addressing groups of HR professionals at each location, similar to a conference-call.
The calls cost just £2.50 per line, meaning Ulrich’s session cost just over £1,500 – “hard to match for cost-effectiveness”, according to Roden.
“When used as an innovative way of providing training, calls like these mean reduced travel and expenses costs and less time away from home for our people. They don’t even have to take time out of their day to leave the office,” he said.
RBS has been running phone sessions for about four years, but until this year only internal speakers had been used to offer advice to staff.
Roden said: “HR has a critical role to play in helping the organisation through this period in RBS history as smoothly and efficiently as possible, and sessions like these are vital to equip our HR teams with the skills they need to build capability and business strength for the future.”
Roden added: “I was delighted that Dave Ulrich was able to speak to RBS HR on a number of timely and highly relevant topics in this way, and he delivered one of our most popular sessions, with over 600 lines joining in.”
Ulrich told Personnel Today he did not charge RBS for his services. Earlier this year he spoke at the Public Sector People Managers’ Association’s annual conference for two hours and it was understood that he was paid about £30,000, although Ulrich has since disputed this figure.
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.
It is now 84%-owned by UK taxpayers.