Nationwide Building Society: "The Ways of Working Award Goes To..." (Europe 2021)

Please join us to learn about our journey at Nationwide Building Society to creating a learning organisation. How do we unlock discoverability of knowledge and learnings within the organisation and how we connect teams to share. Our talk will feature some of our winning teams from our first ever Ways of Working Awards and also a focus on sharing our experiences from running learning events.


(No slides available)


Sarah Sambidge

Senior Engagement Lead, Nationwide Building Society


Zsolt Berend

Business Agility Coach, Nationwide Building Society


Paul Blackler

Senior Ways of Working Enablement Specialist, Nationwide Building Society



Hello, everyone. And welcome to the, and the ways of working award goes to I'm Sarah, Sam bed, the ways of working enablement engagement lead at nationwide building society. And I'm joined today by jolt Berend and Paul blastula, two of Nationwide's enablement specialists. Hello, where the UK is largest building society with more than 16 million members. And we take neutrality very seriously. We hold our reputation very dare and are always looking for ways to make our mutual voice heard way beyond our day-to-day business. We aim to put members at the heart of every decision we make, and you can see that in our most recent interim results, last September, we were voted, which banking brand of the year for the fourth year running. And we were accountable for being the first choice for one in six new mortgages in the UK. But we know that member expectations are always increasing and in a year, like no other, we need to understand and be ready to meet the changing needs of our members.


More than ever. Last year, we set up a ways of working enablement center as part of our response, to helping to create a more agile environment and to help support our operating model of pivoting to long lift cross-functional teams. In fact, if you were at dos 2020, you may well have seen Patrick outfit, our chief operating officer talking about the opportunities facing us and the, and the chance to simplify not only our processes to help achieve our outcomes and strategic objectives, but also to focus more on the culture and the behaviors that we want to see more of at nationwide. Now, my role in all of this is to help share that stories to help colleagues hear from their peers and from each other, have a culture of experimentation and continuous learning can really make a difference to be inspired and to go out and have a go themselves.


At the start of this year, we created a week long learning virtual event, where we invited colleagues from across the society to find out more about new ways of working. And it's fair to say. We were amazed by the response more than 2000 colleagues joined us across the week to hear about a range of topics from DevOps to lean portfolio management, to collaboration tips, and even taking part in our very own nationwide book club. But without doubt, one of the highlights of the week was our first ever ways of working awards. Now, yes, we held awards to call out and celebrate all the great work that colleagues are making in new ways of working at nationwide and doing things differently, but it was genuinely about much more than that. So I'm going to hand over now to jolt. Who's going to tell you a lot more,


Thank you to set up, uh, before I go and talking about the votes, indeed there's as well. I would like to take one step back and focusing on the why, why in the first place did we think that establishing going to be good for the organization? The underlying reason, what we experienced and witnessed that, uh, information and knowledge is in isolated disconnected bumpers within the organization, that it's a siloed team, uh, with analysts working as one team, and then handing over to depths, handing over to testers, working as silos and isolated teams, or whether it's a small agile team, a small cross functional team or team of teams, or even value streams with all the positive behavior patterns. They all share some undesired effects which we call the bubble effect. The bubble effect is that, um, first of all, that members of these teams develop silo mentality, not having the desire, not wanting to share information outside that information, learning bubbles, outside that teams, this leads to limited discoverability of knowledge across the organization.


Also it leads to poor learning retention because when people are leaving, knowledge is lost forever. And what we see is because of that, there is lots of duplication of work and lots of inefficiencies. So what do we do about that? How did it, how do we turn this around? How do we create more deeper connectedness within the organization? How do we foster a culture of learning and sharing within the organization? So how to be part of these mothers army shared some of these patterns with SIM working. So one of the strong enabler is the creation of communicates communities of practices. This is having a common team. So colleagues are joining based on the invitation and they co-create knowledge, co-create learning together that are conferences. So Sarah mentioned the vehicle learning event, which is a confidence, but also that our unconference is a great collaboration platform, that our agenda is not set.


Colleagues are coming together based on invitation and they co-create knowledge together that could be adding coffee or an open space session in mobility. This is a creator enabler, which I've seen working with money organization, where the teams are team members, engineers can go join other teams, upscale themselves, and upscale the teams they're working with. So this leads to positive accelerated chain reaction of a cross-pollination of knowledge. You have colleague to colleague, uh, program experiment. We are running, which Paul gonna talk more about? And as Sarah mentioned, visa for working, uh, enablement team. So we have the central team, but also like a fractal we have per values, same permissions in our case. And the, one of the biggest enabler is actually establishing and running a visa for working abroad. So people think from collecting, um, success stories from the isolated disconnected teams and trying to pull it together.


And I shared it with the organization, which has proven to be hard. We created an environment where there is intrinsic motivations from team to actually apply to get an award. And this is what we did. So we opened, uh, for a nomination for two weeks and we had an amazing number, 42 nominations across their organization, really the age and diverse. So whether, uh, ideal or non it themes, or whether it's a small team or team of teams or large themes, we get nominations agnostic though, to the background. We had a diverse judging panel. Uh, and so we shortlisted 16 themes and we avoided sixteens. We had a vote winners, we had the runner ups and we had special category of flow culture and value. So what we asked from the teams to show that improvements, that improvements in terms of quality and through PromoMats in terms of, uh, flow and behavior patterns. So improvements on outcomes, better value, sooner staff happier. And then we had a great salad celebration event hosted by, uh, Patrick cartridge or the chief operating officer and Richard James, the head of a visa for working next Vivia show you some of the interviews we did with the teams, uh, with the host and with the judges, as well as a big into the celebration, uh, event itself,


The first winners for the ways of working flow award, uh, the technology management office. So congratulations


Can technology governance be effective in a DevOps environment or put another way, how can we get the right balance between safety and speed at nationwide? We decided the key to improving our technology governance was to give ownership of the process to the team who used to support the old dinosaur governance meetings and actually empower them to improve governance themselves rather than wait for the big bosses to tell us what to do. So the team looked at the old processes and decided that technology governance needed to change from being something that was an impediment to flow. And instead, actually helped remove impediments to flow by providing the right governance at the right time. So we threw away the big PowerPoint decks and the rigid agendas. And instead we use collaborative technologies such as JIRA confluence and teams to completely re-engineer our governance product. I decided to nominate the team for ways of working and ward, even though our work is not directly related to the delivery of working software.


And we were really excited and energized when we won the flow award, it really helped the team to see the value of their work in the wider organization and has given them an even greater drive to keep delivering value through governance, by embracing the servant governance pattern, which is now being adopted by other teams at nationwide. The people in the team now really feed as if they own the process. And they see the benefits of applying the right governance at the right time. Uh, and it's just changed the way they think about the work they do. Thank you.


The next up is the award for culture and the winner is operational resilience. Hopefully that'd be


I'm Jim Chapman, I'm in the delivery lead of operational tillage change within nationwide building society. And you're on this year, I was honored and privileged to receive on behalf of the whole of the value stream and award from our ways of working colleagues based on the culture and our approach to change over the last 18 months. So for some context, operational resilience is about 70 people and we provide thought leadership and integration across the society on anything to do with operational resilience. We're not what you'd think of as a traditional agile team, working in dev ops with tissue, engineers, and testers, et cetera. We are series of architects and engineers that are facing into complex problems that are quite often out of our control and have a lot of dependencies wider. However, we've been on a journey to go from a waterfall siloed projects approach to a more integrated scout edge, our framework, where we've tried to empower the teams and devolve as much of the leadership and decision making as possible.


We used scat agile framework as the methodology, and is that, is that network to provide us a series of ceremonies functions. However we use initiative basis and lots of feedback on how it made people feel, how the decisions were getting made and how effective we were on that process. What I can say is it was a wonderful journey. Everybody really took it in the right spirit. Teams really took the empowerment the right way. They make decisions with accountability. They shouldn't do due diligence in the work that they're doing. And they passionately communicates that across the society. When we won the award, it was a brilliant recognition for the team, but also it enabled us to start a new conversation with our colleagues across the wider society. We've been able to run learning sessions, either videos or getting people to come along. We've been able to use real world examples as to what failed, what worked, what documentation we've used, how that helped us or ceremonies and how we've adapted things we've already been to up on individual level conversations one-to-one, or we've had the large, multiple team conversations over how this can be brought about the awards service and the publicity.


It brought David's confidence, but also, as I say, it's enabling us to help everybody else step forward and understand really what does culture mean to us and how can we use processes to really evolve that culture and make it a brilliant and effective place to work


Next up. It's the value award. And this goes to the banking and savings operations team. Congratulations. All of you get ready to


And savings operations have been on an incredible journey. Over the past 18 months, we started with people working in a very fixed way. Hours were nine to five, Monday to Friday with bums on seats in four fixed sites. Each site running locally, not really feeding or acting as one operation fast forward today. We are now a fully flexible workforce with individuals working as part of one large team, regardless of location, working contracted hours, whenever they're best to meet the business need and deliver first-class member service. Typically we have 80% of the people working from home on any given day and 20% of people working from an office across one of those four sites. We started with the management team, developing their leadership skills, changing their behaviors and ensuring they were leading together as one team, one vision, and one consistent voice for our people, getting them to ask questions and focus on people rather than obsess about am I in numbers to really empower our teams to get it right?


First time, every time, if the process didn't allow it, we asked the teams with the help of the leaders to change it. We gave them the trust and the remit to challenge anything that did not benefit a member. A key point in our journey was busting those nets, unspoken rules and our people's perception of what would be rules, particularly those that had been around for far too long to bring the culture right up to date. We were making progress and COVID came along and accelerated it again for us. I'm not sure I would have convinced my senior leaders to give me laptops for the whole of the back office operations. They could work from home no matter how brilliant my business case was. Other priorities would have blocked it, but I truly believe we have jumped forward five years in five months with the ability to give our back office teams, their laptops.


Suddenly we have the tech to match the new found culture and our teams really could work with each other. Regardless of geography, we did side-by-side training across sites. We up-skilled more people on critical services than ever before. And so our engagement go up again. They got to know each other more, know the people behind the screens. They grew together learn together. And as a result, we saw service and quality rise, absence and sickness levels over at an all time low. I am so proud of the operation at times, we all felt uncomfortable, but we pushed through supported each other and embrace the change.


We announced when the number one first in no particular order, which is the everyday banking team very well done. Hopefully one of you will join me show


Hi, I'm Don king. I'm the chief product owner for the hustle free money digital hub in the hub. We've been asked to digitally re-engineer our opening journeys across our banking product range. Um, we've been asked to do a number of things as we did that. Um, firstly, we've been asked to look at, um, re-engineering those journeys. So changing the way that they work on operate for our members and release as much value as we can afford the business in the process. At the same time, we've been asked to move from legacy on premise infrastructure to the cloud. We've also been asked to set up a dev ops environment where our engineers are the ones that love the code on an ongoing basis, move from waterfall projects to an agile way of working and start to recreate internal capability that we previously outsourced, particularly in the engineering space, but also create new capabilities such as products, owners and business designers. And so the team have been asked to do a number of things and it's absolutely fantastic then that they've been recognized for the progress that we've made.


Hi, I'm Carlo I'm the delivery lead for the hassle-free money, digital hub. Um, it was really important for us to win this award. Um, uh, firstly, a number of us that have been working in the team for a number of years. Um, we had to adapt to new ways of working and in the early days we had to overcome quite a few challenges as the organization was set up to work, uh, in a different way and deal with projects. So for us, it's a great word and for the team, um, it's been fantastic because it's an acknowledgement by the judges of the achievements that we were proud of. Um, but more importantly, not just the deliveries that we've had is acknowledgement that the way we set the up and the culture is the way the nationwide wants to go. So it's been fantastic.


Uh, second winners of the ways of working 2020 awards is the AML regulatory screening team team arrest. Congratulations.


Well, we did to be the overall ways of working award winners was over the course of the last 18 months as the AML regulatory screening team, we evolved our ways of working to improve our anti money laundering performance to delivering change much more frequently and safely. We moved from releasing change once in every eight weeks to releasing fortnightly and used automation to increase quality and save time, reducing some of our key testing activities from 25 minutes to three and reduce the time for regular data load from four hours to 40 minutes. This enabled releasing smaller safety changes with more effective regular governance processes. We achieved all of this increased customer centricity, fostering a culture, built around flexibility to respond, to changing business priorities and curiosity about how to continuously improve working effectively with the business, our governance framework and application support colleagues on and off shore winning the award has been liberating.


It has helped us to demonstrate that we have clarity or why we are making the change on what we are doing. This has led to empowering the team, to use their skills and teamwork, to develop how we're going to make the change. The benefit of sharing our story with others has helped to raise the risk round across nationwide and just helped us prove the Addison area such as the risk, which can be perceived as having to do things in a certain way because of regulation. You can embrace new ways of working and we have shown we can change our mindset.


It was an absolute pleasure and delight to be asked to be one of the judges on our first ways of working awards. Um, it was a great opportunity for the teams to really showcase their work and demonstrate the innovation that they'd taken on board. I couldn't believe the amount of passion and energy that some of the teams came through with, but what was even better with some of the lessons that they've learned through failing fast and embedded those through iterative learning into the way that they wanted to take the solutions forward. It was a real again to share some great successes and congratulate each other across a range of different areas. So I think that we've set a market down now seen some really great work. I think that the momentum is building and I expect lots more to come.


Hello everyone I'd like to share with you. My perspectives as a judge here are the ways of working towards the nationwide. Firstly, grassroots adoption is very important setting the vision and the context is a good first step, but seeing it in action is what's going to motivate everybody to have a go. Secondly, looking at a diverse set of problems, basis services, architectures, team compositions, and it is very important for people to relate to the problem and understand that improvement is possible in many different situations. And finally having a data-driven approach to continuous improvement is really important. Having that discipline of knowing where and how the team is progressing is, um, very motivating, not just for the team, but for, for, for the Thai society. So thank you very much for inviting me to be a charger in the competition.


So I'd say it was a, it was a genuine pleasure to copresent the inaugural ways of working in wards. Um, I was in, or, um, as a judge of the breadth of nominations and, uh, the excitement, the enthusiasm, and you really felt it actually in the awards ceremony itself. Um, I think over the last 12 months, it's definitely been sort of high point for me in terms of energy and, um, kind of appreciation, respect in the room and that sort of genuine love of learning and, um, enjoyment of others progress is sort of idea generating for colleagues of, of, of all areas of the society. Um, what I think I've appreciated them beyond the awards itself is that emergence of sort of colleague to colleague learning the opportunity to take those patterns, to take those things that have been seen to have had such a positive impact on some teams and to reflect, um, those across the society. Definitely starting to see that, that sort of learning network and ecosystem of, of, of colleagues supporting colleagues, both with content as well as then the adoption of these patterns. Um, what I would say ongoing is, um, what's the space for the colleague to colleague and, um, please do, if you have the opportunity to celebrate, uh, ways of working progress, it is absolutely of critical importance to helping explore and progress learning,


Watch that back. So following the ways of working event and the ways of working awards really wanted to bottle the energy, uh, we look for ways to capture and scale the positivity, connectivity, and social proof that people in their teams telling their stories. We didn't want to leave this as just an annual event, but to build on the ethos of sharing and learning from colleagues to colleagues. So drawing on the diffusion of innovation theory as popularized by Everett marches, which seeks to, um, explain how the spread of an adoption of a new idea or technology takes place. Our principle was to focus on the innovators and the early adopters to share social proof towards getting to that magic point of critical mass, which is proposes that there are four main elements that influence the spread of a new idea or practice innovation itself, communication channels, time and social systems.


So once various efforts in the enablement team was focusing on coaching, new ways of working. This was all about building on the communication channels and the society, the social system itself. So to follow up, we started from understanding our own problem and opportunity statements against our own context. This summary here points to moving from increased ad hoc ways of working team demand and then increasing use of push material towards empowering internal colleagues, voice voices based on demand and helping to draw out systemic themes. So reducing duplication whilst breaking down those learning bubbles, it helped just to get to a position of principles and outcomes focused on organizational inclusivity, pull driven content based on demand and finding practical case studies against our own organizational context. So he, we really wanted to give early adopters a greater voice and foster a collaborative learning culture. This requires some structure.


So we followed up and we launched our ways of working colleagues to colleague learning series, essentially ran by colleagues and for colleagues, anyone can create a session on a subject matter that they're interested in experienced or passionate about is promoted for a simple Microsoft teams invite and shared on our central internet. We launched colleague to colleague by following up and sharing the ways of working award stories. You coached to recorded 10 minutes summary case study videos, which segwayed into an open invitation for the organization to join 45 minute deep dives and live Q and A's each of our award winning teams. So from this, the energy continued to flow themes were opening up, bravely sharing their stories, their successes, their failures, their learnings, and importantly, the cultural shift that's happening. If the journey and how this felt for the people on that journey. We further launched with a PIF and coding dojo with two sessions being fully in the first day. So it's a there's organizational wide interest and we're excited. See, as we continue to pop these learning bubbles, how this energy continues to grow.


Thanks, Paul. Um, so that's about all from us. Uh, today we hope you found the session interesting, um, for us to see engagement levels and interest in new ways of working rising across nationwide during a very challenging year has been absolutely fantastic giving colleagues the social proof. They need to encourage them to go and have a go is something we definitely intend to build on as Paul and jolts have explained. So we thought we'd leave you with some closing words from our chief operating officer Patrick Eldridge, and to get his thoughts on the way forward. Thank you for watching.


Thank you.


Since I spoke at last year's DevOps enterprise summit, we've seen more and more colleagues across nationwide embracing business agility and really leaning in to finding out more about new ways of working. We've deliberately built our outcomes on how we improve flow culture and value, but we've also underpinned this with a move to creating a learning organization with continuous improvement, right at the very heart of it, the events and the awards that you've heard about today were of course, a fantastic way to celebrate our teams, various achievements, but even more than this, they were about inspiring others through social proof. We know here at nationwide, like many other organizations, people only truly believe when they can see a colleague or a peer doing something differently and seeing it working. And that's what we're really trying to encourage now whether through more learning events, more awards, or simply by encouraging colleagues to share their stories with others, whether in formal or informal showcases or other sorts of gatherings, we want this to be a revolution from the ground up rather than something forced down on people. And it's, it's about creating a pull towards new ways of working and being curious about what they can do for you. So I sincerely believe that motivated, happy colleagues can be the best ambassadors that there are for embracing new ways of working. And it's, it's been fantastic to see the response and the reaction to our first awards. I'm certainly looking forward to what we see in 2021.