Simon English: Lloyds has looked after its star signing, but what about the rest of the staff?
Friday 16 December 2011
Outlook "I'm not going to work any less but I am going to work differently. As we move into the second phase of the turnaround of Lloyds I can detach myself from the day-to-day running of the business and focus on strategy."
That's Lloyds boss Antonio Horta-Osorio (below) unveiling his return to the hot seat yesterday after a period off for a mystery illness the bank still isn't quite calling stress.
Focus on strategy. That sounds nice. Around here that means: watch other people do stuff; make disparaging remarks. I can confirm it is a lot less stressful than working.
In nearly all ways it is good Lloyds has been so sympathetic to its star hire. It's not so long ago that the stock British response to anyone complaining they weren't coping was: Have a pint. And have a word with yourself.
If Mr Horta-Osorio's commendable openness makes it easier for others to come clean and get help, that's a result. A better one would be a complete overhaul of the way large employers treat staff.
Lloyds got some ribbing just recently for sending 10 executives to clowning classes. By attending The Comedy School, the executives would improve their communication and leadership skills, reckoned the bank. As total wastes of money go, well, there are worse. They could have bought HBOS. Oh, yeah, right.
The thing is, none of these well-meaning ventures that are lately in vogue – the team-building exercise, the departmental day at the beach – is devised to make work more reasonable. They are devised to help people cope with what is unreasonable.
From the outside, and indeed according to inside accounts, Lloyds looks like a dysfunctional organisation. To get new pencils requires memos in triplicate.
Want next Wednesday off? We shall hire a team of external consultants to do a feasibility study.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph last month, one former executive offered the idea that if a mad professor wanted to conduct a cruel experiment in the psychology of stress, he should replicate the corporate culture of Lloyds Banking Group.
In all likelihood, if the people at the top feel lousy it can only be worse at the middle and bottom. If you are on or near the board of a company like Lloyds, money has stopped being a necessity. You could quit and live well.
That's not an option for most of the bank's many thousands of staff, for whom crying stress looks like a seriously bad career move at a time when positions are being axed all around them.
Lots of people's jobs are miserable at the moment. Over the summer, drying-out clinics reported record numbers of inquiries from finance types coping, or not coping, with stress by resorting to drink or similar. There's a lot of it about.
Mr Horta-Osorio was well looked after. His board was sympathetic. Everyone wished and wishes him well. He now has a duty to behave this well to the rest of the staff. A few of them are feeling the strain too.
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- 5 Terror threat level raised to severe as PM warns Isis risk could last for decades
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
Terror threat level raised to severe as PM warns Isis risk could last for decades
Isis 'A Message in Blood' video shows beheading of Kurdish man in Iraq
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...
£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...
£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...
£200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...