Culture change post IPO to support significant growth


the client 


A challenger bank with a 150-year heritage may sound incongruous, but it is that heritage of customer service aligned with clear targeted niche propositions and an efficient operating model which helped OneSavings Bank to move from opening its doors as a bank in 2011 to joining the FTSE 250 index in 2015.  

Originally a building society that can trace its roots back through mergers and acquisitions to the Kent and Canterbury Building Society which was established in 1847, in more recent years OneSavings Bank had been through exponential growth and the executive team recognised they wanted to further strengthen the OneSavings Bank proposition; unifying and developing a customer-focused culture across the UK and Indian divisions. This whilst ensuring that the bank remains true to the principles of good banking as set out by the Banking Standards Board and regulatory bodies.


the desired outcome 


The existing culture had evolved as the organisation had grown but that growth had started to create some misalignment, so the executive team wanted to capture the cultural essence and give everyone something that was both believable and aspirational to align to for the future – the aim being to embed a culture which would fuel their future growth aspirations. 

A supporting aim was to further improve employee engagement and ultimately become accredited as a  Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to work for.


the objective  


We were asked to lead an end to end cultural insight, design and implementation programme, which included: 

  • Assessing the current culture, including identifying any blockers and enablers to future performance
  • Design the future culture in the form of a new Mission, Vision and Values, with associated visual imagery in support
  • Development of new values-driven behaviours framework which also embedded regulatory responsibilities
  • Development of a new Employee Value Proposition for both existing and future colleagues
  • Create and implement a communications and engagement plan to support embedding the new culture
  • Deliver a culture immersion event for all employees to launch and experience the new culture 
  • Assess leadership capability to lead the new culture
  • Develop and implement the roadmap for embedding the new culture throughout the organisation



the approach 


Work had previously been started internally on trying to define a future culture and it was vital that staff were engaged and appropriately involved in shaping the future culture.  We, therefore, deployed our core methodology but throughout ensured that we utilised OneSavings Bank resources and capability wherever possible, whilst also upskilling people in culture change capabilities.   


Using research and employee feedback which had already been collated by OneSavings Bank as a baseline, we were then  able to strengthen the picture using our CC culture assessment through: 

  • Assessing and performing a gap analysis of the existing data  
  • Employee focus groups 
  • Senior stakeholder interviews 

 This gave us clear insight into the cultural enablers and blockers of performance. 

design & engage  

Working with the Executive Team, we designed a robust and future-fit culture, starting with a  Mission, a Vision, a set of Values and an underpinning OneTeam ethos 

A new values-driven behavioural competency framework was then developed, simplifying the existing approach and also embedding Senior Management Regulatory Regime requirements.  This new framework created a direct alignment between the values and expected behaviours, providing clarity to everyone.

We also created visual designs to support the new values so that colleagues had a symbolic/graphical reminder  – these were subsequently displayed around the buildings, used on communications, and embedded into the technology e.g. intranet. 

A new Employee Value Proposition was then created as a commitment to both existing and future colleagues. 

No matter how well-designed, culture change will only become embedded across the organisation once every individual has engaged with the change journey. Engaging in an organisation-wide conversation is therefore pivotal to success. By deploying our 4Es Human Change Principles we helped the executive team to disseminate the new culture, mission, vision and values across the organisation in a way that would build people engagement.  This included:

  • Developing a twelve-month engaging communication plan 
  • launch teaser campaign to stimulate intrigue and discussion around the culture change and subliminal messaging of what the new Values would be 
  • Designing and delivering three days of cultural immersion events for all staff in the UK to launch the new Mission, Vision and Values, with parallel events in India.  For more information on these immersion events, please refer to the separate case study 



A communications plan and immersion events alone will not embed the desired culture. We developed an implementation roadmap to enable individuals and teams to be empowered and take ownership of embedding the new culture into work practices and for their future success. This included identifying influences within the business and activating managers and key people as culture champions. 

A review was then instigated across the organisation to ensure the embedding of the new culture covered all facets of the OneSavings Bank business. This included all HR associated practices such as Job descriptions/role profilesstaff attraction and recruitment; induction and onboarding; performance management processes; talent development solutions and employee recognition schemes.  It also looked at procurement and supplier managementGovernance (including Management committees and culture/people reporting); risk, compliance and audit approach; IT enhancements, as well as all the internal communication and engagement practices.  

This gap analysis then enabled a comprehensive and coordinated approach to embedding the new Mission, Vision and Values into work practices.

Regular Pulse surveys have been implemented to monitor progress and provide staff opportunity to detail what else needs to be done to fully embed the designed culture, as well as continue to progress towards fulfilling their new vision.   



results and the future 


Whilst it’s still early days in the embedding journey, in the first 6 months the following results have been achieved: 

  • based on pulse survey results, over 93% of staff felt the organisation had made good progress with embedding the new culture and taking steps towards the new vision. 
  • OneSavings Bank has now been recognised in the Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to work for. 





“Our culture at OneSavings Bank had evolved as we’d grown but we needed to capture its essence and give everyone something that was both believable and aspirational to align to for the future. The key to unlocking that was gathering insight from a wide range of stakeholders and colleagues, forming a view of the cultural strengths and weaknesses that existed across the business – a challenging task for anyone.  Culture Consultancy invested a significant amount of time in gathering this insight from across the business and it subsequently formed the highly compelling backbone to everything that came thereafter, in defining our Mission, Vision and Values. 

Culture Consultancy supported our internal teams every step of the way in delivering this project, ramping up support when the project needed a specific skillset and pulling back when internal resource was able to lead. They provided real energy to the project and delivered a full end-to-end service, including facilitating the delivery of 3 full-day events to colleagues to launch the Mission, Vision and Values. Feedback to our launch events was incredible and that positive energy continues as we embed the new culture and monitor progress through pulse surveys. We are still near the beginning of our cultural journey but the start couldn’t have been better thanks to Culture Consultancy”. 

Jim Brown Group Head of Marketing 


We’ve got decades of experience when it comes to complex cultures. Find out how we can create simplicity from complexity for your business.