Tomorrow's Company i is a business led think tank and catalyst organisation. Through its research and agenda setting it is an organisation committed to creating a future for business which makes equal sense to staff, shareholders and society.
This must have been a difficult Sustainability Report to prepare. Integrating two different businesses is tough enough. Doing so transparently, while enabling stakeholders and Partners to offer continuous feedback on their concerns, is doubly demanding. To CFS' credit, this report does reflect Chief Executive, Mervyn Pedelty's, commitment to a 'highest common denominator', and adds more industry benchmark information throughout.
I welcome the introduction of a new 'wealth creation' indicator. Once there are some year-on-year and benchmark comparisons available, this should become a crucial overall indicator.
Customers CIS is showing above average customer satisfaction for the industry. 87% of customers say that they would be likely to recommend CIS to a friend. In some sectors - motor insurance, home insurance and life assurance - its lead over competitors appears to have narrowed since 2000. In savings and pensions, it retains a huge lead over its competitors, and CIS Financial Advisers continue to enjoy very high levels of trust. I have discussed with CFS the difficulty of interpreting the figure of 48,000 complaints from CIS customers. Given that the industry as a whole does not publish similar data, it is hard to interpret relative performance.
The bank's personal customers are clearly impressed. There is an improvement in the percentage saying their relationship is 'excellent' or 'good'. smile has also won an impressive array of awards; 54% of its customers agree that service is 'good - well above what I expected' and 36% go further and say it is 'excellent - I can't praise it enough'. With the bank's corporate and business customers, there has been a decline in satisfaction with relationship. A year ago, 80% of business customers were satisfied with their relationship. The figure now is 61%, as explained here. The bank can show that it performs much better than the rest of the industry in terms of small business support in deprived areas.
Suppliers From high levels of supplier satisfaction in 2000, the bank has seen overall improvement. Separate measures of CIS' suppliers' satisfaction are equally impressive. The only cloud - duly acknowledged - is the slight reduction in bank suppliers strongly agreeing with performance statements.
Staff Last year I was assured that CFS would continue to undertake and publish the results of consultations with staff. CFS also agreed with the suggestion of a target for the percentage of bank staff saying managers had good people skills. CFS has conducted a survey of all staff, and this has made some comparison possible with the previous, separate, surveys of CIS and bank staff. Satisfaction with pay, personal development and career opportunities are up. Everything else is down. In a period of change it is not surprising to see declines for satisfaction with benefits and job security, but the major declines in the scores for work/life balance, co-operative culture and fair treatment do need attention.
On the issue of people skills, the target was not achieved. This year's report tells us the process by which the difficult issues are being addressed, and begins to suggest the action being taken to respond to staff feedback. I will be very interested to see what progress has been made in twelve months time.
Few organisations would be open enough to share this information at all, let alone in the midst of delicate negotiations, but, ultimately, this is the kind of transparency we should expect of a world-class sustainability report.
Director, Tomorrow's Company
18th May 2004
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